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Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: How Do I Notarize For A Prison Inmate?

NNA Hotline Tips For NotariesI have been asked to notarize a marriage license, but the groom is currently incarcerated and can not appear before me. The clerk will not issue the license unless the bride is able to produce proper government identification with the groom’s picture, date of birth, and proper ID number. However, the groom has no driver’s license or passport. What can I do in this situation? – J.M . Lake Elsinore, CA

Notarizing a document for a prisoner can be a challenge. Typically, the prisoner’s ID is confiscated at the time of arrest. Therefore, it can be very difficult to identify the inmate. The only inmate ID card that is acceptable is the one that is issued by the Department of Corrections, but only for people who are in custody.

If your state allows it, the only option may be to use two credible identifying witnesses, or two people who personally know the inmate and who could vouch for his identity. However, some prison facilities will not allow credible witnesses to enter certain premises, including the same section the prisoner is. It may be a wise idea to contact the prison facility to see if there are any restrictions before you travel to the area.

To find out more about using credible witnesses, you can check out this Bulletin archive, or access the NNA’s recent webinar, “How to Use Credible Witnesses.”

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


Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

View All: Hotline Tips


Add your comment


20 Jun 2016

Hi, my husband is in prison and I am currently trying to cash our tax refund check that was sent to me but his name is on it. I need power of attorney to cash the check. Are there regular notaries that go to the prison?

National Notary Association

21 Jun 2016

Hello. Yes, some Notaries provide services to prisoners in correctional facilities. You may need to search for Notaries in your area or in the vicinity of the correctional facility in order to find one that provides these services.

Deanna Santistevan

16 Oct 2016

My boyfriend is in Buena Vista prison with trying to get our marriage papers notarized or figure out how we do this to get married they said just because we live together two years common law is not legal

National Notary Association

17 Oct 2016

Hello. We're sorry but questions regarding how to file documents to marry a prison inmate would be legal questions that we are not authorized to answer, not notarization questions. You would need to speak to an attorney or other qualified legal adviser for assistance on how you can apply for a marriage license.


21 Feb 2017

I'm trying to marry an inmate in buena vista colorado how do I go about that?

National Notary Association

28 Feb 2017

Hello Kiki. We're sorry, but that's not a question related to notarization and we don't have that information. You would need to contact officials at the prison or an attorney for assistance.

Andrea Ybarra

02 May 2017

I have to get a notaries letter from my Husband that is in a CA. prison to get my sons passport, my son plan ticket is for May 30. that is less the 30days I been trying to get a hold of someone that notaries in that facility for the past months. and they said they don't have one at this time. what can I do?

National Notary Association

03 May 2017

Hello. You may wish to use Google or Notary service directories such as to look up if there are any mobile Notaries in the area who are available to travel to the prison to notarize for inmates.


11 Jul 2018

If I find a local notery near my moms prison to help me sign a POA are they allowed in if not on her visitors list?

National Notary Association

11 Jul 2018

Hello. You would need to contact the prison facility to ask them if the Notary would be permitted access.


12 Jul 2018

Hi, I need to send a notarized copy of my husband's citizenship certificate to his counselor. How could I go about this?

National Notary Association

16 Jul 2018

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.


09 Feb 2019

How can I have the Power of Attorney notarized while my husband is currently incarcerated in a CT correctional facility?

National Notary Association

11 Feb 2019

Hello. You may wish to contact the correctional facility to find out what their rules are regarding a Notary visiting an inmate to notarize the inmate's signature. This article also has additional information you may find helpful:

Sheila Byers

08 Jul 2019

As a notary who goes to prisons to have the prisoner(s) Sign Inability to Appear forms, I am now going to update my profile to say I ‘go to prison(s).


26 Jul 2019

I need to get a handwritten letter notarized in CA but the person who needs it notorized is in county jail. It's in regards to getting his car released by the police department which is at tow yard they towed it to. He needs to give someone else permission to pick it up because hes incarcerated.

Ivana D Rinehart

14 Nov 2019

My son is currently incarcerated in utah. I need a notarized letter from him so I can take care of his daughter while he is there.


20 May 2021

How can I get a notary stating inmate wants me to pick up their property from a jail ? They tell me a sign they have to fill out , no one is really helping me .

National Notary Association

24 May 2021

Hello. You may wish to contact the correctional facility to request instructions for completing the form you mentioned.

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