This clearly takes the top spot. One of the key reasons it comes up so often is that Notaries are confronted with a growing array of identity cards. Consider that every state and U.S. territory issues driver’s licenses and ID cards. On top of that, there are inmate IDs, tribal IDs and identity cards issued by federal government agencies. Then there are the identity cards and passports issued by every country in the world. Given the mobile nature of our society and the fact that there are 43 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S., there’s a good chance most Notaries will encounter an unfamiliar ID. Deciding whether an ID is acceptable depends on where you are commissioned, so you will need to know the requirements and guidelines of your state. Some states — such as California, Florida and Tennessee — provide specific lists of acceptable IDs. In these states, if the ID is not on the list, it is not acceptable.

Other jurisdictions — such as Kansas, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia — “recommend” types of ID or offer guidance about the elements of an acceptable ID. Still other states, including New York, do not offer any guidance. For these states, the NNA recommends that an acceptable ID be issued by a government agency and include the bearer’s recent photograph, signature and physical description.