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What Would You Do: The Case Of The Covered-Up Face

What Would You Do: The Case Of The Covered-Up Face

The Notary Hotline receives hundreds of calls daily from Notaries nationwide who find themselves in challenging situations. To boost your knowledge of Notary standards of practice, we’ve created a series of scenarios based on actual situations and ask a simple question: What would you do?

In this scenario, a man and woman come to you needing the woman’s signature notarized. The woman is wearing a head covering that prevents you from seeing her face. But she presents you with a state-issued driver’s license that shows a photo without the head covering.

You politely ask if she would show you her face, but she explains that it is against her religious beliefs.

What Would You Do?
 

Members of the NNA community frequently share accounts of encountering challenging, dubious or bizarre situations, and it is not always clear how they should respond.

This scenario presents a challenge because, as a Notary, you are expected to render your services impartially, and you want to be respectful of each signer’s personal beliefs. At the same time, you have a duty to verify the signer’s identity. So how do you verify this woman’s identity while respecting her beliefs?

To participate in this week’s “What Would You Do?” scenario, share your answers in the comments section below. We may mention your response in next week’s Bulletin, when we offer the best possible answer(s) to this notarial challenge.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

 

 

159 Comments

Add your comment

tharris158@live.com

12 May 2017

If the person has a state issued driver's license that shows a photo without the head covering, then I would politely ask her to show me her face. If she can remove it for the photo, she can remove for the verification. I must be certain 100% that I am notarizing the correct Persons signature.

Damica

12 May 2017

I would politely ask her if she would remove it so I could verify her Identity and ask if she needs special accommodations in order to remove her head piece. If she still refuses I'd ask for an alternate form of Identification and explain to her the reason why I am hesitant to accept to just one ID.

Brian Gilliland

15 May 2017

I would ask to verify her identity by seeing her face, if she refuses ask for a second piece of ID and fingerprint.

Robin Kidd

15 May 2017

I would ask the gentleman to leave the room and ask the woman if she would show her face without a male present. If she said "no", I would politely explain to her that I am not able to notarize her signature if I can't match her face to the face on the state issued license.

Najah Tamargo

15 May 2017

Being mindful and respectful of religous beliefs is paramount. But my license, and doing things by the book, would negate that. I needed I would offer to take her into a seperate room to reveal her face, or any other accommodation that she would require. If she still refused I would have to politely explain the rules and why I would not be able to complete a notarial act without being able to properly identify her.

Sandra

15 May 2017

Notaries are suppose to witness the signature of the client. My only question is what was the situation when she had her face uncovered for the photo driver's license. Her response may be that she was not practicing the religion at that time. I would ask for a second identification and compare the signatures on both. Plus I would request an affidavit from a witness verifying the client's identity. (The witness would have to appear in person with the client).

michael d baker

15 May 2017

I would ask if she would remove the head ware if that is unacceptable i would then suggest that she come in with to credible witness that have proper id and we would be able to complete the notary if that is not acceptable i would suggest she find someone that is more willing to not follow the guidelines set by the state of california

Eugene J. Sullivan

15 May 2017

If a signer is unwilling to uncover for positive identification for any reason, after an explanation has been provided as to the legal necessity, I would refuse the notarization and log the information in the Notary Journal. Respect for one's culture is admirable but, enforcing the law is our priority.

David Gordon

15 May 2017

Since the signer needs to be identified either on the basis of personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, neither of which seems possible in this case, the notarization would have to be refused. In my state, identifying witnesses could be used for the identification, but they would need to be personally known to the notary, which seems unlikely in this case. The suggestion could also be made for the signer to seek out a notary or authority before whom it would be permissible to remove her face covering. Under the situation as described, however, the notarization would have to be refused. A notation as to the circumstances should also be made in the journal.

Phil Hughes

15 May 2017

I would first ask if she could uncover her face and explain that I must identify her by comparing her to the photo on her ID. If she needs special accommodation, I would provide it if possible. If she will not remove her face covering, I would suggest that she return with two credible witnesses that have valid IDs and can verify her identity under oath. I would remind her that the two witnesses must not have their face covered either in their ID photo or when they appear before me and must swear under oath to her identity.

Betty Lu Mitchell

15 May 2017

i would politely ask her to remove her head dress and if she needs privacy to show me her face I could possible take her aside for her to show me. But as THarris stated she removed it for her license then she should remove it for a legal document also.

Ellen McKay

15 May 2017

I would ask her to remove the garment momentarily, as I also work for the state and need to identify her as being the same woman in the photo.

Brent Gill

15 May 2017

I'd politely ask her if her beliefs have changed since the time of the picture. If not, then does she need any special privacy accommodations to reveal her face. Size, approximate weight, height, are all part of the ID as well. Make note of all you do and learn in your journal, and be sure to get a thumbprint. Eye color, eyebrow color, though neither definitive, are all clues to what is on the ID.

Virginia W.

15 May 2017

I would agree with tharris158. I would say that if she could remove her face covering for the transportation department in order to be given a driver's license, then she can also remove it briefly so that the notary can positively identify her by comparing her unveiled face to the picture on the driver's license.

vivian garcia

15 May 2017

Ask her to bring two witnesses of 18 yrs of age or older with valid ID (and no face covering) to verify she is who she claims she is.

Connie

15 May 2017

If after asking her politely to remove her head pice in order to make a proper identification. And she refuses to remove it, i would have to decline the notification on grounds that I can't properly identify her.

