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The Most Common Types Of Notarizations

Updated 8-9-21. Notaries need to know the difference between common notarial acts in order to perform their duties properly. Here are some of the most commonly requested notarizations.


The purpose of an acknowledgment is to ensure that the signer of a document is who they claim to be and has voluntarily signed the document. Acknowledgments often are needed for documents concerning valuable assets, such as deeds, mortgages and deeds of trust.

To perform an acknowledgment, the signer must personally appear before you at the time of notarization to be positively identified and to declare — or "acknowledge" — that the signature on the document is their own and that they signed willingly.

While it is common practice for your client to sign the document in front of you at the time of the notarization, it is not necessary. Your client may sign the document before bringing it to you and declare — or acknowledge — to you that the signature on the document is theirs.


The purpose of a jurat is for a signer to swear or affirm that the contents of a document are true. Depending on the jurisdiction, it also can be known as an affidavit or a verification on oath or affirmation.

For a jurat, the signer must personally appear before you and sign the document in your presence. You must then administer an oath or affirmation and have the signer speak aloud his or her promise that the statements in the document are true. The choice between an oath or affirmation should be made by the signer.

Administering the oath or affirmation is a vital part of performing a jurat or verification because the signer is affirming that the contents of the document are true, and he or she may be prosecuted for perjury if the contents are not true. California requires a signer to provide proof of identity for a jurat. 


In some cases, a client may simply need you to administer an oath or affirmation orally, rather than as part of a jurat​, affidavit or other written document. The purpose of administering a verbal oath or affirmation is, again, to compel a client to truthfulness.

An oath is a solemn pledge to a Supreme Being. An affirmation is a solemn pledge on the individual's personal honor. Again, the choice should be made by the signer.

Copy Certification

copy certification confirms that a reproduction of an original document is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the original.

Documents requiring copy certification may include: diplomas, driver’s licenses, leases, contracts, vehicle titles, Social Security cards, medical records and bills of sale.

To perform a copy certification, the person in possession of an original document (known also as the "document custodian") takes the original document to a Notary. The Notary typically will make a photocopy of the document and complete a certificate for the copy certification to confirm that the photocopy is a true, accurate and complete copy of the original.

While copy certifications are considered a common notarial act, nearly half of the U.S. states bar Notaries from performing this type of notarization. Make sure to check your state's guidelines to see if you may certify copies.

Of the states that do authorize this act, some stipulate that you may only certify copies of documents, not images, or other items. Other states allow Notaries to certify copies of both “records” and “items,” such as graphs, maps or images. California only allows Notaries to certify copies of powers of attorney or the Notary’s journal if requested by state officials or a court of law.

Many states, including Florida and Texas, also forbid the copy certification of vital, public documents, such as birth, death or marriage certificates. Certified copies of these documents typically must be obtained from the agency that holds the originals.

Notaries in Texas and Montana are allowed to certify that a physical copy of a notarized electronic record (such as a printed copy of an electronic document) is a true and correct copy.  

Signature Witnessing

Some states, such as Colorado and Pennsylvania, authorize Notaries to perform a signature witnessing. With this notarial act, you certify that the individual appearing before you is who he or she claims to be, and the signature on the record is the signature of the individual before you.

The main difference between a signature witnessing and an acknowledgment is that you witness the document being signed. The main difference between a signature witnessing and a jurat, affidavit, or verification upon oath or affirmation is that, with a signature witnessing, you do not administer an oath.

Want to brush up on your knowledge of notarizations and what is expected of you as a Notary Public? Check out the NNA’s Notary Essentials course.

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

NNA Hotline

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Add your comment

Carole Pateman

17 Aug 2015

So when you say the choice of oath should be left to the signer...How should that conversation go?? I have only ever done one Jurat, so not sure as to choice of words to the signer?????

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2015

Hello Carole. For example, you could ask the signer, "Do you prefer to take an oath to a higher power, or an affirmation based on your personal honor?" and let the signer choose which he or she prefers. Either choice is acceptable for a jurat.


17 Aug 2015

I have never asked this question-I wasn't aware that I had to ask. The wording I use covers both: "Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury that the contents of this document are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" This wording was taken from an example in the Sample Workbook, Functions and Duties of a California Notary Public produced by the CA Secretary of State's Business Programs Division Notary Public & Special Filings Section, 2014.


18 Aug 2015

Melanie, I believe that wording is correct, the alternative would be ".....truth, so help you God?"


