December 18, 2017

FAQ Home

F.A.Q.

Q: What is the difference between a notary public and a “mobile” notary public?
A: The only difference between a notary public and a mobile notary public is the word “mobile” and what it means for you. All Florida notary publics are commissioned by the Secretary of State’s office. We all must meet the same state-mandated requirements. However, the mobile notary public (also known as a “traveling” notary public) travels to your home, your place of business, or wherever you like, to perform his work at a time and location convenient for you. Many people requiring notarizations don’t have the time, the ability, or the desire to travel to a notary’s place of business. For many people, a mobile notary provides the best – and sometimes the only – means of getting documents notarized. A competent mobile notary arrives where you want, when you want, fully-equipped with all the necessary tools of the trade to get the job done right.
Q: Why do documents require notarizing?
A: First and foremost, to deter fraud. To help protect the legal rights of the persons whose signatures are being notarized. It is the legal responsibility of the notary, serving as an impartial witness and public official, to ensure that the signers of notarized documents are indeed who they claim to be, and not impostors. It is also incumbent upon the notary to make certain that signers enter into notarized agreements knowingly and willingly and free of coercion or duress. Because acts of fraud are perpetrated frequently, it is imperative that signers of notarized documents be protected as vehemently as possible against such crimes.

Q: Does a document have to be signed in the notary’s presence?
A: Documents requiring an acknowledgment do not have to be signed in the notary’s presence. However, the signer must appear before the notary at the time of the actual notarization to acknowledge that he or she freely signed for the purposes stated in the document.

An acknowledgment certificate indicates that the signer personally appeared before the notary, was identified by the notary, and acknowledged to the notary that the document was freely signed.

Conversely, documents requiring a jurat must indeed be signed in the notary’s presence, as indicated by typical jurat wording: “…subscribed (signed) and sworn to before me…” In executing a jurat, a notary guarantees that the signer personally appeared, was administered an oath or affirmation by the notary, and signed in the notary’s presence.

Q: Can a fax or photocopy be notarized?
A: A fax or photocopy may be notarized only if it bears an original signature. That is, it must have been signed with pen and ink. For the protection of the document’s signers, a photocopied or faxed signature may never be notarized.
Q: What type of identification can I use?
A: Any one of the following forms of identification, if the document is current or has been issued within the past 5 years and bears a serial or other identifying number:

  • A Florida identification card or driver’s license issued by the public agency authorized to issue driver’s licenses;
  • A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States;
  • A passport issued by a foreign government if the document is stamped by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service;
  • A driver’s license or an identification card issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver’s licenses in a state other than Florida, a territory of the United States, or Canada or Mexico;
  • An identification card issued by any branch of the armed forces of the United States;
  • An inmate identification card issued on or after January 1, 1991, by the Florida Department of Corrections for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
  • An inmate identification card issued by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
  • A sworn, written statement from a sworn law enforcement officer that the forms of identification for an inmate in an institution of confinement were confiscated upon confinement and that the person named in the document is the person whose signature is to be notarized; or
  • An identification card issued by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.