J.D. Walker

15 May 2017

I would politely ask her to accompany me to a private area and remove the facial covering so I could compare it with the ID, then have her replace her covering and we can return to the area where we're doing the notarization... Having said that, the signer may be reluctant to do so for me, since she's female and I'm male, so I'd refer her to a female notary in that case. The need to identify a signer must be satisfied. If she can't show me her face to compare with the ID, then I can't do the notarization.

ET

15 May 2017

If she absolutely refused to remove the face covering, I would explain to her that it would be impossible for me to perform the notarization.

Jolene Forzetting

15 May 2017

If she refused to show me her face, then I would use two credible witnesses to verify her identity. As long as I was able to see their faces and verify their identity.

Ima

15 May 2017

I would also ask for alternate ID and require a thumbprint for verification.

David Nixon

15 May 2017

I also agree with the comment that if she took off the covering for the photo ID, she should also be required to remove it for the purpose of identification with a notary. I would ask her Husband to direct her to remove the cover for a minute. This would be in line with her beliefs of total submission to her husband. Also a thumb print would conclude the ID process in my ledger book.

Sharon Kirby

15 May 2017

I believe that a woman can uncover her face for a female (no male present except for husband or father). If I am correct, you could provide a private venue to allow a female to satisfactorily ID the woman who could then recover her face and proceed with the notarization.

Ana

15 May 2017

I would be polite in letting her know that I must verify who she is even with her presenting an id and if there is a disagreement I would tell her this is a lawful request. Nothing more.

Pat

15 May 2017

I would ask her what conditions were met to allow the license photo and then try to create those conditions for her so that she could uncover her face to me and then verify her identity.

jbruce@afbinternational.com

15 May 2017

I would ask politely that she reveal her face just as she did when her photo ID was taken so I could by law identify who I was doing the notarization for and explain that I have a legal duty to uphold on my part as a notary.

Stuart

15 May 2017

How about using the man as a credible witness?

Nancy

15 May 2017

If presented with this situation I would politely explain that I am required to verify her identity and ask her to remove the covering in utmost privacy so I can confirm that she is the person in the photo id while maintaining respect for her religious beliefs. If she still refused I would explain that I am unable to notarize the document.

Mark

15 May 2017

Perhaps the client may obtain witnesses (2 required in my State) who will attest that they know her personally and who will attest under oath to that fact. Sign and notarize the witness document and attach to the original.

sydneyrh@airmail.net

15 May 2017

I would suggest the Signers find a Muslim Notary to complete the notarization. It would be a good idea for the notary to have a list of Muslim notaries on hand. I would not jeopardize my notary commission by not properly identifying the signer. This would be the same as notarizing an oath for someone wearing a Klu Klux Clan hood.

Maria

15 May 2017

I would have to ask for the head covering to be removed, if a private space is needed one would be required and ensure a female would verify her identity. The drivers license shows the person without the head covering so she has removed it in the past. If it was not removed, I would have to decline.

Jackie

15 May 2017

I understand that she might be hesitant or refuse if faced with a Male notary, however another option would be if there is a Female notary in the office, then the client might be more accommodating dealing with another woman.

Raymond

15 May 2017

If customer refuses to show face then I would try to verify the information on the ID card, physical description. I should be able to see the eyes, height can be rendered according to mine, weight might present an issue, and signature should match!

Raj Bahadur

15 May 2017

I would have the individual produce two other identifications showing her signature and make her sign on a sheet of paper three times to ascertain that the signatures match.

Robin

15 May 2017

I would explain to her that in order to protect her and myself,I need to be certain that it is really her. I would also explain if she could remove the head covering for the photo I would also need her to remove it for me.

Kelly Jean Bennett

15 May 2017

I would have her get 2 credible witnesses that can verify that she is who she claims she is if I am unable to verify her identity by her ID alone

Helen Dugan

15 May 2017

I would explain that it is a state law , it helps fight fraud, it is for their protection and that they removed it for the DMV for similar reasons.

Donna

15 May 2017

Well, I am a woman, I know that women can show other women their faces (from a conversation with a Muslim). I would explain that I need to match her face with that on the ID. She can do so in private or with her husband present, but I cannot notarize a document that states I have identified her if I have not.

Ken

15 May 2017

Show me your face or go find another notary.

James

15 May 2017

If her religious beliefs allowed her to reveal her face for the Driver's License photo she can reveal her face to me. If I cannot match her face to her ID I cannot verify her identity and I will not notarize her signature. She can find a bleeding heart who is willing to take the risk and notarize her signature.

James

15 May 2017

If her religious beliefs allowed her to reveal her face for the Driver's License photo she can reveal her face to me. If I cannot match her face to her ID I cannot verify her identity and I will not notarize her signature. She can find a bleeding heart who is willing to take the risk and notarize her signature.

Kianoush

15 May 2017

First, I explain how it is important to verify the signer with her ID. If she refuses to keep her face covered I would offer a female notary public.

Patricia

15 May 2017

I would politely ask her to remove her covering in private having a witness present with whom she feels comfortable. Explaining that I am required to be able to verify her identity or I could risk losing my notary certification. If she won't do this, then I would have to refuse doing the notarization.

Linda Sager Kazalski

15 May 2017

I'm a woman, so it is a non-issue. She can, even if very conservative, reveal her face to me. As it happens, I work in partnership with my husband, so he could notarize the husband and I the wife. I would suggest that a male notary confronted with the situation ask if he can bring in a female notary.

