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Can I Notarize A Business Document With No Signature?

New Hotline Resized 3

​​My boss was emailed a document entitled, “Company in Good Standing”.  However, when I opened the PDF, I noticed that there was no signature and no certificate wording.  How would I notarize this document?D.F., San Francisco, California

It depends. Every document you notarize must contain a signature and the signer must be physically present to sign it in front of you. If your boss is the signer, you may notarize the document after your boss appears in your presence to sign it. Then you’ll need to attach an acknowledgment or jurat certificate form — a Notary cannot just stamp and sign a document without a notarial certificate, though many people mistakenly ask them to do so. Your boss will need to tell you whether to attach and complete an acknowledgment or jurat form, or you’ll need to find out which one to complete by asking an attorney at your company or someone from the agency that emailed you the document.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST


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02 Nov 2015

"Company in Good Standing" sounds like a document created by the Secretary of State's office stating that an entity has authority from them to transact business in that state. The entity that has the stated authority might be from the same state, more likely a different (foreign but still US) state. The Secretary of State that issued the document would not put a place for a notary on such a document unless it was notarized by his own office. If any notarization needed to be done, it might be a copy certification, but that would be problematic if received by email.

02 Nov 2015

I was given a business document and was asked to notarize a certified copy of the document. There was no signature on the document. I was asked to notarize it as a certificed copy. Is that allowed? Who signs the notary book?

National Notary Association

04 Nov 2015

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

02 Nov 2015

Caution! A document titled Company in Good Standing sounds like a Certificate of Good Standing issued by the Secretary of State (SOS) where the company is located and registered. The SOS issues the certificate. In Colorado, a notary may make a certified copy of an original document. But we cannot make a certified copy of a copy, because of the risk of document tampering and fraud. If someone is asking for a certified copy of a Certificate of Good Standing for a Colorado company, they can get one online at the Colorado SOS website. A document will be printed and a certificate will be attached, including a certificate date, confirmation number, document name and page count. The certificate should be stapled to the document for security. For California, the procedure for obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing from the SOS is at There is a $5 fee.

Diane Peters

08 Dec 2015

In Texas you don't notarize any document if the signer is not present to present proper Id and their signature.

S. Juniper

09 Nov 2016

A signature is notarized, not the document signed. The validity of the notary and, hence, notarization, can be done by having the notarization apostilled. Procedures vary by state and country. For example:

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