Back to FAQs

Identifying the Signer

  • What forms of identification can I use to verify signer's the identity?

    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.
    Back to top
  • 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 who the signer is.

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

    No. Texas law DOES NOT allow notaries to take fingerprints when performing a notarization.
    Back to top

Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information on this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from various sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their states if they have legal questions about how to perform notarial acts.

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.

Your choice regarding cookies on this site.

Our web site uses essential cookies to function and to optimize your site experience.
  • Click on the “Accept Optional Cookies” to agree that we may also use cookies to help us enhance site navigation and analyze performance and traffic on our website.
  • Click on the “Reject Optional Cookies” to disable all but essential cookies.
By visiting our website, you agree to our website Terms of Use and Cookie and Privacy Policy.