How do I get a document “notarized”?

WHAT IS NOTARIZATION?

Notarization is when a government-approved person (called a “notary public” or just a “notary”) validates an important document. The notary must witness signatures to that document.

WHAT DO I BRING?

1) Photo ID issued within the last 5 years. This can be: a state ID or a driver license from any U.S. state, a passport from any country, a U.S. Military ID, a Canadian or Mexican driver license, or a California government employee ID card. IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY INCARCERATED: You can use your prison ID card while you are still incarcerated, but not after you get out. This is why it is so important to get your birth certificate before you are released, if possible.2) One witness whom the notary knows and who knows you. This witness will need to show one of the forms of acceptable ID listed above, and verify under oath who you are. —OR—3) Two witnesses who know you (but the notary does not need to know them). Both witnesses will also be required to show one of the forms of acceptable ID listed above, and verify who you are under oath.

WHERE DO I FIND A NOTARY?

Try your local bank, credit union, public library, City Hall, courthouse, Post Office, FedEx or UPS store, senior center, or public school. Always call the location and check its website to make sure a notary exists, what times it is available, and the cost. IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY INCARCERATED: State prisons must provide notary services.[16] Contact your corrections counselor to make an appointment, as the services may only be available on certain days and times.

HOW MUCH WILL A NOTARY COST?

In California, the most a notary can charge is $10.00 per signature. However, mobile notary services that come to you are allowed to charge more.[17]IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY INCARCERATED: There is an administrative fee, which varies by facility, and is taken out of your inmate trust account. If you would rather use a mobile notary, you’ll need to find one in your area that does jail/prison visits. You may need to ask a family member or friend to help arrange the visit.

  1. 16

    See CDCR DOM § 14010.22

  2. 17

    Cal. Gov’t Code § 8211.