Your Cookies are Disabled! sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

Can I Accept A Prison ID?

NNA Hotline Tip logo

I have been contracted to perform a notarization at a California State Prison. The signer is telling me I can accept his prison ID as proof of his identity. Is this correct?A.S., California

Yes. Civil Code Section 1185(b)(3) allows a Notary to use an inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as long as the inmate is in custody in a CDCR prison.

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, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.


Add your comment

Cheryl Kaster

22 Feb 2016

In Hawaii, the I.D. we must rely upon (if not personal knowledge or the Credible Witness requirement of chain-of-custody from notary to Credible Witness, to signer) must be government issued, which the Prison I.D. could be considered, with a picture, which it has, and a signature, which the Hawaii prisoner does not have. So at this time, unless we are able to secure a valid form of I.D. from the inmates family or friends, we cannot legally notarize for an inmate. Unfortunately, many notaries either don't know that law or choose to disregard to obey it, often not realizing that doing so is at the risk of losing their commission, not to mention other potential civil or criminal liability for violation HRS 566-C/20. I see the risk of notarization for inmates is that sometimes when they are arrested they may not have any identification on them and the name that winds up on their prison I.D. may be an alias or else their true name but they have no way of proving that so even if the I.D. had a signature it could still be a risky means of identification.

Crystal Sanford-Brown

22 Feb 2016

Excellent observations


01 Mar 2016

Thanks for the informative info, very much appreciated. I have been a Notary 17 years and had a store front for 8 years before I lost it due to my rent going sky high. I am always interested in ways of earning extra income and would love to be contacted by email with that information.

National Notary Association

01 Mar 2016

Hi Dalston. This story has some extra income suggestions: You can check out additional articles in our "Alternate Income Opportunities" section of the Bulletin:

Marcy Collins

28 Jun 2017

So if I just recently got out of prison, I'm in Columbus Ohio, and I don't have a state I'd yet could I use my prison I'd to get something notarized? Thanks

National Notary Association

29 Jun 2017

Hello. The Ohio state Handbook for Notaries Public says that signers should be identified "by examination of a driver’s license or other identification card (preferably one with a picture)." You may wish to contact the Notary in advance to ask if the Notary will accept your prison ID as proof of identity.

evan B

03 Dec 2018

I was wondering if I have a prison ID would I still have to pay for my ID even tho I have a prison id cause someone told me I can get a new id with my prison id for free in ohio

National Notary Association

03 Dec 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but that's not a question related to Notaries or notarization that we can answer. You should probably contact the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles if you have questions how to obtain an ID card.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.