Sherea

15 May 2017

I would assure her that I understand and respect her religious beliefs. I would ask her to respect t my position as a notary to protect her, so if she is unwilling to remove the garment, I would suggest maybe (if appropriate, to find a mobile notary with the same belief that maybe willing to come to her home and notarize the document, or I would need her to bring two witnesses that know her with their ID’s , so I could notarize her document

NAOMI

15 May 2017

I would explain, that If her face is uncovered for the license it would have to be uncovered for the notarization. I could accommodate her by asking her to show me privately in a separate room, or else explain I am unable to verify her identification and cannot sign.

David Towers

15 May 2017

In Arizona, drivers' licenses are issued to age 65 with same photo. I often see 10 to 15 year old photos that look nothing like the signer. Depending upon the circumstances of documents, I would politely ask to see her face. Upon refusal, I would ask her to swear or affirm that she is the person in the photo and then move on with the notarization.

Matt

15 May 2017

A brief removal of a face veil is not an unreasonable request in order to verify a signer's identity and perform a notarial act. If the signer refuses, they can take a photo of themselves facing away from you (but in your presence) and then you can make sure that photo matches the ID.

Abby Derby

15 May 2017

If the woman will not remove her covering for me in public, I would ask her if we could go a private space so she could remove the cover in front of me as I am a woman. If the person was the opposite sex, I would have a co-worker I trust go in to a private space with the signer. I think between seeing half of the signer's face and a verification from a co-worker, I would be comfortable performing the notarization, given there are no other red flags.

Mandy

15 May 2017

I agree with tharris158@live.com. My office is attached to a DMV office so I know that the photos can be taken with the religious coverings if they apply for religious exemption. The fact that the covering is off in the photo but she refuses to remove it now would concern me. If she still refuses then I would ask for more Documentation.

Marcie Miller

15 May 2017

I would NOT notarize until I was able to compare her ID and signature! Unless told another way by the state of California.

George Furtsch

15 May 2017

I would politely ask the signer to remove the face covering so I could verify identification. If they decline because of religion I would ask for their identification and verify that the picture contains a face covering as well. If the picture shows no face covering then I would request two credible witnesses in my state of California, if I can verify the identification of the credible witnesses then I may proceed with the notarization.

LUIS E VARGAS

15 May 2017

LIKE ALL THE OPINIONS I WILL ASK POLITE TO SHOW ME HER FACE, SHE DID IT BEFORE WHEN SHE GET THE LICENCE, THAT MEAN SHE CAN UNCOVER HER FACE, OR I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DO THE NOTARY, OR I MAY ASK FOR A SECOND ID , PASSPORT OR SOMETHING

Barbara Wrozicki

15 May 2017

In general, females of modest cultures are willing to show their faces to other women when the situation requires i.e. Identification for legal reasons. Organizations are tasked with notifying their customers of how identity verification works, I can reiterate that once I arrive but it is and should ultimately be the decision of the signer as to what is allowable from a cultural or religious perspective. I can advise but I do not demand. I believe businesses need to accommodate the customers they market to and profit from ( I work primarily in high value real estate signings in a community that is majority middle eastern)

Marina

15 May 2017

While in Turkey I was in the restroom with 5 women wearing full hijab.They all had them off and were doing their makeup. As a female notary, I would ask her to remove her hijab in private to verify. If I were a male notary, I would refer her to a female notary.

Erica

15 May 2017

I would ask her to please remove her head peace as it is required that I personally identify her if she cannot or is not willing to remove it no matter what accommodations I give her then I would explain to her that I can not complete the notary unless she can provide two personal witnesses whose identity I can identify and if she can't then I would apologize and tell her per state law I can not complete this notarization.

Kenneth Smith

15 May 2017

Based on the identification photo, I would make a determination as complete removal of the veil may not be necessary. Also, in these situations consideration of the male has to be taken into consideration as he could be offended. I realize my respond is not complete, but this is a cultural situation that can take away from the true purpose if not approach correctly.

Erica

15 May 2017

I would ask her to please remove her head peace as it is required that I personally identify her if she cannot or is not willing to remove it no matter what accommodations I give her then I would explain to her that I can not complete the notary unless she can provide two personal witnesses whose identity I can identify and if she can't then I would apologize and tell her per state law I can not complete this notarization.

Debbie Morikawa

15 May 2017

After I have her swear under oath that she is the person on her driver's license (CA Jurat with Affiant Statement), I would ask her to have 2 credible witnesses to verify that she is the person on the driver's license (Acknowledgment)

Patricia Wynn

15 May 2017

I agree; if she can remove for a driver's license photograph, then she can remove to verify her identification.

Ray C. EierRating

15 May 2017

If she removed the scarf for the license bureau, she can remove it for me. Period. End of story.

Shana Talieje

15 May 2017

Since there are 2 individuals in this scenario, I would inquire about the accompanying individual's relationship to the signer. If all is well, I would ask if he was willing to be a credible witness for the signer. Otherwise, my next step would be to politely inquire about her religious beliefs and how we can cope with them so I can respectfully acquire the information needed to complete my notarial act.

Noor Baqizada

15 May 2017

If the state's law allow an exemption for head covering in obtaining a driver license, then the same law will apply to the notaries of that State as well, if the said State doesnt exempt/permit the individuals to cover up for state IDs then notaries have to follow that same law. Dont forget, Notaries are representing thier states thus common laws should be followed .

