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Hotline Tip: Is A Social Security Card Considered A Valid ID For Notarization?

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A signer asked me to notarize a document upon which his name is displayed slightly differently than the name on his driver’s license. I understand from my Notary training that in the case of a name discrepancy I should ask for another form of ID, but what — besides a valid driver’s license — is considered an acceptable form of ID? Would a Social Security card work? - S.S., San Luis Obispo, CA

First off, a Social Security card is never considered an acceptable form of ID, since it doesn’t contain a photo or physical description, and is not listed among the forms of ID California law says Notaries can accept.There are, however, several forms of ID that are considered acceptable for a notarization in California (and most states; but Notaries should consult their own state laws to confirm). California Notaries may only accept the following types of identification documents (Civil Code Section 1185):

1. California driver’s license or nondriver’s ID issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles

2. U.S. passport book or card. (A physical description is not required, and the passport card is acceptable even though it does not contain the bearer’s signature.)

3. The following IDs, provided they are current or issued in the past five years and contain a signature, photograph and physical description:

  • Foreign passport stamped by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Driver’s license or nondriver’s ID issued by another U.S. state
  • Driver’s license issued by Mexico or Canada
  • Employee ID card issued by an agency or office of the State of California or any city, county or city and county within the state
  • U.S. military ID that contains all required elements. (The Common Access Card [CAC] — a replacement ID for certain military personnel — does not contain the signature of the bearer on either the front or back of the card. Therefore, under current law, California Notaries may not accept the CAC as identification for notarizations.)
  • Inmate ID issued by the California Department of Corrections. (Inmate ID cards may only be used to identify prisoners who are in custody.)
  • ID cards issued by the USCIS. (USCIS IDs may only be used to identify signers for notarizations on USCIS forms.) (Government Code, Section 8230)

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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Add your comment

Marion Sylvester

30 Apr 2015

I am in Indiana. I know we are not the smartest state in the union; however, cen we please hear about some states other than California, Washington and Virgina?

National Notary Association

30 Apr 2015

Hello Marion. We recently published an article about Indiana's proposed 'religious freedom' law and how it may affect Notaries in the state. You can read the article here: You can also find the latest updates to new Notary laws and proposed bills in Indiana through our searchable online Notary database at We always welcome suggestions for articles from our readers. If you encounter a situation in Indiana you'd be interested in us covering, please email us details at and we'll be happy to take a look. Thanks again for your comment and have a great day.


30 Jul 2016

Help if signing in a Sunday, how to date the RTC. Help

theta smith

16 May 2017

can my SS card be used in New Mexico for notorization?

National Notary Association

16 May 2017

Hello. No, a Social Security card may not be used as proof of a signer's identity in New Mexico.

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