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Can I notarize a proof of life certificate from another country?

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Can I notarize proof of life certificates from foreign countries? — T.L., New York

It depends. Typically, proof of life certificates request that a Notary Public to verify that person is still alive.  Verifying if someone is alive is not an authorized notarial act in New York state, but whether you can perform a notarial act on one depends on the form used. If you are only being asked to take the acknowledgment of someone’s signature or perform a jurat on a proof of life document, then you may follow your regular notarial steps to notarize the signature.

Our notarizing proof of life documents FAQ has more information about these documents and how to handle them in different states.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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23 Jan 2023

It is very important that if a client is asking for your notarial stamp that he or she is awake and can answer the basic questions that you as a professional would ask. My premature response is to ask the basic questions that your handbook advises for non U.S. citizens. Stick to the script.

28 Jan 2023

Not always. It depends on what it’s asking you to do and the state you are commissioned in. However, if the document asks you to certify that the signer is currently alive, chances are your state law doesn't permit Notaries to do that. Except in the state of Michigan, Notaries should not accept these requests. "If you are unable to perform a notarization for a proof of life document, the signer may be able to have the document notarized at an embassy or consulate of the issuing nation instead. Consular officers are normally authorized to notarize documents related to their home nation." says David Thun, an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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