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Quiz: Dealing With Expired ID

ANSWERS:

1. Notaries can accept an expired identification document from a signer if:

A. The signer swears an oath or affirmation that the ID is genuine
B. A non-governmental organization recommends accepting an expired ID
C. The expired ID meets statutory requirements in the state where you are commissioned
D. An expired ID is unacceptable in any U.S. state or territory

Answer: C. Some states permit Notaries to accept an expired ID as proof of a signer’s identity if the expired ID meets certain statutory restrictions. California allows a signer to use an expired ID that was issued within the past five years and meets all other identification requirements. Iowa permits a Notary to accept an expired ID from a signer provided the ID expired no more than three years ago. Other states such as Illinois do not permit Notaries to accept an expired ID as proof of identity. Always check your state’s laws before accepting an expired ID from a signer. NNA members with questions about accepting expired ID can contact our Notary Hotline for additional assistance.

2. True or False. Checking a birth certificate is a reliable way to verify a signer’s identity if a signer’s ID has expired.

Answer: False. A birth certificate is a record of one’s birth, but as an identification credential lacks a photograph, description and signature that can be used to verify the identify the bearer today.

3. Credible identifying witnesses can be used as an alternative to an expired ID if:

A. The credible witness meets all criteria under federal law
B. The credible witness meets all criteria under your state’s laws
C. The signer’s ID expired within the past three years
D. The signer has known the witness for at least six months

Answer: B. A signer whose ID has expired can be identified instead by one or more credible identifying witnesses, provided your state’s law permits it and the witnesses meet all statutory requirements. (There are no federal law requirements for a credible identifying witness). Texas, for example, allows the use of one credible witness who personally knows the Notary. If a signer wishes to be identified using one or more credible witnesses, always confirm the witnesses meet state requirements first.

4. True or False. A Notary can accept an expired ID if the signer can show proof he or she has applied for a new ID.

Answer: False.
Any identification document presented to a Notary must meet the requirements of state law. A document showing that the signer has applied for a new ID cannot validate an ID that fails to meet statutory requirements. For example, a Notary could not accept a signer’s expired driver’s license simply because the signer possesses a receipt showing the signer recently applied for a new license.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

30 Comments

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Concern person

28 Nov 2014

A client just had her driver license expired on 10-25-2014 and it was issue on 10-21-2009. Can I still notary her documents.

National Notary Association

01 Dec 2014

Hello. So that we can better answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

April Nesmith

10 Mar 2015

I am commissioned in North Carolina

National Notary Association

10 Mar 2015

Hello April. NC law on satisfactory evidence of identity states: "Satisfactory evidence means identification of an individual based on either of the following: (a) at least one current document issued by a federal, a state, or a federal or state-recognized tribal government agency, bearing the photographic image of the individual’s face and either the signature or a physical description of the individual, or (b) the vouching under oath or affirmation of one credible witness who personally knows the individual seeking to be identified (GS 10B-3[22])."

Catherine James

04 Apr 2015

I'm commissioned in California. What to do for a senior with expired ID (expired 2009), no passport, just moved to town so doesn't know anyone for credible witness. She wants her son to have power of attorney for her healthcare. HELP!

National Notary Association

07 Apr 2015

Hi Catherine. If the signer can't provide any satisfactory form of ID, credible witness or other acceptable method of identification under CA law, I'm afraid it's not possible for you to notarize.

Thu Tran

11 May 2015

A client just had her driver license expired on 10-25-2015 and it was issue on 10-21-2010. Can I still notary her documents. I am commissioned in California. Thank you

National Notary Association

11 May 2015

Hello. California law states that a Notary may accept a CA or other U.S. state driver's license as ID as long as it is current or issued within the past five years (CC 1185[b][3] and [b][4]). Since the license was issued within the past five years and has not reached its expiration date, it should still be acceptable as long as it meets all other requirements of CA law (for example, it must include a photograph, signature, physical description of the bearer and an identification number).

Matt

13 Nov 2015

Can I get something notarized with an expired ID and birth certificate in PA?

National Notary Association

17 Nov 2015

Hi Matt. No, I'm sorry, but neither of these documents meets Pennsylvania's identification requirements, which state an ID presented by a signer must be current, government-issued and contain a photograph, signature or physical description, and serial ID number. (57 PS 158.1[a]) An expired ID is not current and a birth certificate does not include a photograph or your signature.

