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Notary Bulletin

Notary Essentials: The Difference Between Acknowledgments And Jurats

Bulletin-Ack-v-Jurat-resize.jpgUpdated 3-10-20. The two most common notarizations requested by customers are acknowledgments and jurats. But not everyone knows the difference between these two acts. Here are some important points you should know. 

What Is An Acknowledgment?

The purpose of an acknowledgment is for a signer, whose identity has been verified, to declare to a Notary or notarial officer that he or she has willingly signed a document.


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An acknowledgment requires the following steps:

1. The signer must physically appear before you.

2. You must positively identify the signer according to your state’s rules.

3. The signer may either sign the document before appearing before you, or in your presence.

4. The signer must declare (acknowledge) signing the document for its intended purpose.

The signer must be able to directly communicate with you that he or she willingly signed the document. Arizona is the exception to this rule. Arizona state law permits a signer to communicate with a Notary through a translator who is also present at the notarization.

What Is A Jurat?

The purpose of a jurat — also known in some states as a “verification upon oath or affirmation” — is for a signer to swear to or affirm the truthfulness of the contents of a document to a Notary or notarial officer.


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A jurat requires the following steps:

1. The signer must appear in person before you and sign the document in your presence.

2. In some states, you are required to positively identify the signer.

3. You must administer a spoken oath or an affirmation, and the signer must respond out loud. Silent answers such as a nod of the head are not acceptable.

While not required by law, it is strongly recommended that you have the signer raise his or her right hand to emphasize the seriousness of the oath or affirmation.

A jurat cannot be executed by someone offering to take the oath in someone else’s name — the original signer must swear or affirm the oath in person before the Notary.

Acknowledgment And Jurat Certificates

Because acknowledgments and jurats are different notarizations with different purposes, each requires its own certificate wording. You cannot use a jurat certificate for an acknowledgment, or vice versa. Make sure you use certificate wording that is acceptable under your own state’s rules.

In general, an acknowledgment certificate will contain the words, “acknowledged before me” or similar wording. Jurat certificates will contain the words, “subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me.”

If you have questions about the certificate wording, check your state’s Notary handbook or contact the NNA Hotline for help.


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06 Apr 2015

I'm aware of this (went to OH Bankers seminar many yrs ago) but now you need to tell the title companies. Can't tell you how many title docs come w/wrong clause.

William Youngberg

06 Apr 2015

I don't want to be forced to leave a comment when I am blocked from reading the article with your required comment page. Can I please just read the bulletin?

National Notary Association

07 Apr 2015

Hello William. We're sorry--it sounds like there's a technical problem if something is blocking you from reading the article-you shouldn't be required to comment in order to do so. If you can please email us at and let us know what type of device and browser you are using, we'll try to resolve your problem. If it's possible for you to include a screenshot that would help also, but it's not required. Again, sorry for any inconvenience.


06 Apr 2015

I really appreciate these reviews; very valuable!


06 Apr 2015

Thank you very much for simplifying.

Notary Public

07 Apr 2015

Thank you for this article. It is very helpful, straight forward and easy to understand.

Susanne Pellicano

07 Apr 2015

I also enjoy reading the Notary Bulletin as it has answered many of my questions, not to mention this information helps me to stay inside the guidelines thanks to the detailed information in the articles. I also like to take the Quiz to acknowledge to myself that I am learning and feel comfortable with my decisions.

Linda Wilson

07 Apr 2015

I really enjoy reading all the articles. They educate me and help me understand the laws in my state. Thank you for going over Acknowledgements and Jurats. I notarize them both at my place of employment.

Carmelina Carrillo

07 Apr 2015

Thank you for this information, I really appreciate your time and efforts to keep us up to date.

Carmelina Carrillo

07 Apr 2015

Easy to understand, I really love your information.

Don Anderson

08 Apr 2015

Thank you for the information. Very helpful and easy to understand.

Hortensia Castillo

08 Apr 2015

Thank you for the information provided in this article. It is very helpful.

Saleem Shakur

09 Apr 2015

Good Informatiom

J. Hinton

10 Apr 2015

What You Need To Know About ACKNOWLEDGMENTS - Expand on last part of 4th bullet point that starts "but the signer must acknowledge the signature". Thanks!


17 Apr 2015

Thanks for the response to my question "can a notary explain the difference of an acknowledgement and a jurat without instructing them which to choose? you responded that we can explain the difference without recommending either. This was very helpful. Thanks!