20 Jul 2016

I drew up a document to allow my parents to take my 3 children on vacation and to seek medical advice should the need arise. I was refused notarization on the grounds that I did not have any notary wording in the document. What wording is necessary for the document to be notarized?

National Notary Association

21 Jul 2016

Hello. You would need to ask an attorney or the agency that this permission form will be submitted to what type of notarization they require for the document.

Bill Sudol

08 Aug 2016

The following is Nebraska's policy on copying documents: "As a notary you may not Copy Certify any documents, someone else can make a statement they are copies, and appear before you and sign the document. You will want to watch for the Attestation Clause required per Notary Law."

25 Oct 2016

Can you tell me what type of notarization an absentee ballot would be

National Notary Association

25 Oct 2016

Hello. If no instructions are provided on the document, and you cannot determine the type of notarial act from preprinted notarial certificate wording on the document, we would recommend contacting your Secretary of State's office for additional instructions.


25 Feb 2017

I'm buying a car, bill of sale. No title. What would that be categorized as?

National Notary Association

28 Feb 2017

Hello. We're sorry, but because this question doesn't relate to notarization we can't answer it.


17 Mar 2017

Is it advisable to have a separate stamp with just the notary's name on it to stamp the document the notary is attaching the certificate to...since the certificate and the document will be staple together it can easily be in staple, just a precautionary measure to avoid the certificate to be attached to a different document.


22 Jul 2017

I was asked to notorize a written document which was agreement between two people. Would I need a signature witness or acknowledgement?

National Notary Association

24 Jul 2017

Hello. The signers would need to tell you what type of notarization they want. You may not choose on their behalf.

Sylvia Perez

31 Jul 2017

Wow, I wasn't aware of this: "While it is common practice for your client to sign the document in front of you at the time of the notarization, it is not necessary. Your client may sign the document before bringing it to you and declare — or acknowledge — to you that the signature on the document is theirs." I have always turned folks away when they arrive with their paperwork already signed thinking all they need is a notary stamp.

Julie Hoskins

31 Jul 2017

I was asked to notorize a handwritten will for a gentleman that was going in for major surgery the next morning. What type of notorization would be correct to use? When I asked the gentleman he was not sure. I told him I could do an acknowledgement notorization, but he should check with his attorney. Was that correct?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2017

Hello. A nonattorney Notary should never select a notarial act on behalf of a signer. If the signer does not know what type of notarial act is needed the signer should contact the document receiving agency or a qualified attorney for instructions.

Robyn Donohue

09 Aug 2017

Is there somewhere or some how to print this? Would love to carry it with me.


12 Aug 2017

I just became a notary for work. My very first notary, I was asked to notarized a document for a co-worker. He told me is was an acknowledgment, but the wording on the certificate said "sworn before me". Wouldn't that be an oath/affirmation?

National Notary Association

14 Aug 2017

Hello Brandy. You should confirm with the signer that he wishes an acknowledgment. You may describe the difference between an acknowledgment and a jurat to the signer, but be sure to let him choose which one he wants--you may not select the notarial act on his behalf. If he confirms an acknowledgment is what he wants but the certificate wording on the document is not correct, you may complete and attach the correct acknoweldgment wording for your state instead of using the preprinted wording on the document. If the signer is unsure which notarial act he requires, he should contact the agency that issued the document for additional instructions.


23 Aug 2017

I was asked to notarized a document that states that he is the owner of a safe box and verify with his signature that he is the same person. What type of certification would that be?

National Notary Association

25 Aug 2017

Hello Mildred. To help us answer your question can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?


03 Sep 2017

Can a notary notarize a lease/rent agreement?

National Notary Association

05 Sep 2017

Yes, provided the notarial act requested meets all requirements of your state's laws.


01 Nov 2017

I am wanting to allow my ex to stand in my place when I am not around in the showing and/or signing for a piece of land I'm trying to sell... can I draw up a letter and have it notarized that I am giving him permission to do so?

National Notary Association

02 Nov 2017

Hello. If you are asking us if such a document would be legally binding, we're sorry but we are not authorized to give legal advice. You would need to speak with a qualified attorney to answer your questions.


19 Nov 2017

If some one has marked there a name and did not intial in the state of pa is that legal? also where the notary puts her stamp does she have to sign the affidavit, and anything written below that seal is it valaid?

National Notary Association

21 Nov 2017

Hi Tracy. We would need more information before we can answer your question. If you can contact our Hotline Team at 888-876-0827 and provide more details, one of our counselors should be able to assist you.

