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What are the rules for accepting an expired driver's license?

Photo of woman with long dark hair on phone. She is looking at papers in her hand. Text on image reads NNA Hotline Tip.

I’d like to know what the rules are for accepting an expired driver’s license to identify a signer. — J. V., California

In California, if a driver’s license is expired, it can still be accepted if the license was issued within 5 years of the notarization date (Civil Code 1185).

For information on expired ID rules for Notaries in other states, please see our article and video "Can a Notary accept an expired ID?"

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 consultants 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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Tracy Ecks

17 Jul 2023

I wish I had a better explanation on if we can use a US passport with an expired driver's license. I have been told so many things. No on the US Passport because there is no physical description but then in the Notary Public Sourcebook it list: A United States passport (a U.S. passport need not have a description of the named person). So can we use the expired license as a secondary source for the physical description???

National Notary Association

18 Jul 2023

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?


05 Aug 2023

In california a driver must renew their license every 5 years. And, in order to accept an expired license in California, the license has to have been ISSUED within 5 years prior to the signing. So, basically, the answer is “no”, a notary cannot accept an expired driver’s license as a form of identification, correct?

National Notary Association

07 Aug 2023

Hello. The 5-year expiration rule applies to all identification documents listed in California Code 1185[b] that may be used for signer identification in California, including driver's licenses issued in other states, which may have different issuance and expiration periods than CA licenses.


26 Sep 2023

Can a CA notary accept an expired driver's license with a DMV extension letter?

National Notary Association

28 Sep 2023

Hello. Only if the license was issued within the past 5 years (CC 1185[b]).


13 Nov 2023

Hello, Question, need child passport consent form notarized but other parents ALL forms of ID is expired. How can we notarized it ? Witnesses? For state of New York. Please help thanks.

National Notary Association

13 Nov 2023

Hello. In New York, the identity of a signer can be verified using one credible identifying witness who personally knows both the Notary and the signer, or two credible identifying witnesses who personally know the signer and can present identification to the Notary that is valid and current, contain photos of the bearers and include a physical description and signature of the bearers (19 NYCRR 182.5[b]).


15 Nov 2023

Can you use an expired ID to get a contract notarized in Idaho?

National Notary Association

16 Nov 2023

Hello. Idaho Notaries can accept the following identification documents from signers: “(i) 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 “(ii) 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])

17 Jan 2024

I’m in NC. Quite often I am asked to notarize something for a resident in a nursing home & their license, ID or passport is expired. They are not able to get the ID updated because they aren’t able to leave the facility. Usually they are needing their Will, Power of Attorney, or a car title notarized. What are my options for identifying them?

National Notary Association

19 Jan 2024

In North Carolina, “A notary shall not perform a notarial act if any of the following apply: … “(2) The principal or subscribing witness is not personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence” (GS 10B-20[c]). “A notary shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the notary does any of the following: … “(3) Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the principal. “(4) Takes a verification or proof without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the subscribing witness” (GS 10B-60[c]). In North Carolina, personal knowledge or personally known means “(f)amiliarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to eliminate every reasonable doubt that the individual has the identity claimed” (GS 10B-3[17]). Satisfactory evidence means identification of an individual based on either of the following: “(a) at least one current document issued by a federal, a state, or a federal or state-recognized tribal government agency, bearing the photographic image of the individual’s face and either the signature or a physical description of the individual, or “(b) the vouching under oath or affirmation of one credible witness who personally knows the individual seeking to be identified (GS 10B-3[22]). A credible witness is an individual who is personally known to the notary and to whom both of the following also apply: “(a) the notary believes the individual to be honest and reliable for the purpose of confirming to the notary the identity of another individual, and “(b) the notary believes the individual is not a party to or beneficiary of the transaction (GS 10B-3[5]).

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