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Is An Expired ID Acceptable For A Notarization?

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Updated 9-12-17. It wouldn’t be hard to argue that the Notary’s main responsibility is properly identifying signers, but what if a signer presents an expired ID?

While it might seem like an unusual circumstance, Notaries are presented with expired IDs more often than you might think. The elderly, disabled, impoverished, or any person who doesn’t drive regularly, often let their identification documents expire. But they still need notarizations from time to time.

While some states offer clear direction on handling expired IDs, other states do not, which leaves Notaries responsible for determining whether the ID is acceptable. That’s why it’s so important to be familiar with your state’s requirements.

Know Your State's Requirements
 

Some states only permit Notaries to accept an expired ID if it was issued within a certain time period.

In California, any signer ID allowed under CA law must either be current, or, if expired, must have been issued within the past five years. An expired ID that was issued more than five years prior to the date the notarization takes place may not be accepted. This requirement applies to signer ID presented for both acknowledgments and jurats. 

Florida also permits Notaries to accept expired IDs from a signer provided the expired ID was issued within the past five years and includes a serial identifying number. This includes driver's licenses and ID cards issued by U.S. states and territories, Canada, or Mexico; U.S. passports or foreign passports stamped by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); U.S. military IDs; veterans health ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; U.S. Bureau of Federal Prisons IDs inmates in custody or ID cards issued by USCIS.

A number of states have adopted the Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts (RULONA), which allows an ID to be accepted up to three years after it has expired. If you’re a Notary in Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon or West Virginia, then you may accept an expired ID that falls within the three-year period.

Thirteen states require Notaries to accept a “current” ID. Pennsylvania, for example, requires “a current, government-issued identification card…” One state, Illinois, requires IDs to be valid at the time of the notarial act and Arizona, Delaware and Virginia require IDs to be current and unexpired.

So far, this accounts for less than half of U.S. states and jurisdictions. More than half of all states have laws which do not say an ID must be current, valid or unexpired.

If your state’s Notary laws do not specifically spell out what to do in the case of an expired ID, then the NNA recommends that you make it your professional standard of practice to accept only unexpired IDs. 

If A Notary Cannot Accept An Expired ID
 

If you’re not allowed to accept an expired ID, there may be alternatives to identify your signer, but these methods also vary by state. In most cases, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport would be acceptable. U.S. passports are valid for 10 years, typically double that of most driver’s licenses and state IDs. Considering that more than 125 million people, or about half of all U.S. adults, currently hold passports, that is a workable option.

In most states, signers may also be identified through the use of a credible witness, or two, providing that your state laws allow this, and that the witnesses meet all statutory requirements. In Pennsylvania, for example, a credible witness must personally know both the signer and the Notary. Florida, on the other hand, allows the use of two credible witnesses who do not personally know the Notary. In this case, the witnesses must present valid, state approved ID to the Notary, and sign a sworn written statement.

To find out if you may rely on credible identifying witnesses, check your state Notary handbook, usually available from your commissioning authority, or the State Law Summaries posted on the NNA website.

If you have questions about what your state requires or does not require, you can call the NNA Hotline for further guidance.

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34 Comments

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Mary Buck

28 Sep 2015

Hello! Thank you for this informative article! We were just wrestling with that issue and one of the notaries I work with asked the Virginia State's Attorney General's Office about the issue. Here is the relevant part of the memo they sent back: Re: Ambiguities in Virginia Notary Public Handbook August 15, 2015 Mr. Speaker – Included below is a brief memo regarding ambiguity in Virginia’s laws and the Handbook for Virginia Notaries Public, which X has inquired about. The relevant statutes are described in greater detail below, but after reviewing the Code and the Handbook, I believe that X is legally allowed but not required to notarize a document for an individual using an out of date driver’s license with an incorrect address. Importantly, if she is not 100% satisfied that she knows the individual’s identity after studying the driver’s license she cannot and should not notarize any document for that individual.

Nicholas Vastis

28 Sep 2015

This requirement is silly. A person's identity does not change just because he didn't renew his driver's license. An ID that demonstrates a person's still serves the same purpose the day after expiration. More proof that the rules that govern us are propagated by people with no common sense.

betty

28 Sep 2015

It isn't that I cannot accept an expired State ID in the state of Illinois, because I can. It is the lenders who won't accept them. I ask for email addresses when I contact borrowers and I have a standard email listing all of the common acceptable ID's that I have copied and pasted from various ID documents, including Patriot Act forms, which often list most of them. The last time I asked to see a Driver's license and it was expired, that borrower had her current Passport available for identification.

