Notarial Certificate Information

Notarial Certificate Information


Many notaries choose to purchase loose certificate forms, but did you know that you can print loose certificates directly from the California Secretary of State’s website? PDF versions of the California Acknowledgement and Jurat notary certificates are available at no cost for you to print from your home or office.

Acknowledgement and Jurat certificates are the two most common notarial certificates used by California Notaries Public. If you are a California Notary, or are training to become one, you should be sure to familiarize yourself with these forms – and the differences between them. A jurat is used when the signer is swearing to the validity of the content of a document and requires the notary to administer and oath or affirmation to the signer. An acknowledgement is used to verify the identity of a signer and to confirm that they are the person who signed the document.

Always remember that although it is the notary’s job to know the difference between these two types of notarial certificates, the notary public is not permitted to decide which notarial certificate should be used on behalf of a signer. The signer (or the originator of the document) must make that determination, and the signer must communicate which type of certificate is needed to the notary public.

How to Complete a Jurat Notary Certificate

In order to complete a jurat, the signer must personally appear before the notary public, and must sign the document in the presence of the notary public. The notary public must also obtain satisfactory evidence of the signer’s identity.

The notary will administer an oath or affirmation to the signer. There is no legally prescribed wording for the oath or affirmation, but the California Secretary of State’s notary handbook recommends the following: “Do you swear or affirm that the statements in this document are true?” It is traditional for both the signer and the notary public to raise their right hand while the oath or affirmation is administered, but this is not a legal requirement.

The notary public will then complete the jurat form with the following information:

  • The venue (county) where the jurat was executed
  • The date that the jurat was executed
  • The name of the signer
  • The signature of the notary
  • The notary public’s seal

The notary public must then make an entry in their sequential notary journal which includes the signer’s identification information, the type of notarial act performed, the date and time that the jurat was executed, fees collected, and document information.

How to Complete an Acknowledgement Notarial Certificate

When executing an Acknowledgement, the signer must personally appear before the notary public and must provide satisfactory evidence of their identity. Although the signer is not required to sign the document in the presence of the notary, the signer must acknowledge that they did sign the document.

The notary public will then complete the acknowledgement form with the following information:

  • The venue (county) where the acknowledgement was executed
  • The date that the acknowledgement was executed
  • The name of the signer
  • The signature of the notary
  • The notary public’s seal

The standard California acknowledgement form contains a variety of gender specific and plural pronouns so that it can be used in cases of male, female, or multiple signers. To complete this type of notarial certificate, the notary must cross out the pronouns that do not apply to the signer.

The notary public must then make an entry in their sequential notary journal which includes the signer’s identification information, the type of notarial act performed, the date and time that the acknowledgement was executed, fees collected, document information, and thumbprint if applicable.

Still have notary certificate questions? View our visual step-by-step guide to completing Acknowledgement and Jurat notary certificates.