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Acknowledgement vs. Jurat

When you need to get a document notarized, it is your responsibility to let the Notary Public know which form you require. A Notary Public is unable, by law, to tell you which document you will need; therefore,always check with the party who issued the document to you for which form to use. The two most commonly used forms are the acknowledgement and jurat, they are explained below.


The purpose of an acknowledgement is for a signer, whose identity has been verified, to declare to a Notary that he or she has willingly signed a document; it requires the following steps:

  1. The signer must physically appear before the Notary.

  2. The Notary must positively identify the signer according to state rules (Driver's Licence, State ID, Passport, etc.).

  3. The signer may either sign the document before appearing before the Notary, or in the Notary's presence.

  4. The signer must declare (acknowledge) signing the document for its intended purpose.

A notary public verifies only the identity of the individual signing the document and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of the document.

The signer must be able to directly communicate with the Notary that he or she willingly signed the document. In California, the Notary and signer must be able to communicate in the same language, a translator is not permitted.


The purpose of a jurat is for a signer to swear to or affirm the truthfulness of the contents of a document to a Notary; it requires the following steps:

  1. The signer must appear in person before the Notary and sign the document in the Notary's presence.

  2. In California, you are required to positively identify the signer (Driver's License, State ID, Passport, etc.).

  3. You must administer a spoken oath or an affirmation, and the signer must respond out loud in the affirmative. Silent answers such as a nod of the head are not acceptable.

While not required by law, it is strongly recommended that you have the signer raise his or her right hand to emphasize the seriousness of the oath or affirmation.

A jurat cannot be executed by someone offering to take the oath in someone else’s name. The original signer must swear or affirm the oath in person before the Notary.

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