Updated on May 18th, 2023
A notary acknowledgment is a sworn statement made by a notary public that acknowledges an individual’s signature is valid and was inscribed without coercion. These forms are used to prove the notary positively identified the signing party, making the document legitimate and legally binding. A notary acknowledgment includes the name of the signatory, the date, the notary’s signature, and their seal.
Is Online Notarization Legal?
Yes, it is legal to notarize a document in 45 States.
It is not legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon, or Massachusetts (in addition to Washington D.C.).
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Purpose of a Notary Public
A notary public is an officer appointed by a government body, typically the secretary of state, to act as an impartial witness to the signing of legal documents. Their purpose is to confirm the identities of the signing parties and ensure they all signed of their own free will.
Notaries are tasked with other duties, depending on the state where they are commissioned. They may be called upon to administer oaths and affirmations, authenticate copies of documents, witness the opening of safety deposit boxes, and perform other legal and business assignments that necessitate a ministerial official.
How to Notarize a Document
Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument
Step 1 – Appointment
An appointment can be made with a notary public through banks, law firms, post offices and courier services, libraries, government offices, and other locations. Alternatively, a notary can be located by providing a zip code on the American Society of Notaries website.
Step 2 – Identification
Whether the appointment is online or in person, the signatory must present the document to be notarized and valid forms of identification (e.g., driver’s license, passport, etc.) for the notary to review. Unless the notary knows the signatory personally, they will verify the provided pieces of identification.
Step 3 – Signatures
The notary will look over the document briefly to ascertain what type of notarization is required and check for blank spaces (to prevent fraudulent future alterations). Once they are satisfied, they will witness the individual sign the document.
Step 4 – Acknowledgment
After witnessing the signature, the notary will complete the acknowledgment form, which will contain the date, their signature, and their official seal. They will record the entry in their journal, as most states either require or recommend maintaining records of all notarizations.
Online Notarization Laws: By State
|Florida||Yes||Chapter 117, Part II|
|Mississippi||Yes||Executive Order 1467,|
|Missouri||Yes||§§ 486.1100 – 486.1250|
|Nevada||Yes||NRS 240.181 – 240.206|
|New Hampshire||Yes||§ 456-B:6-a|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||§ 306.1 and § 320|
|Rhode Island||Yes||§ 42-30.1-12.1 and § 42-30.1-12.2|
|South Carolina||Yes||§ 26-2-5|
|South Dakota||Yes||§ 18-1-11.1|
|West Virginia||Yes||§ 39-4-37|
|Wyoming||Yes||§ 32-3-114(c), (d)|