Nohora Price

19 May 2015

This seminar was very helpful, thank you! :)

Timothy Smith

30 Jul 2015

People at my company seem to expect me to know which form, Jurat or Acknowledgement, is needed. Should I know? Also, if I am given a jurat to notarize but the document actually requires something else (e.g. Acknowledgement), how do I know and am I doing something illegal/wrong by notarizing the incorrect document?

National Notary Association

30 Jul 2015

Hello. Notaries can't choose the type of notarial act for a signer. However, you may describe the difference between an acknowledgment and jurat and let the signer decide which one is needed. If a signer asks you for a particular notarial act, unless you are an attorney you are not authorized to advise the signer to choose a different notarial act. It is considered the unauthorized practice of law for a nonattorney Notary to advise a signer regarding what notarization is required for a document.

Ada Narain

31 Aug 2015

Precise, informative, straight forward. I like the update, the explanations and examples. Keep sending them. Thank you

shelly swinehart

21 Dec 2015

Hi. I am a new notary in PA. I will be doing affidavits for my boss. Do I need him to take an oath every time I do an affidavit (sometimes 4 times a day) and also, do I need him to sign my journal each time or can I stamp his name?

National Notary Association

22 Dec 2015

Hello. Yes, each affidavit is a separate notarial act and you would need to administer an oath or affirmation each time. You would also need to complete and have your boss sign your journal entry each time you notarize his signature.

Dave Kunkler

25 Jan 2016

very good, clear info. Majority of what I notarize are these two forms of notorization.

Gwendolyn Z. Green

25 Jan 2016

Thank you very much for this important information. You do keep us informed and it is appreciated.

Cynthia Greene

25 Jan 2016

I am a new notary and I wish I could do the class over just to understand when we use the knowledgement and when we use the jurats, are they used in all transactions or just some ???very confused and don't want to mess up on my first signing

National Notary Association

25 Jan 2016

Hi Cynthia. The signer must choose whether to ask for an acknowledgment or jurat. Notaries may not make that decision on behalf of the signer, because if the Notary makes a mistake the document could be invalidated and the Notary could be held liable unauthorized practice of law. However, if a signer does not know which act the signer wants, a Notary may describe the difference between an acknowledgment and a jurat, and let the signer choose which one is needed. If the signer is still unsure, the signer should contact the agency that issued or that will receive the document and ask for instructions.

Sandra E Brooks

25 Jan 2016

Great refresher and thanks !! I thought you mentioned a quiz, can you advise where it is listed. I saw the tax one and completed it .


25 Jan 2016

Great article. In the great state of CA, we can not choose for the customer which helps keep us out of trouble of making that mistake of having the wrong form when there is no wording at all. Of course, this I still why I subscribe to the Hotline!


26 Jan 2016

I will be doing a lot of papers that have to do with work permits and immigration. Do I have to do a special training or just do normal notarization??

National Notary Association

27 Jan 2016

Hello Jacqueline. Many states require persons offering immigration-related services to be licensed or registered with the state. Also, please be aware that many states restrict Notaries from advertising immigration-related services to prevent fraud targeting immigrants. To help us answer your question, what state are you commissioned as a Notary in?

John R. McCoy

16 Mar 2016

I have suggested several times in the past that clients fill out a "sign by mark" certificate when their signature in not able to be pronounce or read. What good is ID if you can't read the person's signature?


23 Mar 2016

Hi there, I understand why going through a translation is not permissible for acknowledgments or jurats which have a verbal ritual requirement. However, does this limitation also apply to simply witnessing a signature? I am in WA.

National Notary Assocation

24 Mar 2016

Hello. Yes, you would still need to be able to communicate directly with the signer for a signature witnessing. A signature witnessing requires that a signer be identified through either personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence. (RCW 42.44.080[1], [3] and [4].) In the event you needed to ask the signer questions about an identification document to help verify the signer's identity, it is essential that you be able to communicate with the signer directly. An interpreter might have reason to misrepresent what the signer is saying to you and opens the notarization to the possibility of fraud.

Ron Zick

27 Apr 2016

Practical blog post ! I loved the specifics ! Does someone know where my assistant can locate a blank a form example to fill out ?

Janice Wong

01 Sep 2016

I understand notaries can not choose the type of notarization for the signer, but what if the signer makes the wrong choice. The signer wants to attach a jurat loose certificate even though the document has acknowledge wording for another state. What should the notary do?

National Notary Association

01 Sep 2016

Hello. It is not the Notary's place to decide whether a notarial act selected by a signer is "right" or "wrong" for a particular document. If a signer asks for a jurat to be performed and jurat wording to be attached to the document, the Notary should follow those instructions. It is acceptable, however, to note in the journal entry that the signer specifically asked for a jurat although there was pre-printed acknowledgment wording on the document.


