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Can Notaries Accept A Learner’s Permit As Proof Of Identity?

Notary accept learner's permit identification main

Updated 7-1-22. Driver’s licenses are the most common ID that signers present to Notaries. But can a Notary accept a learner’s permit for a student driver as proof of identity? The answer depends on your state’s laws and the information included on the learner’s permit.

Does The Permit Say “Not For ID Purposes”? If So, Don’t Accept It

A learner’s instructional permit can differ significantly from a standard driver’s license. Some learner’s permits lack a photograph or other identifying information about the bearer and are not intended to be used as identification. These permits are typically printed with the phrase “Not for ID purposes” or similar wording that indicates the permit isn’t acceptable as proof of signer identity.

A learner’s permit that is not marked as unsuitable may be acceptable to a Notary, provided certain conditions are met. Ask yourself these questions to determine if a learner’s permit meets all of your state’s ID requirements (see below).

Is The Permit On Your State’s List Of Acceptable Signer IDs?

If you’re commissioned in a state where the law lists specific IDs Notaries may accept, check to see if a learner’s permit is included on the list. If not, then the signer will have to use a different form of ID. In California and Florida, a learner’s permit may not be accepted as identification.

Does The Permit Include All Required ID Elements?

Some states allow Notaries to accept any form of ID that includes certain required elements. In these states, if a learner’s permit includes all of your state’s required ID features and is not marked as unsuitable for identification purposes, you can accept it. 

In Massachusetts and Texas, for example, a Notary can accept an ID that is current, issued by the federal government or a state government, and includes a photograph and signature. Nevada allows Notaries to accept an identifying document which contains a signature and a photograph.

What About States Without ID Guidelines?

If your state does not have a statute specifying requirements for IDs, then it is your decision whether to accept a learner’s permit as proof of identity and you should base your decision on an accepted standard of professional practice.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.



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arnele maldonado

02 Jul 2019

no issues

arnele maldonado

02 Jul 2019

want to read article

John Clark

30 Jul 2019

What good is a conditional permit to drive a vehicle that does not positively identify the holder? Unless prohibited by state law, a learner's permit is valid for notarial identification as long as genuine on its face and current, with the party's likeness, sex, height, eye color, and signature matching the presenter's.

National Notary Association

30 Jul 2019

Hello. Not all states issue learner's permits with information that meets all state Notary law requirements for satisfactory proof of a signer's identity. Notaries must always check their own state's ID requirements before accepting a learner's permit as proof of identity.

Earl Harrison

27 Jul 2020

Very informative we need these information and KYN

Jeff Hamilton

19 Jul 2021

I’m Jeff hamilton


19 Jul 2021

I am in Idaho. Currently any drivers licensed issue that IS NOT a "star" card has printed . Not for real ID Purposes. Based on this post it seems like you are saying we should not accept them. It is not possible to turn down all those cards. I wouldn't be notarizing for half of the signers. Do you agree that they are ok to take as ID even though they say " Not for Real ID Purposes" Just because they have not upgraded to the "star card"?

National Notary Association

20 Jul 2021

Hello. Idaho Notaries may accept the following identification documents: A passport, driver’s license or government-issued nondriver identification card that is current or expired not more than three (3) years before performance of the notarial act; or Another form of government identification issued to an individual that is current or expired not more than three (3) years before performance of the notarial act, that contains the signature or a photograph of the individual, and that is satisfactory to the notary public (IC 51-107[2]). The "star" and words "Not for REAL ID Purposes" you describe refer to whether or not the identification is compliant with the federal "REAL ID" Act for purposes such as boarding commercial aircraft. For more information, please see this article:

Della Steele

11 Jul 2022

I’m in TEXAS and have recently run across an adoption firm where a 12 year old girl was supposed to SIGN her name. She couldn’t write in cursive (they’re not teaching our children cursive any longer in TX) so she had to print her name ( looked like a 2nd graders printing) .. what’s the protocol for such.?? They’re growing up through high school not able to write in cursive.

National Notary Association

22 Jul 2022

A signature can be printed and need not be completed in cursive writing in order for it to be notarized.

Veronica Herrera

11 Jul 2022

What about Illinois? Can a learner's permit? What about temporary dl ? What about the non resident drivers license?

National Notary Association

15 Jul 2022

Hello. In order to accept a signer's identification in Illinois, the ID must be valid at the time of the notarial act, issued by a state agency, federal government agency, or consulate, and bearing the photographic image of the individual’s face and signature of the individual (5 ILCS 312/6-102[d]). Any learner's permit, temporary licenses or nonresident license that does not meet these requirements cannot be accepted as proof of a signer's identity in Illinois.

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