Karen Gardiner

15 May 2017

If she refuses to allow me to see her face in order to compare with her ID, even offering a private office with just the two of us present, I would have to politely refuse her request. Other option would be two relievable witnesses that I know personally, who would verify her ID and that she is one and the same person requesting notarization. Would keep witness signatures attesting to her ID on file.

Brett

15 May 2017

I would inform the woman that if she agreed to her state-issued driver's license photograph without a head covering then her notarization follows the same rules. If she replied that the state-issued driver's license was taken before her religious affirmation then I would ask how she intends to receive another driver's license in a few years if she refuses to remove her head covering. In any case, I would describe the situation to the woman as necessary to protect HER identity and was not a way to disregard her religious beliefs.

Rhonda C.

15 May 2017

I agree with Robin Kidd's answer.

Sharon

15 May 2017

With driver license in hand to compare I would be polite but ask if viewing her face uncovered in private would be an option and if not I could not perform my notary duties at that time without seeing her face.

fidelity_medical_billing@yahoo.com

15 May 2017

I would ask her to remove her covering for only a minute that according to the law I have to verify the patients face with other identity. I must identify the person and name and signature is what and who they say the are.

Sue

15 May 2017

I would ask the women to politely remove her face mask to identify her face for verification. If women refuses then would explain not able to complete this transaction.

maggiewilliams27@yahoo.com

15 May 2017

If she refused after i tried to accommodate her i would ask if she had two witnesses to verify who she is and make sure they both had i.d and i would definitely finger print her

Charlene Patterson

15 May 2017

There are always exceptions to rules. If it's someone's religious beliefs, you have no business asking them to remove anything. Either you accept the job or you don't. What you do is get several forms of identity, possibly, more than the usual 2, compare signatures and keep it moving. You, as a professional are aware of the typical culture/custom. Please do no offend!!!

Jane Gabbert

15 May 2017

If she can uncover her face for the drivers license then she must uncover for the notarization. If she is unwilling then the notarization will not take place, at least by me.

Monica Sanchez

15 May 2017

I would remind her that as she had to remove the headgear for the DMV, I too require her to remove the head gear to be able to positively ID her and process her signature legally. If she still states that she cannot, then I would politely refuse to proceed reminding her that in such circumstance I can not due my job correctly or legally.

Robin R. Wedding

15 May 2017

The woman was issued a driver's license and had to remove her covering for that, so the same would apply for identifying the person by their driver's license. You would have to respectfully decline to notarize her document if she refuses to remove her covering for you, as she did when taking the picture for her driver's license. If the person doesn't have anything to hide, they would have no issue with doing so. If they do have an issue, then you wouldn't want to risk notarizing the document anyway, as it would likely be fraud.

Charles pratt

15 May 2017

Since the woman's husband is oresent, I would ask if he had objection to taking a photo of her with my camera. Being that she has already done so for the State ID card and I am a representative of the State where the notarizatio is being conducted. Of course I would observe the process by having her back to me and her face toward her husband. I can them compare her photo ID to the live photo for positive identification.

Arna G. Smith

15 May 2017

If the person has a state issued driver's license that shows a photo without the head covering, then I would politely ask her to show me her face. If she refuses, then I would not notarize her signature. I take my duties as a notary very seriously. ags

traceywaters247@gmail.com

15 May 2017

I would politely explain my duty as a notary, find a place where she would be able to show me her face in private, and continue with the process.

Lorrie Vilches

15 May 2017

Politely ask her to remove her face covering, if response is no, I would offer her to go to a secluded area to remove her vale or ask her to have two witnesses with her that have photo identification that is over the age of 18, to sign as witnesses that she is actually the person on the photo identification that she is presenting.

Patricia A. Brooks

15 May 2017

If you can show your face to get an ID. You can show your face to be ID. Now if we're in a public place then we can step into a private room so I can I D the person.

Tammy Jernigan

15 May 2017

I would ask her to present two credible witnesses to attest to her identity, and as long as they have photo ID, I would enter all the information about her as I could in my journal and have her fingerprint the page.

Debra Justin

15 May 2017

Respectful of any and all religious beliefs, yet fulfilling my obligations to uphold the state law as a Notary, I would ask if she would allow my verification in a secure private area. Noting, since she already has a State I.D. and/or license, I too must have the ability to confirm her identification in order to notarize her document(s). On behalf of my male counterparts as a Notary, my suggestion would be to ask the signer to turn away from you in a corner and take a cellphone photo of herself for you to view (the cellphone photo would be deleted in her presence after verification). Notarization would be declined if an agreement could not be reached in accordance with the state law otherwise.

Matt

15 May 2017

I would insist that I need to match a face to her ID or simply end the signing.

Adina Calnan

15 May 2017

I would ask her if she would be willing to remove her face covering in privacy (being a woman she might be willing to it). Otherwise, I would ask she bring two witnesses and I would verify their identify.

Luis F

15 May 2017

I'm in California but i'd follow Illinois law. Based on religion and the Islamic injunction, too dress modestly, women have the choice of wearing a "hijab" that covers her hair & face, or , just a veil to cover her hair. So I'd ask her to keep the hair covered and just show the face. That's not considered breaking Muslim tradition. Alternatively, I'd ask her how does purr will do when she goes to a dentist or throat surgery? Or even how does she do to the immigration & Border & Customs officers when she enters the US? Or how did she do to enter a bank with a covered face? A man in a sky mask would be kicked out on the spot! In fact, some judjes don't allow it either. So if she'd try to sue you the case wouldn't probably would have any merit. If if she replys the government personnel can see it, than you can see it too because you work for your State! Just be creative and you'll find a legal way do handle this situation!

