There are several important things you should know or do to make sure your NYC traveling notary signing and/or NY apostille processing goes smoothly:
FOR NY MOBILE NOTARIZATIONS – Top 11
1) Physical Presence: The signer(s) being notarized must be present at the time of the NY notarization.
2) ID: The signer(s) must have photo ID that covers the names shown on the document (for example, if your middle name is spelled out on the document, it must be spelled out on your photo ID). The ID can have more than the document, just not less.
3) Document Is Ready and Printed: You must have the document in your possession, reviewed by the signer and printed before an appointment can be made. We have seen too many instances where a document expected to be completed by a certain time is then not ready by the scheduled appointment time. We also cannot draft documents for you. We can print the document for you that you email to us (see Pricing and Payment section) if we are given enough notice and are near a printing facility when on the road already. We don’t recommend printing your document 2-sided as that can sometimes be an issue with your receiving party. It is typically best to print 1-sided unless provided that way by your attorney and he or she knows the receiving authority will be okay with it.
4) The Name on the Document vs. Name on ID: Make sure the name on the document is spelled correctly, has your name in the right order and was checked against the signer’s ID. The photo ID can have more of the signer’s names than what is on the document, but not less. For example, if the document to be notarized includes the signer’s middle initial and the ID has the middle name spelled out, that is okay, but it is not okay for the document has the middle name spelled out but the ID only has the middle initial, so we don’t know if it truly the person mentioned on the document (as the initial could be short for a different name and person). Also, it is okay to use a commonly known nickname on your documents, like Jim for James (where “James” is on the ID, but document says “Jim”).
5) Blank Lines: We cannot notarize incomplete documents with incomplete blank lines (that you don’t have the information for) in the text above your signature line or just the last “signature page” without the rest of the document present.
6) Competency, Comprehension and Ability to Sign: All signers need to be competent to sign and be fully alert and be able to prove to the notary that they understand the contents being signed. Nodding or shaking one’s head or saying “yes” or “no” is not sufficient. If the signer cannot speak, then he or she will need to be able to write out complete sentences to questions such as: “Please explain what a Power of Attorney is or does?” We cannot notarize someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia or someone on medication that makes the signer extremely drowsy. You may need to go to court to be able to take over the signing responsibilities. They also have to have the strength to sign something that resembles a signature and is not just a mark on the page (unless a mark is the type of signature on signer’s photo ID).
7) Foreign Language: Each signer needs to be able to explain what he or she is signing in English directly to the notary, without a translator. It is not a problem if the document is in a foreign language, but the notary wording that we sign has to be in English or we can provide the notary wording on a stamp or separate piece of paper. Also, the signer’s name must be printed in English somewhere on the document. If it is only in the foreign language, and in a language with a different alphabet such as in Russian or Korean, the English name would also need to be typed or written near the signature line or so it can be matched with the name we write in the notary section. We don’t know how to write Russian or Korean letters when writing your name in our section.
8) Signature Issues: The signer needs to be able to sign in a way that resembles a signature, even if no longer looks like the original signature on an ID. If the signer can only make some kind of small mark or “x” on the signature line, then that is considered “signature by mark” and it adds additional layers of complexity that we are, unfortunately, not set up to handle.
9) Notary Section Setup: The notary section/statement and notary signature area must be completely on one page and not continue onto another page.
10) Payment:. Payment must be made before (through our website) or as soon as the notarization is complete and paid onsite. We do not do invoicing.
11) Review of Signer’s Signature Area and Notary Section: We must see a phone photo or scan of signer’s signature area and notary section (or whole document if it easier) emailed to us as about 40% of documents have an error or issue that needs to be fixed in advance or at the signing by revising it by hand (if that is okay with receiving authority).
FOR NY APOSTILLES
1) Correct Document: We need to make sure you have the right type of document or documents. For example, for a birth certificate or death certificate to receive an apostille, it must be a long-form birth certificate and you must have a Letter of Exemplification from the NYC Department of Health or Vitalchek.com (the letter comes automatically when you check off “apostille” to answer why you need the birth or death certificate within the Vitalchek system. You need to write “for apostille” on the NYC Health Department application.)
2) Title of Signer for Company or Organization Documents: When reviewing the documents, the County Clerk is going to be looking for a title for the signer if a company-related document to see that they have the authority to be making the statement he or she is making.
3) Checking that Documents Prepared in Foreign Countries Don’t Include Statements in Notary Sections that NY Notaries Cannot Sign. This is a major problem for documents prepared by lawyers in certain countries (mainly Spain and Mexico). The foreign country’s lawyers typically need the document signed by someone in NY but don’t bother to research what notaries can do here. Notaries in many other countries are like super-lawyers, where they have even greater power than a lawyer and can make and sign statements about the main document signer’s ability and his or her company’s status that NY notaries have no authority to state or certify. NY notaries, and most notaries in the US, can sign two things: A “notary acknowledgement” or a “notary jurat”…nothing else. If you google those two phrases and the wording goes beyond that, send it back to the lawyer for a rewrite.
Minor Margin Modifications: We will need to see the document in advance to make sure there is ample space for the State Department’s grommet (which can sometimes be placed a couple inches down the page) plus our NY notary stamps on the signature page. We also review the notary section at that time.