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Identifying the Signer


  • What forms of identification can I use to verify the identity of a document signer?

    If the signer is not personally known by the Texas notary or identified by a credible witness, the best form of identification is an unexpired form of identification issued by a state or federal government agency that includes a physical description, photograph, and signature. The ID card should typically detail eye and hair color, height, weight, and date of birth.
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  • What other forms of identification can I use?

    The notary may use either a credible witness or personal knowledge to identify a signer.

    Credible Witness

    If you don't know the signer personally, you may take the oath of a "credible witness" who is personally known to you. You must place the credible witness under oath; simply asking them to identify the signer is not sufficient. Have the credible witness sign an entry in your record book for that transaction detailing the oath of credible witness and, of course, have the signer of the document being executed sign in the next entry for that notarial act.

    Personal Knowledge

    Personal knowledge is always the best form of identification, but it must only be used if the notary knows the signer personally. The notary may not take the word of a friend, family member, or co-worker as to the identity of a signer unless that person stands as a credible witness and swears an oath regarding the identity of the signer. DO NOT mark a certificate "personally known" unless you know with a strong certainty that the signer is actually who he or she says he is.

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  • May I require the fingerprints of a person for whom I notarize?

    No. Texas law DOES NOT allow notaries to take fingerprints from persons whose signatures they notarize.
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Texas notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). American Association of Notaries is owned by Kal Tabbara, a licensed insurance agent in Texas.