Delia Clifford

11 Jan 2018

what goes in these blanks "known to me (or proved to me on the oath of ____________ or through ______________ to be the person whose name is subscribed

National Notary Association

12 Jan 2018

Hello. Please contact our Hotline Team at 1-888-876-0827 for assistance with this question.


13 Jan 2018

What title should you include with your acknowledge and signature? Is Notary Public the official title vs. your job title?

National Notary Association

16 Jan 2018

Hello. "Notary Public" is the official title of a person who has been issued a Notary commission.


26 Feb 2018

I was asked to notarized a document giving permission to my aunt to make all the arragaments for my mom’s funeral and also to make decisions related to my grandpa’s testament but when I took it to the person she asked me to write in the document what type of document I need and I am so confuse with that Thanks

National Notary Association

26 Feb 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but any legal questions about preparing a power of attorney document need to be answered by a qualified attorney. Depending on your state's laws, it may be a conflict of interest for you to notarize a document for your aunt since you are related. If you can please tell us what state you are commissioned in, we can give you more specific information about your state's Notary rules regarding relatives.

Kerry Moore

27 Mar 2018

I have to get a signed/notarized statement indicating my boyfriend is financially responsible for me until I get a new job. Problem is, he's across the country and not able to be here in person and he's sick. How do go about this? What's the Florida law on this?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but any questions regarding preparing such a document or the legality of such a document would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Phyllis Johnson

28 Mar 2018

I received a page back from client that had a signature with notary signature. When I opened the envelope, it sliced my page in the beginning of the notary information but not on any signatures. Do I need to get them sign again or can this be accepted to be recorded in the court house.

National Notary Association

29 Mar 2018

Hello. You would need to contact the courthouse directly to ask if they will accept the document or not.

Pamela Goree-Best

29 Jun 2018

To obtain a passport I need to have form DS-10 Birth Affidavit be completed by an individual who has personal knowledge of my birth. When they completed the form and took it to be notorized the notory would not notarize it. She stated that I need to be present in order to get it notorized. Is this true? I live in TX and the person who completed the form lives in MI.

National Notary Association

29 Jun 2018

Hello. The person whose signature is being notarized would have to appear in person before the Notary.

Cherry taylor

09 Jul 2018

Can I get a power of attorney for me and my fianc� and a paper saying if something happens to him or me we can use the ussafruct on his property can we get this motorized if we are both willing

National Notary Association

10 Jul 2018

Hello. Any questions about preparing a power of attorney would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.


22 Jul 2018

My sister in law is traveling out of the country with her son. The father is staying in the states. Can I notorize a letter from the father giving his permission for the kid to travel with the Mom? If so what tip of certificate should i notarize? thank you in advance.

National Notary Association

24 Jul 2018

Hello. You would need to contact the agency requiring the permission form (for example, the airline if asked to provide a permission letter when travelling by plane) for instructions regarding what is required for a permission letter and what type of notarization is required.


24 Jul 2018

I am in the process currently to get a bonded title and needed to send a certified letter requesting a title but my notary asked me what type of notary that I need . What type is required for certified letter for bonded titles?

National Notary Association

25 Jul 2018

Hello. If you are unsure what type of notarization is needed, we would recommend that you contact the agency you are sending the certified letter to and ask if they can tell you what type of notarization they require, such as an acknowledgment of your signature, or a jurat where you would swear or affirm the content of the letter is true. For more information on different types of notarizations, please see here:

Linda Lewis

25 Oct 2018

I had a acknowledgment notary page for the person taking a quit deed, it did not require signature of two parties seller but only acknowledge one party buyer. Then they came back saying it needed to have both. How is there room for both in personal known or ID provided?

National Notary Association

26 Oct 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.

Katie Slaymaker

01 Nov 2018

The information was very helpful I would like to become a notary in the state of iowa

National Notary Association

01 Nov 2018

Thank you Katie. If you need help with the commissioning process, please call our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 for assistance.

Pierre houde

31 Jan 2019

I got an embosser but I am not sure where to add it on a notarial act, not on top of the stamp, I am sure, but where on the page?

Pierre houde

06 Feb 2019

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


18 May 2019

I was asked to perform notary for a friends divorce papers. Am I allow to so or do they need to go to Notary for Divorce Papers?

National Notary Association

28 May 2019

To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?


22 Jun 2019

(CA) Reading through the thread, it indicated never offer copy certification. The state of CA allows for copy certification on Powers of Attorney (only). Is that correct?

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2019

Hello. CA Notaries may certify copies of powers of attorney (GC 8205[a][4]; Probate Code 4307[b][2]) or copies of entries in the Notary’s own journal if ordered by the Secretary of State (GC 8205[b][1]) or by a court (GC 8206[e]).


