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How Do I Notarize A Document With No Signature Or Certificate?

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My boss was emailed a document requiring a notarization.  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. If your boss is not the signer, you could not notarize the document. Every document you notarize must contain a signature and the signer needs to be physically present at the time of notarization to sign it in front of you. A Notary cannot just stamp and sign a document without a notarial certificate, though many people mistakenly ask them to do so.

If your boss is the signer, you may notarize the document after your boss appears in your presence to sign it. Additionally, 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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Joan A. Baffa

22 Dec 2015

It's general practice in NYS not to notarize a document unless the venue and jurat are already included and, of course, the signer must be in your presence to sign.

Wanda Moore

12 Jan 2016

In the State of Maryland "Official Witness" is the legal, authorized notarial act for documents that do not contain "notarial wording." These are the steps to complete notarization as an "Official Witness": NOTARY AS OFFICIAL WITNESS 26. How does a notary public act as an official witness? If a document presented for notarization does not contain a notarial certificate reflecting the taking of an oath or acknowledgment, a notary may witness the signing of the document in the notary's official capacity as follows: a. Obtain satisfactory proof of the identity of the person signing the document; b. Observe the signing of the document; c. Date, sign and apply the notary's seal or stamp to the document; d. Indicate the date on which the notary's commission expires; and e. Record the notarization in the notary's register of official acts.

Dawnita Fine

27 Jan 2021

Am I legally allowed to notarize a document that does not contain a notarial certificate, using just my notary stamp, then entering the information in my notary ledger.

National Notary Association

29 Jan 2021

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please clarify what type of notarization you're being asked to perform, and what state you are commissioned in, please?

beth davis

23 Jun 2022

Am I allowed to notarize a diploma and transcripts from my brother's college for his job in another country? I would not be notarizing a signature. Thanks

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2022

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


10 Oct 2022

My sister had her birth certificate translated and they told her she needs it notarized but there is no where for her to sign it. Can I attach something to it? I am in California. Thank you.

National Notary Association

14 Oct 2022

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.


25 Jan 2023

I accompanied my sister a couple of months ago to the title company so she can sign the documents for the purchase of her new home and the representative/notary public for the title company had already pre-notarized and stamped all the documents before we had arrived. She then had my sister sign each of documents which were already pre-notarized. We are in New Mexico. Was this done incorrectly on behalf of the notary?

National Notary Association

26 Jan 2023

Hello. In New Mexico, Notaries may not complete and stamp a notarial certificate before a notarization takes place. NMSA 14-14A-14.A states: "The certificate shall: (1) be executed contemporaneously with the performance of the notarial act"

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