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Acceptable Identification Cards to Bring to Your Mobile Notary Appointment 🪪🃏

Updated: Jul 10, 2023


Before you type “mobile notary near me” into your search engine of choice, make sure that you have an acceptable form of identification. The type of ID you use is extremely important when it comes to verifying your identity because mobile notaries in Tennessee must follow strict guidelines on what they can accept.

According to the Notary Public Handbook for TN (page 9), you want to make sure that “the document is (1) current or has been issued within five years, (2) contains a photograph and description of the person named on it, (3) is signed by the person, (4) bears a serial or other identifying number, and, (5) in the event that the document is a passport, has been stamped by the United States immigration and naturalization service.”

Let’s go over the acceptable IDs from most common to least common, so that you can make sure your mobile notary appointment goes smoothly.

1. A State Driver’s License

  • A driver’s license (DL) is the most common and usually the easiest ID to bring with you. It checks every single box in the Notary Handbook’s list of requirements. The most important thing to remember with DLs is to make sure they are not expired. Any DL from any state in the United States of America is acceptable. Both laminated cards and/or temporary DLs printed on paper will do.

2. A US Passport

  • Your US passport is also an equally great form of identification. It contains a picture, ID number, and other pertinent information. This is a great alternative to a DL if you can’t use your DL for whatever reason or you misplace it.

3. A Foreign Passport

  • Quite a few times we at NNN have been presented with foreign passports from immigrants or visiting foreigners who need something notarized. A notary can definitely help them, even though they usually won’t have a US state driver’s license. These foreign passports should have English translations so that the notary can figure out expiration date, issue date, and other information.

4. A State ID Card

  • These state issued cards are used less often than the others. These types of cards often do not allow a person to drive, but can still be used to identify them. Once again, as long as the card isn’t expired, has photo ID, and has a serial number, it can be accepted.

5. US Military ID Card

  • These cards are almost never used as a form of identification since the DL is usually used first. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be accepted by a notary. This type of card has all the requirements of the other forms of identification and since it is issued by the federal government, itself, it is extremely valid.

Without at least one of those IDs, you, unfortunately, will not be able to complete your appointment with a notary. However, there is a special loop hole… If the notary personally knows you or knows a credible witness who knows you, then they are free to notarize based on their familiarity with you. Basically, the notary is attesting to your identity on the strength of their word as a state public official. Otherwise, they cannot notarize anything for you as a notary's main responsibility is to prevent identity fraud by attesting to the validity of a person’s identity. We will discuss the use of credible witnesses in another blog, but for now, let’s look at some documents that notaries definitely cannot accept.

1. Unacceptable Documents

  • Sometimes you just can’t find that dastardly DL. Or maybe your passport has been expired for a decade. But, wait! You have a very shiny employee ID that you use at your job and it has your name and even a picture on it. That should work, right? Wrong! Notaries cannot accept any ID that has not been issued by the state or federal government. Why? Well, anyone can laminate an ID and slap a picture and name onto it. You cannot use employee IDs, library cards, birth certificates, social security cards, credit cards, bank cards, membership cards, or anything else. Sorry!

So, next time you search “mobile notary near me” you should know exactly what is needed. This will save you time and a massive headache. You don’t want the notary to drive all the way to you just for you to remember you have the wrong ID. Always be prepared. Once you have your ID, book your appointment with us and we’ll handle the rest!

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