Robert Petty

11 Oct 2015

Nicholas I absolutely agree. A persons identity does not change just because they did not renew their drivers license. Especially if it is a picture ID. l

John Axt

19 Oct 2015

It is very difficult in the state of Florida to find a circumstance under which an ID was issued five years prior to the date of expiration. Most drivers licenses are issued for nine years in Florida. Passports are issued for 10 year periods. The only circumstance that I've ever found was an immigrant who had received a drivers license which was good for only two years. I used that ID because it was within the five your time limit. I also have concerns about lenders who demand that the ID be valid. The people who hire us should have no control on the execution of our duties as prescribed by law.

Pamela Minor

15 Aug 2016

I am beginning to see temporary driver's licences printed on an 8.5 x 11" paper with all the correct information and a black and white photo. The signer said she moved from Michigan and just applied for a Texas license and was required to surrender her Michigan card. Is that paper with the photo with all the correct information, signature and ink seal sufficient? How does one tell if that is fake?

National Notary Association

18 Aug 2016

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

Monica Young

29 Aug 2016

In the State of Texas: can I accept an expired ID (driver's license) in the case of a loan? the person's license was expired but a health issue (MS) keeps them from driving.

National Notary Association

30 Aug 2016

Hello. No, Texas law requires an identification document used by a signer to be current. (CPRC 121.005[a])

Cynthia Hemon

24 Sep 2016

Hello, I having the same problem getting my passport application notarize due to an expired ID. I really need help any suggestions on what to do?

National Notary Association

26 Sep 2016

Hello Cynthia. Depending on what state you are in, you may be able to use one or two credible identifying witnesses to vouch for your identity as an alternative ot using your expired ID. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2011/10/hotline-tip-credible-identifying-witness

Notary Narayan

03 Oct 2016

I had a situation where I had to notarize some structured settlement. The Signor claimed that during his arrest by tye police, they lost the ID and that he had not made efforts to obtain a replacement. May be just due to the lack of interest or lack of money or lack of transport to the Motor Vehicle department. However he had an expired ID, and was also able to produce a Social Security Card with his number/ name. So using the combination of both, I personally accepted the identifications presented and also corroborated by the lender about his arrest and who said they will accept that. In another case, I was called to a hospice/nursing home/terminal care center to notarize a POA for a man who did not have a valid ID. He was a retired state govt worker and was alcholic and homeless for a while before arriving at this place. How do you expect his to walk to DMV, stand in line and have ID renewed when a man was barely himself and now immobile? Since this was a POA and daughter was trying to get this in her name. A few questions let me know that currently his pension is controlled by his brother, who also has possession of his expired ID. This appeared to me as a situation in which perhaps the daughter ( who might be or not be estranged from her dad) is trying to take control of his bank/pension account ( perhaps with or without the knowledge of the signers brother).. I could smell a court battle a mile away and politely declined to notarize saying that I need a VALID ID. I still got paid for making that trip. She later got a different notary to do that job. More reason why notaries must unite to lobby their states to have identification laws made more relevant to the society. Perhaps mobile DMV clerks can create identification for people who cannot go elsewhere, or perhaps NOTARIES can create ID using the same Point system DMV uses to serve such people and create another revenue stream. While incarceration / police arrest sometimes results in ID being seized, and the signor is unable to show a valid current ID as it was seized by police, Similar to the south states where voter ID laws are making is difficult for minority and other neglected or less informed members of this society to obtain ID for normal transaction. These need to reform. Is biometrics the answer? An ID is a ID and Should be an Identification .that should never expire except when appearance drastically changes, but perhaps the privileges associated with that Identification document only expires, not the entire identity of that person. Certain immutable facts such as name, dob, should NOT expire just because ID document that bestows certain privileges expire.

Alden Martin

03 Oct 2016

FL. says 5 yrs. I interoperate that to be 5yrs. from expiration. If this signer was this signer 5 yrs. a go?...Once again dependent on circumstance ? Has the signer been in a nursing home for 5 yrs? (if so that fact would verify)...If "John Doe" walks in off the street?...5 yrs. from issue & would ask to see back-up ID

National Notary Association

05 Oct 2016

No, your statement is incorrect. Florida law specifies that identification presented for a notarization must be current or issued within the past 5 years (FS 117.05). You may not accept an ID five years after it expires in Florida.