Regina

15 May 2017

Based on the picture, you can tell the color of the hair and the color of the eyes which is probably the most identifying marks that you would match to a driver's license. Although hair color can be changed, the eyes cannot so I don't feel it would be necessary to have her remove her covering.

Alicia Wright-Ellis

15 May 2017

I would inform her that it is necessary to be sure that she was the person on the driver's license. If it is not possible due to religious reasons, then I would ask her to provide two credible witnesses, who she could use to verify her identity.

Kelli

15 May 2017

If this person has a state issued license AND it show her entire face, she needs to show the respect to the person notarizing HER papers.

Alicia Wright-Ellis

15 May 2017

I would inform her that it is necessary to be sure that she was the person on the driver's license. If it is not possible due to religious reasons, then I would ask her to provide two credible witnesses, who she could use to verify her identity.

oflorez

15 May 2017

I would ask her (woman to woman) to go into a private area to take her covering off- if religion is her objection. I've heard this religion of covering the females face is for the public's sake- in all female gatherings they take off the veils.

alicia@bisswva.org

15 May 2017

I would inform her that it is required by law that I verify her identity. If she says it is impossible I would inform her that she could provide two credible witnesses, with proper identification who to verify for her.

Marissa Caine

15 May 2017

If she isn't wearing it in the picture but does have it on at the time of the notarization I would personally find that incredibly suspicious. I looked into this a little bit and found out that while freedom of religion is part of our first amendment it's up to the DMV's discretion and individual standard procedure of that office to make the determination on whether or not to make someone remove their covering. If you think you may be doing a lot of notarization for people of this religion it may be a good idea to get in touch with the DMV to find out what their standard procedure is so that you can run your notary business concurrent with the local rules of the DMV.

Jeannie Allen

15 May 2017

I would not require her to remove headdress but would require her to just drop veil enough to expose her full face and match it against her ID.

Tina Wallace

15 May 2017

I would politely request the signer to remove her head covering so I can see her face. If she is unwilling to do this I would tell her that she would need to come back with credible witness(es) in order to have me notarize her signature.

Darril Volair

15 May 2017

I would have her swear to this being her and get her finger print.

Irene Woods

15 May 2017

I would explain that the driver's license is a legal form of picture ID and is not legal to use without my being able to identify the person and the picture. She is requesting that it be used as identification and she would need to remove the face covering and /or show me a passport, or other legal identification with a picture and a signature.

Diana Cruz

15 May 2017

A female can show another female her face as long there is privacy that no other men or women who are in the office can see her. traceywaters247@gmail.com said it perfectly. I would like to thank you all for the sensitivity of this issue.

Uncle Jimmy

15 May 2017

I would refuse to notarize based on her refusal to be properly identified.

Stacy

15 May 2017

I would ask her under what circumstances she could remove her face coverings and if I could create a reasonable accommodation I would. If she cannot under any circumstances remove her face covering, I would explain as a notary I have also taken an oath that required me to verify her identity and this is also a matter to protect her from fraud. There is usually always a compromise or accommodation that can be made without offending and still respecting their religion commitment and honoring our oaths as notaries.

Joseph Cabahug

15 May 2017

I think everyone had great input. I would first ask if there are accommodations we can make for the signer to facially confirm identity such as, males leave the room and a signing witness of the notary can verify - whatever the case may be. I also really liked asking for a second ID AND taking a fingerprint. Fingerprinting is not a MD requirement but for cases like this, to better serve our Religious Citizens, I will purchase a fingerprint pad as soon as possible! Thanks to Tammy Jernigan for the call on Fingerprinting that I saw!

Donna A

15 May 2017

I would pull out my iPhone, set it to camera and invite the woman to step into another room to take her picture. Since it's my phone, there is no possibility that she could fake it.

Carolyn Clay

15 May 2017

I would look at the photo ID and then look into the eyes. I feel you can see a lot in someone' s eyes. You would have the forehead and the eyes to match. Please let me know if there is a correct answer.

Jonathan Segura

15 May 2017

if she refuses to take off her head-covering in front of me, I would see if she would take it off in front of a woman. If she would, I would refer her to a female notary and make an entry in my journal to that effect.

Doug N

15 May 2017

I would first explain my state's requirements, and if I cannot match all points on the license to the person in front of me (in this case the signer's picture), I would then handle this situation as I would for a person who doesn't have ID and ask that she produce two personally known credible witnesses with their proper I.D.

Cynthia Daniels

15 May 2017

I always have heard that the women cannot uncover their faces or head in the presence of another man and not everyone in general. I would ask the women if she could remove her head scarf either in front of her husband or in another room with me so that I could verify her identity. There usually is always a way around things along as you are respectful of someones views. Of course that is just my opinion.

John C. Plantada

15 May 2017

There's a simple solution. Since there is no problem with revealing her face to another woman, I would suggest the client find a female notary.

L

15 May 2017

I would insist on seeing her face. If she can remove the veil for her license, she can remove it for me. Otherwise, I'd refuse.

Markus Jones

15 May 2017

The requestors are obligated to obey the law of the land they are in when it pertains to legal matters, especially if they requested a service such as notary. You would not violate their religious freedom if they are voluntarily requesting notarization of a document which requires physical validation since your intentions are valid. Most will comply in a private setting.

Carmen Woolf

15 May 2017

I would suggest a credible identifying witness or two credible witnesses with proper identification to identify the individual wearing the mask. This is allowed in California.

