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Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Can I Notarize For Non-U.S. Citizens?

NNA Hotline Tips For NotariesAre Notaries required to only serve signers who are U.S. citizens, or are we allowed to notarize for foreign signers?

As a Notary, your role is to serve the public, including any member of the general public or foreign-born individual who requests a lawful notarization be performed. In other words, you mustn’t turn away a client based upon his or her nationality.

Notaries exist in every country, and are, in fact, trusted by foreign visitors to help process paperwork that is often critically important in their lives. Only when an illegal or unauthorized notarial act is requested – as when a signer is unable to produce identification that satisfies the Notary laws – is a Notary justified in refusing to serve a non-native.

 

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) 876-0827Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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27 Comments

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Jessica Barrett

09 Sep 2014

Don't you have to have a valid drivers license from the country they are from?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2014

Hello Jessica, thanks for your question. Any signer-regardless of nationality-would need to provide satisfactory proof of identity that meets the statutory requirements of the state or territory you're commissioned in.

Wayne Brunelle

09 Sep 2014

what if the document is in a foreign language that the notary cannot read?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2014

Hello Wayne, thanks for your question. We will be posting an article addressing the topic of documents in a language the Notary cannot read very soon; please keep watching the Bulletin for updates.

Florenta Caprer

09 Sep 2014

This question should be clarified. When you say non-US citizens do you mean immigrants not US citizens yet, tourists, illegal immigrants, etc that are in US at the time of notarization? Is the document in English? can anyone clarify the questions above?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2014

Hello Florenta, thank you for your question. As stated in the answer above, the signer's status as citizen or non-citizen doesn't matter, provided the signer's request is lawful in your state or territory and all other requirements for notarization-such as proof of identity-are met. Regarding your question about foreign language documents, we will be posting an article addressing this topic very soon; please keep watching the Bulletin for updates.

Irma

09 Sep 2014

My state requires a USA ID. How can I satisfy the ID REQUIREMENT for a foreign signor

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2014

Hello Irma. Regardless of the signer's country of origin, the signer would need to provide you with proof of identity that satisfies the requirements in your state. Since every state's rules are different, if you'd like, please contact our Hotline team at hotline@nationalnotary.org or our Communications team at social@nationalnotary.org and let us know what state you're commissioned in, and we'll be happy to answer your question in more detail. Have a great day.

Deborah Bethley

09 Sep 2014

I do enjoy the question and answer email. Just wondering how to get started in being a notary in the state of Florida

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2014

Hello Deborah, we're glad you find our Hotline Tips helpful. Here's a link from the Florida governor's website with information on becoming a Florida Notary Public: http://www.flgov.com/notary_how_to. If you'd like additional assistance with becoming a Florida Notary, you can also purchase your Notary tools and apply for your commission through an NNA package. If you'd like more information, please contact our Customer service department at 1-800-876-6827 or CustomerService@NationalNotary.org, or visit us online at http://www.nationalnotary.org/florida/become-a-notary.

Betty Swammy

10 Sep 2014

I am a notary in the Nation's Capital and there are many foreigners or non US citizens that reside here in Washington DC. As long as that person before me provides me with the proper identification that satisfies the DC Laws I will perform the notarial act for them.

Nora

10 Sep 2014

I'm Los Angeles, California notary and i have a lot a client from mexico, latin america can I accept like identification Mexican Consular card or mexican passport?

National Notary Association

18 Sep 2014

Hello Nora, Thank you for your question. Matricula Consular or Mexican consular ID cards are not acceptable forms of signer identification for notarizations in California. A foreign passport may be accepted as signer ID provided that the passport has been stamped by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Civil Code, Section 1185)

Alicia Khoo

11 Sep 2014

What do you do when the parents of a child ask you to notarize signatures for documents for travel stating they are the parents of a 3 year old, but they do not have a birth certificate?

National Notary Association

24 Sep 2014

Hello Alicia, thanks for contacting us. We forwarded your question to our Hotline Team and here's their response: "Yes, the parents can have their signatures notarized for documents for travel. A Notary Public has the duty to screen signers for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress and act as an impartial witness. It is not the Notary's duty to verify that they are the parents."

