Obtaining a California Notarization

The world of notarization has seen significant changes over the years, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping how notarial acts are conducted. One of the most transformative advancements in this realm is remote online notarization. But what does this mean for the California notary? Let’s dive deep into the nuances of California notarization in today’s digital landscape.

california notarization

Understanding Remote Online Notarization

Remote online notarization, often abbreviated as RON, allows notaries to notarize documents electronically without the signer being physically present. Instead, the signer and the notary interact via a secure video connection, ensuring the integrity of the notarial act.

California Notary and the Adoption of RON

While some states quickly adopted RON, the California notary landscape has been more cautious. The California Secretary of State oversees notary public commissions and has been instrumental in setting the guidelines for how notaries can operate within the state. As of now, while RON is gaining traction, notaries need to stay updated with the California Secretary of State’s directives on this front.

The Traditional Notarial Act vs. RON

The traditional notarial act requires the signer to be physically present, ensuring the notary can verify their identity and willingness to sign the document. With RON, this process is digitized. Signers verify their identity digitally, and the entire process is recorded, providing an added layer of security.

Notarize Documents with Confidence

Whether you’re a California notary conducting a traditional notarial act or exploring RON, the primary goal remains: to notarize documents with integrity and by California law. As technology continues to evolve, so will the methods we notarize. However, the core principles of notarization remain unchanged.

The Essential Steps to a Notarization in California

Navigating the world of notarization can seem complex, but when broken down, the process is straightforward and methodical. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or seeking notary services for the first time, understanding the steps to a notarization is crucial. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the notarization process in California:

steps to a notarization
California notarization

1. Document Preparation

Before the notarization process begins, ensure that the document to be notarized is complete. A notary cannot notarize blank or incomplete documents. The signer should also read and understand the document but should not sign it yet.

2. Personal Appearance

The person whose signature is to be notarized must physically appear before the notary. This is essential for the notary to verify the signer’s identity and willingness to sign the document.

3. Identity Verification

The notary will ask for identification to verify the signer’s identity. Acceptable forms of ID in California include a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or other government-issued identification with a photograph and signature.

4. Willingness to Sign

The notary will ensure that the signer understands the document and is signing willingly, without any coercion. This step is crucial to protect the rights of the signer.

5. Document Signing

Once the notary is satisfied with the signer’s identity and willingness, the signer will sign the document in the notary’s presence.

6. Notary Journal Entry

The notary will record the notarial act in their official journal. Details typically include the date, type of document, type of notarial act, and the signer’s identification method.

7. Notarial Certificate Completion

The notary will complete the notarial certificate, which may be part of the document or attached to it. This certificate confirms that the signer appeared before the notary, was identified, and signed willingly.

8. Affixing the Notary Seal

The final step is for the notary to affix their official seal to the notarial certificate. This seal, combined with the notary’s signature, validates the notarization.


Notarization is a vital process ensuring important documents’ authenticity and integrity. By understanding the steps involved, notaries and signers can ensure a smooth, compliant, and efficient notarization process in California. Whether you’re a notary looking to refine your practice or someone preparing to have a document notarized, this guide is a valuable resource.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – California Notarization

1. What Cannot be notarized in California?

In California, certain documents cannot be notarized. These include vital records such as birth, death, or marriage certificates. Copies of these documents must be obtained from the appropriate agency. Additionally, notaries should not notarize any incomplete document or where the signer’s identity or willingness to sign is in doubt.

2. How does a notary work in California?

In California, a notary public is commissioned by the California Secretary of State. Their primary role is to verify the identity of individuals signing documents and ensure they are signing willingly. The notary will affix their seal and signature to the document, completing the notarization process. Notaries in California must also maintain a journal of all notarial acts they perform.

3. Can a California notary notarize anywhere in California?

A notary commissioned in California can notarize documents anywhere within the state’s borders. They are not restricted to the county where they received their commission.

4. Can an out-of-state notary notarize in California?

No, an out-of-state notary cannot perform notarial acts within California. Only individuals commissioned by the California Secretary of State can notarize documents in the state. If a document is notarized outside of California but will be used within the state, it may be accepted. Still, the notarization itself must be performed according to the laws of the state where the notary is commissioned.


California notarization is at an exciting crossroads. With the rise of remote online notarization, notaries in the state can expand their services and reach a broader clientele. However, it’s crucial always to prioritize compliance with California law and the guidelines set by the California Secretary of State. As we progress, the California notary will play a crucial role in blending tradition with innovation, ensuring the integrity of notarial acts in the digital age.

Notary Public Class
Author: Notary Public Class

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