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Can I accept a signer ID without a photograph?

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What is an acceptable ID to perform a notarization? May we take Pennsylvania ID issued without a picture? — B.M., Pennsylvania

Yes, you may accept certain IDs without a photograph if the ID has a signature. Pennsylvania statute states that in addition to a current and unexpired passport, driver’s license, or government-issued non-driver ID card, a Pennsylvania Notary may accept another form of government-issued identification that is current, includes the signature OR a photograph of the individual, and is satisfactory to the Notary or notarial officer (57 Pa.C.S. 307).

Please note that many other state ID requirements may be different. For example, California and Florida only accept specific forms of ID listed in state laws. Illinois and Texas require a signer's ID to include a photograph. New Jersey requires either a signature or a photograph of the individual. Be sure to check your state laws to confirm a signer ID meets all requirements before accepting it.

For more information, please see our page “Determine if ID is Acceptable for Notarization.”

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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Mel Eperthener

03 Jun 2024

What if, for religious reasons, an ID that would otherwise have a photograph, does not have a photograph. I know states with a large Amish population allow the Amish to exempt themselves from photographs. I was commissioned in Texas (before moving), and never ran into this issue in Texas, but would think that it would be possible to have a required photo ID missing the photograph for religious reasons. What is the protocol then? Thank you.

National Notary Association

07 Jun 2024

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please clarify what state you are currently commissioned in, so we can provide the specific ID rules for that state to you?

Mel Eperthener

07 Jun 2024

I am commissioned in New Mexico. We do NOT have a large Amish population here, so I am not sure I would run into this. But I have lived in Pennsylvania, which does have a large Amish population, and issues licenses without photographs when there is a religious reason for not having a photograph. This is more an issue I am aware of, but would not expect to see much of here, so more a general question for populations who cannot be photographed for religious reasons.

National Notary Association

07 Jun 2024

Hello. New Mexico accepts the following types of identification for a notarization: 1. The Notary's personal knowledge of the signer, if the individual is personally known to the officer through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that individual has the identity claimed (NMSA 14-14A-6.A). 2. A passport, driver’s license or government-issued nondriver identification card, which is current or expired not more than one year before performance of the notarial act 3. Another form of government identification issued to an individual, which is current or expired not more than one year before performance of the notarial act, contains the signature or a photograph of the individual and is satisfactory to the officer. If a signer's ID does not meet these requirements, the signer can be identified by the verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the officer, who is unrelated to and unaffected by the document or transaction, and known to the officer and whom the officer can identify on the basis of a passport, driver’s license or government-issued nondriver identification card, which is current or expired not more than one year before performance of the notarial act (NMSA 14-14A-6.B).

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