Allison

04 Jan 2017

Can you use a Canadian passport to notarize real estate documents in Arizona

National Notary Association

04 Jan 2017

Hello. For a notarization for a real estate conveyance or financing, a signer in Arizona may use a valid unexpired passport that is issued by a national government other than the United States government that is accompanied by a valid unexpired visa or other documentation that is issued by the United States government and that is necessary to establish an individual’s legal presence in the United States. (ARS 41-311[11][b])

Lucy Blanco

05 Jul 2019

I'm in CA and have been asked if I could notarize a temporary guardianship of minors who are citizens of the US in case parents face deportation. If parents don't have valid I.D.'s would i be able to notarize using two credible witnesses?

National Notary Association

23 Jul 2019

Hello. For more information on CA identification requirements, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/04/3-facts-california-notaries-identifying-signers

Johnny

01 Jul 2020

How does someone in Thailand get probate documents notarized for use in California? The signer is not a US citizen and is physically in Thailand.

National Notary Association

02 Jul 2020

Hello. The signer would need to contact a qualified attorney to request instructions.

Alexandra

22 Jul 2020

Can one notarize paperwork for Mexican nationals holding a Mexican passport?

National Notary Association

22 Jul 2020

Hello. The answer depends on a number of factors: 1) Does your state authorize you to perform the type of notarization being requested? 2) The notarization must take place in the jurisdiction you are commissioned in and 3) The signer's form of identification is acceptable under your state's Notary laws.

Sally

24 Nov 2020

HI I am confused. the question is Are Notaries required to only serve signers who are U.S. citizens, or are we allowed to notarize for foreign signer, but in 2 separate places it seem contradictory or is it one way for real estate and different for other documents. Here is you answer for real estate For a notarization for a real estate conveyance or financing, a signer in Arizona may use a valid unexpired passport that is issued by a national government other than the United States government that is accompanied by a valid unexpired visa or other documentation that is issued by the United States government and that is necessary to establish an individual’s legal presence in the United States. (so if we find out they do not have legal presence in the US are we not to notarize) even if they have credible witnesses? Because if they are illegally here are they not breaking the law? and we are party to that once we know? and then in another statement you answer: As stated in the answer above, the signer's status as citizen or non-citizen doesn't matter, provided the signer's request is lawful in your state or territory and all other requirements for notarization-such as proof of identity-are met. Which is it?

National Notary Association

04 Dec 2020

Hello. No state prohibits Notaries from performing notarization services for signers who are not U.S. citizens. For notarizations related to real estate transactions, Arizona permits Notaries to accept a valid unexpired passport that is issued by a national government other than the United States government accompanied by a valid unexpired visa or other documentation of legal U.S. presence as proof of a signer's identity (ARS 41-311.11.b). However, this is not the only form of acceptable identification allowed in Arizona. There is nothing prohibiting the signer from providing a different identification document or proof of identity that meets the requirements of AZ Notary law.

Joseph Shrager

08 Jun 2021

A Raleigh notary in Leesville yesterday claimed that the foreign national (my fiance) could not sign in front of her if she did not speak english. My fiance does speak, but notary was rude and frightened her into confusion when she forbid phone translator or a speaker phone translator and I was not permitted to help her by talking in Chinese. She forced my Chinese fiance to read a written line, and after she did accurately accomplish this, asked, "are you ready to sign?" When my fiance said, "I don't know," -- I said I can translate for her. The store lady shouted "No, I feel she is being forced." -- "she must speak on her own or hire a translator" or she said, "find a Chinese notary" in town. Store lady said, "by law if I don't feel comfortable signing I don't have to." Understand that this store lady didn't' even once ask to see the document. The document basically said that the signer is a foreigner and attests to the fact by stating that they don't have a social security number. In an indirect way the store owner refused notarization because a signer was not a " US citizen speaking quality english. This notary claimed it was her duty to safeguard her signer, but its also her duty to help a foreign national process paperwork that is critical to a foreign national's life. In my opinion this particular notary used her professional status to extend a personal agenda against my fiance. How do I file a complaint against her notarial license?

National Notary Association

08 Jun 2021

Hello. If you wish to file a complaint against a North Carolina Notary Public, you can find a form at this page: https://www.sosnc.gov/forms/by_title/_Tip_And_Complaint. However, you should also be aware that in most states (with the exception of Arizona), a Notary cannot perform a notarization if the Notary cannot communicate directly with the signer, and most states (again, Arizona is the exception) do not allow the use of a third party interpreter or translation app. For more information, please see the section "Can I communicate directly with the signer?" in this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/09/questions-for-foreign-language-issues

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