Notary Bulletin

National Debate Over IDs For Immigrants Continues

Properly identifying a signer lies at the heart of every notarization, but with approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., elected officials, community activists and others are debating just how foreign-born residents obtain acceptable ID.

Colorado has become the latest battleground as immigrant rights advocates are gathering signatures in a petition drive to get a measure on the November ballot that would permit illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. It would overturn a 1999 law that requires proof of legal residency to get a driver’s license.

Currently, only New Mexico and Washington state issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Utah issues driver’s permits, which cannot be used as official identification.

Driver’s licenses are among the most common forms of ID used during notarizations. Passports and other government-issued identity documents also may be acceptable, depending on state law. Most states do not allow Notaries to accept Matricula Consular cards, which are issued by Mexican consulates to its citizens outside Mexico. The FBI considers the cards highly susceptible to tampering and faking.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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