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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

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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.

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