Acenanovic

11 May 2016

Can I get a document notarized if the person has no ID, but I have a witness known to me and the person in AZ ?

National Notary Association

12 May 2016

Hello. Yes, in Arizona a signer may use a credible witness personally known to both the signer and the Notary as proof of identity for a notarization.

TAMMY

12 Jun 2016

I LIVE IN MICHIGAN IF I HAVE A EXPIRED ID CAN I STILL GET SOMETHING NOTRIZED.THANK YOU

National Notary Association

13 Jun 2016

Hello. No, MCL 55.285[6] states that an ID presented by a signer for a notarization must be current. However, if there is a Notary who you know personally on a long-term basis, that Notary can identify you through personal knowledge. Another alternative is if there is a witness who knows both you and the Notary personally, that person can serve as a credible identifying witness for the notarization.

Amy

22 Aug 2016

Can I notarize a person with an expired license but has his temporary license issued? State of WA

National Notary Association

23 Aug 2016

Hello. No. According to Washington Administrative code 308-30-155, the ID documents must be current. A temporary license is not considered a 'current' ID.

Robert

15 Sep 2016

My wife is trying to get a paper signed to obtain her birth certificate. We recently moved from CA to AR and her license expired. It was a California license and we are trying to obtain a copy of her birth certificate to get her new license. Please help us.

National Notary Association

15 Sep 2016

Hello. You would need to contact the recording office that has her original birth certificate on file and follow any instructions they require regarding submitting the copy request.

Ellen

25 Sep 2016

State of Florida: A gentleman wanted me to notarize a vehicle title that he wanted to give to his son. No place on the title for a notarization. I didn't feel comfortable (the son seemed agitated), so in a kind way I said no to the father. Is this something I should have considered doing and if so, where would I put my notarization?

National Notary Association

26 Sep 2016

Hello Ellen. If there was no notarial certificate wording on the document, and the signer was unwilling to have you attach notarial wording on a separate page to the document, then there would be no way for you to proceed with the notarization and you were correct in saying no.

Tove Walsh

13 Feb 2017

What are WA state laws on notarizing if I'd is expired? Can they have a witness?

Keawana Smith

16 May 2017

What are the limitations to notarize expired ID in Tennessee?

National Notary Association

18 May 2017

Hello. ID in Tennessee must be current or issued within 5 years (TCA 66-22- 106[c]).

Ryvona Stephens

23 Oct 2017

I am a Notary in Idaho. Can I notarize docs when 1 individual shows an expired drivers license and a temporary renewal?

National Notary Association

24 Oct 2017

Hello. In order to accept an expired driver's license as proof of identity in Idaho, the license must not have expired for more than 3 years prior to the date the notarization is performed. (IC 51-107[2]).

jbaird@bex.net

24 Oct 2017

I'm in Ohio; can I notarize for a resident of a nursing home with an expired driver's license by using nursing home staff as a credible witness?

National Notary Association

24 Oct 2017

Hello. Ohio Notary law does not address whether nursing home staff may be used as a credible identifying witness. Page 12 of the Handbook for Notaries Public published by the Franklin County Common Pleas Court and Columbus Bar Association states, “If the signer is not known to the notary, proof of the individual’s identity must be presented. This proof is often satisfied by examination of a driver’s license or other identification card (preferably one with a picture). Proof may also include introduction of the individual by a third person whom the notary knows and trusts. A court has held that the failure of a notary public to obtain some evidence of identification independent of a stranger’s representation is negligence as a matter of law.”

RON HELMUTH

25 Oct 2017

How about simply posting the requirements for each of the 50 states? I'm from PA, and can't remember from the training what our rules are, but everyone needs to know.

Nikki

07 Aug 2018

Alaska - my mother has an expired ID (over 7 years - she's disabled and doesn't drive anymore and doesn't leave her house due to medical issues). She needs to sign/notarize an affidivate letter for my immigration petition. What can she do to get this done? Can I be her witness?

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2018

Hello. No, you may not serve as a credible identifying witness for your mother. “A notary public may not ... affix the notary public’s official seal to a document unless the person who is to sign the document … is personally known to the notary public, produces government-issued identification containing the photograph and signature of the person signing, or produces (i) government-issued identification containing the signature of the person signing, but without a photograph; and (ii) another valid identification containing the photograph and signature of the person signing” (AS 44.50.062[5][C]).

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