Nabil Salem

15 May 2017

Although many women of different faiths cover their head with a scarf, but the Islamic religion does NOT require a woman to cover her face; those restrictions are imposed by men to control women and have nothing to do with religion. I am from the Middle East and quite familiar with the traditions. One of my grand mother s, tied a scarf around her hair every morning and kept it on until going to bed at night while the other grand mother as well as many younger female relatives never placed a scarf on their heads except when entering a church or when it is quite windy outside. I believe, nowadays , in most countries , especially in the West, for safety and security reasons, to go through check points and at government agencies, women MUST uncover their faces for proper identification . I would apply this same principle when notarizing a signature as positive identification without any hindrance is the rule. If a lady wont uncover her face for identifications in front of me, she will need to find a female notary where she would probably feel more comfortable with her. I notarize the signatures of many Moslem women and so far there were no issues.

Nancy

15 May 2017

Ask to remove the head cover, you can ask the men to remove themselves from the room. If she still refuses, and you are a male notary tell her to find a female notary.

Nina Torres

15 May 2017

If the female signer was adamant about not removing her head covering for religious reasons, I would suggest using the oaths of two credible witnesses to establish identity for the signing, the same way I would if she had lacked proper identification. Hopefully her companion would have an acceptable ID and be willing to act as a credible witness, and I would ask them to return with a second person with acceptable ID who may act as a second witness. Out of respect for her religious beliefs, I certainly would not demand that the female signer remove her head covering.

Matt B

15 May 2017

I think the more interesting question is what would you do if the person presents an identification card where her face is covered, for instance a Montana driver's license. In California, the requirement is that the ID contains a photograph, description of the person, signature of the person and an identifying number. Doesn't say anything about whether the face can be partially obscured in the photo.

Verne Gordon

16 May 2017

As a California Notary, it is imperative that her face matches the driver's license photo. For that matter, she had to show her face for the driver's license; why won't she do it for the Notary? I would ask politely for her to show her face; if she refuses, perhaps even remind her that she had to show it for her license. Barring that, I would politely refuse to notarize her signature. There is not another method of identification in this case; since she has a driver's license, the use of two credible witnesses is not valid. Then I would make a notation in the journal entry that Satisfactory Evidence was not presented to identify her as her picture on the driver's license could not be verified with the head covering on.

David Nixon

16 May 2017

I would ask her husband to direct her to remove the cover just long enough to make the ID since her DL picture is without the cover. This would be in line with the religious belief that she is subject to her husbands headship. Then I would wrap up the ID process with a thumb print in my ledger book.

Melissa

16 May 2017

I would politely ask for the removal of the covering, explaining why. If that was not possible and she had all the correct ID, I may possibly go the Credible Witness path.

Luz Rose

16 May 2017

I will take an oath saying that she is the same as the ID.

Eugene C,Singletary

16 May 2017

I would have to explainr to the clients that we are now different than the d.m.v. We do and are apointed by the state,and we are state orricels just like the d.m.v .so we have to make sure that we have to idenfie you proppley.and at this point if that dose not work, I would kindly decline there request .

ALLEN

16 May 2017

I would explain that I have a responsibility to positively identify all signers. I would ask for witnesses and scrutinize their documents if any were willing. If not, would not sign.

David Vining

16 May 2017

I would suggest that everyone leave the room and have the covered female to take a "selfie" photo for verification, compare the photo with the supplied photo ID, then delete the "selfie" in her presence.

Perla Runge

16 May 2017

I would mention to her that notary law requires a notary public to verify identity of the signer, and this requires "to have her face uncovered" to match the ID with her face for the notarization to proceed. Otherwise I would refuse the notarization. Another option is by using either one or two credible witnesses.

Jennifer Glover

16 May 2017

Washington State will allow a citizen to keep face coverings for religious beliefs only. If the signer's photo ID had a face covering then the face covering would allowed for the signing as well. However if the ID does not have the face covered, then we would need to respectfully request that she also remove the face covering for identification verification. This is the text from our state DOL website: You’ll need to remove anything that covers your face or head (like a hat or sunglasses). If you don’t want to remove them, we’ll mark “Not Valid for Identification.” on your card. We’ll make exceptions for medical and religious reasons.

Isabella

16 May 2017

It would be easier to ask for that person to bring a witness that personally knows the Notary Public, also preferably the ID would be from that state notarizing. With all the lawsuits and stolen identity problems here in America I would be comfortable with a subscribing witness and the ID stating details about religious exceptions such as when wearing eye glasses. Among other supporting documents. That person must understand it's for challenging cause we must face. Case by case and depending on the document.

Maria R.

16 May 2017

I'm sorry, but if she took it off for the DMV, she must take it off for me. If she refuses, I refuse the notarization and explain that religious laws have a place in religion, not in the state, and that since she's wanting to avail herself of a state service, her obligation is to comply with STATE law, just as I would oblige religious law if I walked into her temple. Very simple logic.

Bernita

16 May 2017

Verify using the signers' drivers license by examining the exposed features. Look at he the shape and color of her eyes and eyebrows. See if the dimensions of the forehead matches the picture. Finally, if there's any exposed hair, examine the texture, color, and pray there's been no chemical treatment on the hair since taking the drivers license picture.

Wendy Brown

16 May 2017

If the signer insists she cannot remove her face covering, I would insist on two credible witnesses before notarizing her document.

Betzy Rega

16 May 2017

I would reapectfully ask her to remove the head covering to confirm identification.