07 Sep 2016

Hi. I'm a notary for less than a year and do not do many. A notary who works in a law office asked me to notarize two affidavits for her on separate occasions. She purposely put the document out of my reach and only gave me the page for the notary signature. Shouldn't I be able to inspect the document to see that it actually is for her personally?

National Notary Association

08 Sep 2016

Hello. A Notary cannot notarize an incomplete document. If the signer is deliberately removing part of the document and concealing it from you during the notarization, you should not proceed with the notarial act.


14 Sep 2016

A friend asked me to notarize a document for him, he is leaving on vacation for 6 weeks and he said it was a form so that his ex-wife would be able to request their child's passport in his absence, but the form had an oath statement right below his signature which it said he was to sign in front of a Notary, I did an acknowledgement and now I am questioning if I should've done in jurat, help?

National Notary Association

14 Sep 2016

Hello. A Notary cannot choose what notarial act is appropriate for a document. If the Notary is uncertain what notarial act is needed, the Notary should ask the signer what type of notarization they want and let the signer choose. If the signer is not certain, the agency that issued or will received the document should be contacted for instructions.


30 May 2017

Will an affidavit with an acknowledgement attached INSTEAD of a Jurat be rejected?

National Notary Association

31 May 2017

Hello. That would be up to the agency that will receive the document. The signer would have to contact that agency and ask them if this would be an acceptable alternative.

Nellie Lennon

23 Jun 2017

Very helpful and easy to understand.


26 Sep 2017

Can my notary sign both the acknowledgement and JURAT line? There is a statement with both an acknowledgement and a JURAT line...

National Notary Association

26 Sep 2017

Hello. We apologize, but we don't have enough information from your post to answer your question. We suggest contacting our hotline team at and providing your state and more details about the notarization being requested.


07 Nov 2017

Where may i obtain a jurat certificate in the state of North Carolina

National Notary Association

07 Nov 2017

Hello. You can find sample certificate wording at the NC Secretary of State's website:


03 Mar 2018

Hello. Does a “sales deed” need an acknowledgement or a jurat form? Thanks.

National Notary Association

05 Mar 2018

Hello. The signer would need to contact either the organization that created the sales deed or the agency that will receive it to ask if the document requires notarization or not.

Janna Walden

05 Mar 2018

Thanks you! Very helpful!

Marion C Caryl

26 Mar 2018

Could you please have an article on signatures. Many now sign with what I call a "graphic" vs. cursive signature. Notary instructions say to have the signer sign exactly as typed or printed. Impossible to tell with a graphic signature. Are there any specific rules? (New Mexico.) I often do documents originating in other states too.

Jacquelyn Melton

26 Mar 2018

Why are all of these 3 years old. Some new persons have surely commented.?

Floyd Golladay

27 Mar 2018

A friend needed to have a power of attorney for her father who is that a nursing home. Mentally he is stable. He cannot walk is this problem. He wants to give his daughter power of attorney. She asked if she could have two Originals signed and notarized. Is there anything wrong with this?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but any questions regarding instructions for preparing a power of attorney would need to be answered by a qualified lawyer.

Denise O'Dell

31 Mar 2018

I'm a California notary and recently signed loan documents for a Kentucky purchase. Because notary wording on the deed stated capacity I attached a loose certificate. They are now requesting I attach both both an acknowledgement and a jurat because their wording included "subscribed, sworn and acknowledged." I attached a Jurat because of the "subscribed and sworn" in the wording. "Is it okay to attach both?

National Notary Association

02 Apr 2018

Hello Denise. You may perform both an acknowledgment and a jurat for a signer if requested to do so, but the signer would have to appear before you again in person with the original document in order to do so. Essentially, you would be performing two new notarizations for the signer-an acknowledgment and a jurat. You may not attach blank certificate wording to the document for someone else to complete, or provide unattached, blank certificate wording to another person to complete.


29 May 2018

This is a good article but pointless, or maybe the notaries i've ran into aren't doing their Job properly, but as a pro se litigant i don't have the handy little convenience of my own personal notary so I have to utilize the courts. I can't say how many times I am surprised that I can go into the court house, expect to be sworn for a jurat and then surprised that the Jurat was not properly administered. Only one Notary i've ran across, someone outside of the court clerks actually administered the swearing in part of it. So apparently swearing in is not an actual requirement of a Jurat.


16 Aug 2018

Where can I download marriage certificates

Sherre Reese Hebert

30 Oct 2018

When the document says to swear, my signer is raising their right hand and swearing that the information contained is the truth to the best of their knowledge, so help me God.