Cecilia

13 Oct 2016

Mary Book's comment makes total sense. If you cannot identify the person in front of you with the picture of the ID, and additionally the address is different, you have no certainty of the identity of that person.

Dan

22 Oct 2016

I completely agree with Nicholas on the insanity of the requirement that a government issued photo ID be current to serve as a valid form of identification. Unless the presented ID appears in some way to be fake (who would fake an expired ID?) or for some reason a significant change in appearance from the photo ID presented; ie: significant age difference or physical alteration in appearance either intentional or accidental, there is only logical reason where it would not be valid...money. Requiring an government issued ID to be current, non-expired only has one real reason, it is an income stream for the state. the same is true for requiring current photo ID for a 60-yr old to purchase beer or wine at a store...it is about the revenue stream for the states and of course to further the indoctrination of control.

Angie

08 Nov 2016

If I was served papers after the notartys commission has expired, is it still legitament?

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2016

Hi Angie. We're sorry, but we can't answer legal questions regarding whether a document is valid or not. You may wish to contact an attorney to review the documents in question and give you an opinion.

Becky

17 Jan 2017

Texas: I have misplaced my TDL but have the Change of address Expired but with current DL, does it qualify as able to is for Notarizing a Warranty Deed?

National Notary Association

17 Jan 2017

Hello. We're sorry but can you please clarify the situation a bit further? Are you asking if you can present a change of address form to a Notary as ID in order to have your signature notarized? Or are you a Notary and asking if you may perform your duties while waiting to update your commission address? If it is the former, a change of address form is not an acceptable form of signer ID for a notarization in Texas.

Jessica

15 Jun 2017

My Aunt just moved back to Oregon and while she was living in Indiana, he ID expired. To get her birth certificate from California so that she can get her ID renewed, they need a notarized copy of her ID...but it's expired. So what do we do?

National Notary Association

16 Jun 2017

Hello. You would need to contact the CA agency to ask them what alternative they will accept.

Will

14 Jul 2017

Hi, my wife just got an interim license until her actual license is mailed to her in two weeks. Would she be able to use the interim license to get a paper notarized. She still has her expired license and her new interim license.

National Notary Association

18 Jul 2017

Hello. It depends on the rules of your state regarding IDs. What state are you located in? Also, what information appears on the temporary license-for example,does it include her photo, description or signature?

Mark

18 Jul 2017

CALIFORNIA...Deciding to no longer drive and will apply for Senior State ID card and forego renewing driver's license which will expire soon. Between the time the original license expires and before State ID arrives in mail, can the following satisfy ID requirement for notary: combination of the expired driver's license + DMV receipt proving that application for the State ID was submitted?. Thanks for any help.

National Notary Association

18 Jul 2017

Hello. No, a DMV receipt is not acceptable proof of identification for a notarization under CA law.

MsSanDiegoNotary

18 Sep 2017

I am always baffled that some states allow expired ID's. I am a California Notary and am glad that we do not accept them. Some people say that peoples appearances don't change I disagree, I have had some people who are currently going through hormonal changes (trans) and do not look like they did in their expired ID's.

Teresa

18 Sep 2017

I agree with others that the requirement for a current drivers license as proof of identity is not only insane but completely out of date. Many people in big cities don't own vehicles. Other people stop driving for a variety of reasons and they don't renew driver's licenses when they don't drive or no longer own a vehicle. The rules need to be updated for the 21st century.

arnold baskin

18 Sep 2017

What can be done or should be done to a person using another persons New York (attorneys)notary seal for his own purposes or using it as his own to notarize documents.

National Notary Association

19 Sep 2017

Hello. If you suspect someone is misusing another individual's Notary seal, you may wish to contact local law enforcement. If an attorney is involved, you may also wish to contact the state bar association to see if you can file a report.

jbaird@bex.net

19 Sep 2017

I have not found in the Ohio code if an expired ID can be accepted. Also looking for rules about credible identifying witness. Can you guide me to where in the Ohio code I can find this information?

National Notary Association

19 Sep 2017

Hello. Ohio does not address the issue of whether an expired ID is acceptable or not in their statutes.

steve

22 Sep 2017

I don't see anything on this subject about Nv. Can you help me on this? Thanks

National Notary Association

22 Sep 2017

From the Nevada Secretary of State's website: “Can I use an expired photo ID if the signature and photo match the person before me? — The statute doesn’t address expired IDs. You, the notary, have to make the determination of whether the ID presented is satisfactory or not” (website, “FAQs”).

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