Charmaine DuBois

16 May 2017

I feel that if she can uncover her face to get her driver's license, then she should be able to undrape her face for a few seconds for someone to make the identification complete from her driver's license. Also, explain the importance of why we have to take this action.

Angela

16 May 2017

I have never seen so many responses to a QOD. Everyone has something to say LOL

Soraya

16 May 2017

I have 8 sisters and 7 of them Cover. But they do not cover their faces. However, in certain country there are women that do cover their face. The women are allowed to uncover to a woman, not to a man. Therefore, If it were me, and since I am a Woman Notary I would ask her to uncover to me. If there is a private area where she can come with me to uncover there should not be a problem.

Nicolle Robitaille

16 May 2017

As a female, I am in a bit of a better position than some of my male counterparts. I would explain that I must legally verify her identification. We can go into another room where she could unveil herself privately. If that is not acceptable, then I am sorry but I cannot notarize your documents.

Harold Cooper

16 May 2017

I would suggest she contact her religious leader, or attorney, and explain to her that state statues require proper id, and suggest she consent to this one request.

Theodore Nizza

16 May 2017

Although I realize that I am expected to render my services impartially, and to be respectful of each signer’s personal beliefs. I would respectfully explain, in private, that the reason there are pictures on state issued ID's, is so the bearer of the ID can be positively identified as the person named therein, and would she please uncover her face for positive identification. If she refused, I would refuse notarization, and politely show her the door.

Theodore Nizza

16 May 2017

Although I realize that I am expected to render my services impartially, and to be respectful of each signer’s personal beliefs. I would respectfully explain, in private, that the reason there are pictures on state issued ID's, is so the bearer of the ID can be positively identified as the person named therein, and would she please uncover her face for positive identification. If she refused, I would refuse notarization, and politely show her the door.

Manuel Garcia

16 May 2017

I think there is a confusion and twisting of the constitution and laws of this country to apply to suit everyone's benefit. If you go to a country that needs you to obey the law,s you must follow them. We can respect everyone's beliefs based on the amendments but at the same time we also need to follow the legal system as well. Something you have to do to be part of this country. As women must obey the rule of covering their heads when going to the middle east regardless of religion. It is enforced. With that said as many mentioned, politely ask to remove if not then notarization cannot take place unfortunately.

Andy Bergman

16 May 2017

My foremost duty is to verify the identity of the signer(s). While different in some respects it is similar to signings I have done with Amish who are buying property. Just as I don't know the signer they also do not know me so I make it my duty to gain their trust and confidence. I explain that the documents I have been asked to notarize require me to be able to positively verify all parties with confidence. I let them know my preferred option is a current government issued ID wth photo so that I can verify facial features. If a government ID is not available or the signer face cannot be seen clearly then I will need a credible witness who I can positively identify based on a government I'D wth photo and that person must know the signer who doesn't have ID or is unable to show their face and the credible witness cannot have any interest direct or indirect from the documents being signed.

Richard Cornell

16 May 2017

Fellow the law. If she will not show face then tell her that since you fellow the State Laws you can not help her. Her local bank where she banks can help her.

Aref Fakhoury

16 May 2017

First let me explain something. The covering mostly excludes the face and reveals rounded face covering ears and hair. In some extreme cases where you are unable to see the face without violating the religious rules, apply the two credible witness. The woman can reveal the face to other women or to men who are blood related, brothers, and father. As to the ID if the employee who is taken the photo for the ID is a woman the applicant will reveal her face.

Janette R-A

16 May 2017

If she refuses to take off her headwrap, I would check her ID and compare her eyes with that of the ID; ask for a second ID; and make sure I have her fingerprint.

Kay b focke

16 May 2017

I think the preceding comments are good, also, using a credible witness would work. If she showed her face foto because of law, she might agree to the law again if reminded of that. Ask why she allowed the photo for the license.

Corey Clark

16 May 2017

I would ask she feels comfortable removing the Jihad. If not I would ask to see a separate form of identification.

mary

16 May 2017

I would politely mention she took off the Jihad for the license photo because of that Departments rules and regulations and explain I too have to follow the State rules and regulations and my rights as a Notary can also be jeopardized. If she feels comfortable to do it in a private area with just the two, then I would direct her tot he area, also accepting a second confirmation of who the person is and also taking the fingerprint.

Corey Clark

16 May 2017

I would ask she feels comfortable removing the Jihad. If not I would ask to see a separate form of identification.

Bev Lazarus

16 May 2017

Full 5 fingers Fingerprint; height; approx weight; any visible distinguishing marks or behaviors

Bev Lazarus

16 May 2017

Get a full five (5) fingers prints; note height; approx. weight; age, as opposed to what I'd indicates; any distinguishing marks and/ or behavior; ask for permission to take a separate picture

Helen Asker

16 May 2017

Another option would be to have two creditable witnesses who know you and the signer. I would ask her to show me her face in private. She showed her face at the DMV so that says to me she is ok with showing her face in public. If she refuses then I must decline the notary service.

Julia Dunnagan

17 May 2017

I would explain to her why it was important and request two witnesses both with uncovered faces and ask for picture and thumbprints and pictures of them taking picture of her and witnesses for journal with explaination.

Veronica

17 May 2017

I would politely explain I need to compare the photo to the singer and make mention that the head cover was removed for the photo, it will need to be removed for the comparison. If the singer declines, I would decline to notarize,and make a clear record of the reason for declining the notarization in my journal.

