Notarization of Document(s)

Michigan Department of State
Office of the Great Seal
Notary Public Information

Your notary commission is a statewide appointment. Once appointed, you may notarize anywhere within the State of Michigan.

After you have received your commission, you are authorized to take acknowledgments, administer oaths or affirmations, and witness or attest to a signature. A notary public may not be a signature witness and notarize the same document.

When a notary public takes a verification on oath or affirmation, or witnesses or attests to a signature, the individual signing the record must do so in the presence of the notary. There is no exception to this requirement.

An acknowledgment does not require that a record be signed in the notary's presence. An acknowledgment merely confirms the identity of the signer, who acknowledges that he or she signed the record. When taking an acknowledgment, a notary public must determine that the individual appearing before the notary and making the acknowledgment is the person whose signature is on the record. Again, a personal appearance before the notary is required.

When performing a notarial act, you should:

1.     Identify the individual either from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence. If you do not personally know the individual who is requesting a notarial act, ask to see a driver license, passport or state issued personal identification card. You can also identify an individual upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness if you personally know the witness and the witness personally knows the individual.

2.     Have the individual sign the document (or acknowledge his or her signature) in your presence. If an oath is required, administer the oath.

3.     Complete the notarial certificate. This must include all of the following: the date of notarization; your name; the county of appointment; the expiration date of your commission; and if performing a notarial act in a county other than your county of commission, the statement "Acting in the County of _______."  Always sign your name exactly as it appears on your application for commission as a notary public, including middle name or initial(s) if used.

The county of notarization (or "venue") is essential as it determines the legal jurisdiction in the event the notarization is challenged in a court of law. This is not the notary's county of residence or commission, although it may be the same.

Michigan law does not require notaries to use an embossed seal or rubber stamp on a document. However, documents sent out of state may require an embossed notary seal.