08 Feb 2020

I got a certified check made out to me and my ex husband. The problem is we live states away from one another now. So my question is can I send him the check and he takes it to his bank to sign and get notarized? Then send it back to me for me to take up to my bank for deposit

National Notary Association

12 Feb 2020

Hello. You would need to contact the bank you wish to deposit the check at and request instructions from them on how to handle this situation.


15 May 2020

What type of notarization is a property rendition and vehicle rendition for the county?

National Notary Association

18 May 2020

Hello. The signer would need to contact either the agency that issued the document being notarized, or the agency that would receive the document to ask what type of notarization is required.


10 Sep 2020

It would be nice if NNA articles addressed why particular topics do or don't apply to Louisiana notaries. We are one of the 50 states after all.

National Notary Association

15 Sep 2020

Hello. Because Louisiana's civil law Notaries have different training, powers and duties than Notaries in other states, often information that applies to Notaries in other states does not apply to Louisiana. However, we do publish information about Louisana when appropriate, for example, our 2020 Notary of the Year, Alan Warren, is from Louisiana: If you have topics or suggestions for articles related to notarization in Louisiana, please feel free to send suggestions to us at

Gilbert J. Augustine

25 Sep 2020

I want give my sister Authority to handle documents concerning property overseas. What type of notary act do i need.

National Notary Association

30 Sep 2020

Hello. We're sorry, but that is a legal question that would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.


29 Sep 2020

My fiance and his siblings are selling land to North Carolina realtors. 2 of the siblings live in MD. The rest are in NC. The 2 in MD have been told by the realtors in NC the bank notarized Md document is unacceptable to them. The Md siblings must get a different type of notarization that specifically addresses land propert sales. Can u tell me for the Md siblings exactly what type of notarization is required? Thank U

National Notary Association

02 Oct 2020

Hello. We're sorry, but you would need to contact the realtors or the agency that will receive the documents to provide those instructions.


23 Dec 2020

I live in Washington DC. What should I write for state and county when notarizing a document.

National Notary Association

02 Feb 2021

Hello. The venue should be crossed out and then underneath simply write “District of Columbia”. The Notary may initial the area as well due to the changes.


11 Feb 2021

What notarial wording would I use for a payment agreement with the department of taxation?

National Notary Association

12 Feb 2021

Hello. You would need to contact the department to ask them for instructions regarding what type of notarization they want on the document.


19 Feb 2021

I only have affidavits notarized at work. The journal I got has the options of : acknowledgement, copy certification, jurat, oath or affirmation... Do I use on of these or simply write in affidavit in that section?

National Notary Association

24 Feb 2021

Hello. "Acknowledgment," "Jurat" etc. refer to the type of notarization performed, while "Affidavit" would refer to the type of document. If your journal provides a section to enter the type of document involved in the transaction, you can enter "Affidavit" there; otherwise you can enter the type of document notarized in the "Other Information" section if your journal provides one.


16 Dec 2021

I'm asked to notarize a PoA signed by an authorized representative of a particular LLC. The attorney requesting the signature sent the following instruction: a notary public who certifies the signature(s) of the company’s representative(s) on the PoA and who also specifically confirms on the document (following review of respective documents) their powers to effectively represent the company; Do I need to write anything other than my signature and stamp on the document? It doesn't look as though there is a specific "Notary section".

National Notary Association

17 Dec 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with additional information about 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.

Toni Mitchell

28 Feb 2022

It would be soooooo nice if you could show exactly what kind stamp we should under each an every one of these! I never see anyone actually showing the exact stamp to use on theses documents! I know it may seem like a really silly request but as a brand new notary I panic when it comes to what exact stamp to use where!

Sarah Rohrbach

23 Mar 2022

I am a new Notary Public in the state of PA and was asked to notarize a car title for the seller and purchaser. As I am not a registered agent with PennDot am I still able to notarize the car title and what are next steps after the notarization occurs?

National Notary Association

22 Apr 2022

PENNDOT documents can be Notarized by any Notary Public as long as registration tags are not being issued as part of the transaction. The signer will have to check with PENNDOT regarding next steps after a document has been notarized.

Brooke Bordelon

13 Apr 2022

What type of notorial act is needed for a deposition?

National Notary Association

19 Apr 2022

Hello. Notaries are not authorized to determined the type of notarial act required for a document. It would be up to the signer or agency requesting the notarization to tell you what type of notarization they want performed.

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