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May I notarize a document written in Spanish?

Are Notaries Public able to notarize a document written in Spanish in the state of Arizona? — C.D., Arizona

Yes, an AZ Notary can notarize a signature on a document in a foreign language if the following requirements are met (ARS 41-313.B):

  • The signer can communicate directly with the Notary in a language they both understand.
  • The signer signs in a language the Notary understands
  • The notarial certificate is written, read and understood in a language that the Notary understands.

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. PT.

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28 Oct 2021

nice post keep sharing with us

Concerned Notary

29 Nov 2021

It's like Notary regulations are written by people who've never notarized. The communication and certificate requirements I understand, bit I'm perplexed at the requirement that "the signer signs in a language that the notary public understands" (p. 16, AZ notary manual) A name's a name whether in English or Spanish, and I've seen signatures of English native-speakers that may as well be in Chinese! It's not like everyone's uses perfect penmanship. Oh, well. At least we have the NNA to make us aware of these issues, and it's better to think about these things now than when a signer breaks out the Cyrillic...

Veronica Trujillo

01 Jan 2022

Can someone in California also noticed a document in Spanish.

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2022

Hello. The CA Notary Public Handbook states the following: “A notary public can notarize a signature on a document in a foreign language with which the notary public is not familiar since a notary public’s function only relates to the signature and not the contents of the document. The notary public should be able to identify the type of document being notarized for entry in the notary public’s journal. If unable to identify the type of document, the notary public must make an entry to that effect in the journal (e.g., ‘a document in a foreign language’). The notary public should be mindful of the completeness of the document and must not notarize the signature on the document if the document appears to be incomplete. The notary public is responsible for completing the acknowledgment or jurat form” Regarding signers speaking a foreign language, the Notary Public Handbook states: “When notarizing a signature on a document, a notary public must be able to communicate with the customer in order for the signer to either swear to or affirm the contents of an affidavit or to acknowledge the execution of the document. An interpreter should not be used, as vital information could be lost in the translation. If a notary public is unable to communicate with a customer, the customer should be referred to a notary who speaks the customer’s language”

Luis Roldán

23 Feb 2024

The Bank of America in GA notary told me that their policy is to verify the document that requires notification. Therefore a Spanish speaking notary is required for my document. I asked if he was required to only verify my signature and asked for their written policy. The notary was not able to show me this policy, and mentioned that it was part of his trading. Is this correct, or the notary is simply following what he is told without verifying it? Appreciate your support in following the correct answer. Thanks Luis

National Notary Association

26 Feb 2024

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.

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