08 Nov 2018

Regarding a home closing....If a Notary Attestation To Qualify is signed by the notary but they did not check off any of the boxes could that be an issue?

National Notary Association

08 Nov 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 Nov 2018

Regarding a home closing....If a Notary Attestation To Qualify is signed by the notary but they did not check off any of the boxes could that be an issue?

National Notary Association

14 Nov 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.

Nancy DiVito

25 Mar 2019

Thank you, this is simplifying with explanation with the difference. Quick page for reference and knowledge.

Jack Williams

25 Mar 2019

Is it possible to use both an Acknowledgement and Jurat on the same document? Such as on a sworn statement regarding an accident, that the signer confirms their statement is true and that they signed it? Thanks

National Notary Association

26 Mar 2019

Hello. Please see this article for more information:

Cherry Mertens

25 Mar 2019

Very good. Simple to understand and love the example. Some title company’s need to get the right forms.


26 Mar 2019

Thank you for all the information and updates.


27 Mar 2019

Thanks for the helpful tips.

Melanie B

16 Apr 2019

Where can i get free acknowledgement and jurat forms from ( Florida)

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2019

Hello. NNA members can download certificates for their state here:


16 Apr 2019

Do you have to turn in acknowledgments or jurats somewhere? Or does the notary simply save them? The class did not go over this part.. Our company basically notarizes documents that prove a person's identification and signature for an assortment of different forms- account surrenders, spousal consents, withdrawal and trust forms. Thanks for your help!

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2019

Hello. Acknowledgments and jurats are performed on documents. Any completed certificate wording and seal images or impressions are affixed or attached to the document-there is no elements that the Notary would retain or "turn in." However, some states do require Notaries to maintain journal records of each notarization they perform. Even if not required, a journal record provides valuable evidence that the Notary performed his or her duties properly in the event a notarization is challenged or questioned at a later time. For more information, please see here:


18 Oct 2019

Thank you for the explanation. is there any additional training


20 Oct 2019

When would it be okay to notarize a document without and acknowledgement or jurat?

National Notary Association

21 Oct 2019

Hello. Depending on state law, Notaries are sometimes authorized to perform other notarizations apart from acknowledgments or jurats. For example, some states authorize Notaries to certify copies of documents or administer verbal oaths and affirmations without a written document. Can you provide us more information about what state you are commissioned in and what type of notarization is being requested?

06 Jan 2020

Hi , i am new on this , for a notarization on a title for a vehicle which kind of notarization i need to do? what form: ?

National Notary Association

07 Jan 2020

Hello. The signer would have to inform you what type of notarization they wish you to perform, such as an acknowledgment or jurat. If the signer is not certain, the signer would need to contact the agency that issued the document for instructions. As a Notary, you are not permitted to choose the type of notarization performed on the signer's behalf.

Tommy Shearer

14 Apr 2020

Thank you, this was very helpful.

Deborah S Milligan

14 Apr 2020

This was great, thank you. I have saved several of your articles, they are very informative.


14 Apr 2020

Acknolwedgement Section - since when can a person sign BEFORE s/he appears before the notary? This is not what the required notary course teaches before we become notaries. We were told we must witness the signature. Confusing - is this part of the new law effective January 1, 2020?

National Notary Association

15 Apr 2020

Hello, Marcia. To help us answer your question, can you please clarify what state you are commissioned in?

Cheri-Michelle DeHaas

29 Jul 2020

Would notarizing court documents be considered a jurat or an acknowledgement? I only ask because I get them confused. I would only be witnessing the signatures placed on the document and then applying my signature and stamp. Thank you.

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2020

Hello. The person or agency making the notarization request would need to tell you if an acknowledgment or jurat is required.


14 Dec 2020

I'm making up a will and an advance directive for myself. Both will have two witnesses, and notarized. Does this require "acknowledgement" wording, or the "jurat" wording? Thanks so much!

National Notary Association

15 Dec 2020

Hello. You would need to consult with an attorney for guidance in preparing and notarizing this legal document.


18 Jan 2021

Does every notarial act need a acknowledge and or jurat form attached? How do you know when what is needed?When is a loose certificate used?

National Notary Association

19 Jan 2021

Hello. Acknowledgments, jurats and other notarial acts related a signed document do require notarial certificate wording. However, a notarial act such as a request to administer a verbal oath or affirmation to a customer that does not involve a signed document would not require certificate wording. It is the signer's responsibility to tell the Notary what type of notarization the signer wants. For more information about the use of separate or "loose" certificates, please see here:

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