Walter Hertz

17 May 2017

I would ask the client to remove her covering for the purpose of proving ID. Failing that I would contact the title company or who ever hired me & explain that a Female Notary is needed, because the client can usually remove her covering in the presence of a woman. I would ask the client if that was OK to contact before I made the call.

joe pfeiffer

17 May 2017

I was in a situation like this. I explained the protocol for notarizing a document. This is when I discovered the signer, a female, was wearing a face covering. I asked her, "what do you need to do for me to identify you without any face covering." She replied, "I need a female to be present when I unveil." Her accommodation was met because she brought along another female friend. There are many cultural and religious variables in dealing with these situations. I need and try to be very sensitive to the individual and respect those customs. I have a work log which I created and use when an individual calls to set-up an appointment. I ask the following questions: does the signer have a current ID with photo available? Is the signed physically able to sign? Is signer able to communicate with me in my English language? Is signer aware of what is to be signed? Is there anything else I need to be aware of about the signer? These questions certainly help prior to the situation as I became aware beforehand of the facial identity/covering issue. I would never tell or demand that a woman remove her facial covering. This is disrespectful. The decision is hers HOW SHE wants to handle the situation to meet the requirement of proper identification.

Teresa Garcia

17 May 2017

I would ask if she can please remove the covering in a private place as to respect her beliefs. If she still can not do so then I'd request another form of ID and finger prints.

Grace

17 May 2017

I will explain the law of California, which is requiring me to verify her identity with the picture ID and real physical face matching with the ID, and ask nicely for her to remove it in order to proceed with the notarization. In CA I must see one form of Government Picture ID and match it with the face. If they refuse it, I must ask two witnesses who have no issues showing their face to me, and get their information on my Journal. In addition I will get the thumbprint of the person wearing a hijab in my Journal as well. With all due respect, I just have one question for everyone in the world. Why is it when Christian or Jewish, or Buddhist, visit to countries where hijab is required we must wear it in order to enter that particular country requiring it. Yet, when people wearing hijab, cannot respect the law of the country that they are entering, where the hijab is not required. I understand the preference, but one of the most important points of hijab is not to bring attention towards you. Which is completely fine when you are in that country requiring it, and everyone wears it. But, when they enter a country where it is not requirement, they draw more attention towards themselves by wearing it. To me this is an oxymoron.

Betssi

17 May 2017

I agree with others leaving comments. I would politely ask her to remove the covering as a notary I would explain to her that it is crucial for me to identify her correctly. I would also ask the male to step out of the room and ask her to reveal her face. Like others I agree that as a notaty it is crucial for us to verify accuretly . That is the whole purpose of being a notary public.

Kilika Haumea

18 May 2017

I would ask politely to show her face and if she doesn't, explain why I have to decline. If the laws ever change and become more relaxed regarding this issue, we would be jepordizing our national security. We are here to deter fraud and when we are at war we must be careful and stay on course to protect and serve our great nation.

MQubed

19 May 2017

I think Phil Hughes' (5/15/17) answer is most reasonable, and Joe Pfeiffer's (5/17/17) is the most helpful!

Tre

20 May 2017

If the person had an ID with their full face showing then I would explain that I have been sworn in by the Secretary Of State and as a Public Official, I have to verify as much visible physical detail as a appears on the ID card. I would also be willing to pull up in the handbook online. If only the eyes were showing on an acceptable ID then I would match only the features shown. If I we using witnesses then it would not matter a great deal whether I would take oaths of Creditable witness about the identity of the person.

dhharrisonjr@gmail.com

20 May 2017

I would politely explain to her that I need her to show her complete face to confirm her identity without the male's presence and if she still refuses I would ask her fir another ID that matches her signature as the first one. If she still refuses to do that I would kindly tell her that I cannot perform her notarization because I couldn't confirm her identity and it's against the law for me to do so without confirming her identity.

Afi Phoebe

21 May 2017

As a former female Muslim for some 35yrs., I can understand the concern for proper ID presented in this scenario. A woman can lower her veil in the presence of another woman and also her husband and related familial males.[Holy Qur'an Ch.24 verse 31] That would not be problematic if the Notary were a female. However, if the Notary is an unrelated male, then there are options:first explaining the law which has precedence over religious law; 2- request alternate adequate ID, a fingerprint, credible witnesses,[any combination of such];3 - observe the iris of the eyes and brow to match what is presented on the ID; 4 -examine the signature on the gov't issued ID and request another signature on paper to see if there is a match before allowing a required signature on a document; 5 - request any unrelated males present to step out of the room so that I may view the signer and match her ID. However, there could be a situation under a follower of Shariah Law;[ very strict interpretation of Islamic Law] whereby it may be necessary to appear only before a female Notary.

Diane Carnahan

22 May 2017

I would need to see her face for me to be 100% certain she is who she says she is. If she can remove it for the driver's license photo then she can remove it for me to witness and notarize her signature.

Guy

22 May 2017

'you are expected to render your services impartially' - that applies to everyone. Our commissions are issued by States of the United States. We are required to obey and promise to enforce the laws of those entities. We are not commissioned by a specific religion.

Althea Frye

22 May 2017

I am politically sensitive to religious belief and honor that individual’s belief. We are in the age of technology, therefore, if this situation would present itself to me, I would ask the women to go to the bathroom, and take a picture of her face with her SmartPhone and bring it back to me. The date and time of the picture is shown, therefore, that would be my proof that it was the individual that I am witnessing their signature.

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