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Can I Notarize An Unfamiliar Document?

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I have an employee who is requesting I notarize her signature on a document to replace a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)”.  As I have never seen this type of form before, can I notarize it?R.W. California

Yes. You are not responsible for the content of the document, only for completing the requested notarization. The signer would tell you whether they need an acknowledgment or jurat. If the signer is unaware of what type of notarization they require, they would need to consult with the agency that requested the notarized letter, as we are not allowed to advise or choose the notarial act for them.

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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Jerry Lucas

11 Oct 2016

The instructions for completing this type of notarized request are found at

Kay Douglas

29 Nov 2023

Thank you for providing this answer. Jerry Lucas I needed your information as well thanks. I was requested today to notarize this same form and I came straight here for answers.

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