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Types Of ID That Notaries May Accept Under New State Laws

Washington Notaries may now accept passports as proof of a signer’s identity.

Washington has become one of several states to revise its rules on the types of identification Notaries may accept as proof of a signer’s identity. A new administrative rule that took effect on April 23, 2015 authorizes Notaries to accept passports or tribal government identification cards as satisfactory evidence of a signer’s identity.

Changes To Washington's Old Rule

Previously, state law allowed Notaries to accept a current federal- or state-issued ID that included a photograph, a signature and a physical description. But the definition under the old rule was not broad enough to allow Notaries to accept passports for identification, a very common form of ID that lacks a physical description.

California and Montana have also introduced bills in 2015 to update the list of acceptable identification documents for notarizations in those states.

The Washington administrative rule allows Notaries to accept passports as proof of identity, provided the passport is current, issued by the U.S. Department of State (or a foreign government recognized by the State Department) and includes the bearer’s photograph and signature. This allows both U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries to use passports to obtain the services of Washington Notaries if needed.

New Bills Being Considered In CA, MT

In California, the General Assembly is considering a bill (AB 1036) that would add identification issued by a county sheriff’s department for a prisoner in county jail to the list of acceptable IDs. A similar bill related to identification issued by California Department of Rehabilitation for inmates in California state prisons already passed in 2013.

In Montana, SB 306 is on its way to the Governor. It’s the state’s version of the Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts and, among other changes, it will significantly revise the way signers are identified.

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

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Add your comment

Debra Morauske

09 Jan 2020

I am a notary public and want to see the acceptable forms of ID for Washington state.

National Notary Association

10 Jan 2020

“A notarial officer has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual appearing before the officer if the officer can identify the individual: “(a) By means of: “(i) A passport, driver’s license, or government-issued nondriver identification card, which is current or expired not more than three years before performance of the notarial act; or “(ii) Another form of government identification issued to an individual, which is current or expired not more than three years before performance of the notarial act, contains the signature or a photograph of the individual, and is satisfactory to the officer; or “(b) By a verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the officer and personally known to the officer and who provides satisfactory evidence of his or her identity as described in (a) of this subsection” (RCW 42.45.050[2]).

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