Notary Public Blog and Podcast of Sonita M. Leak, CNSA
Documents Not Written in English, Can We Notarize?
Dedicated to My Birthday Girl, Lianna Nicole
Written on September 5, 2018
Please do not take any of the following information as legal advice or advisement. It is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
Over the years I’ve had multiple people contact me stating that the notary they took their document to would not notarize on their behalf because of a document written in another language.
Let’s clear some things up; specifically in the State of South Carolina (different rules and regulations may apply in other states). There are documents that have to travel to other countries. Often, you will have signers that don’t know English and need to understand what they are signing. These are two situations in which parties have issues with getting a notary’s seal and signature.
Here in South Carolina, you have the ability to notarize the signature of the party of a non-English written document for as long as the document’s notarial language is written in English.
Let’s take for example the Greenville County, South Carolina’s School System Affidavit of Residence. The Affidavit of Residence form is specifically aimed toward parents who need to enroll their children into school, but reside with family, friends or loved ones. In order to enroll their student, they must have the resident of the address in which district they wish to enroll their child sign an Affidavit of Residence and have their signature notarized. You can pick up a copy of the Affidavit of Residence at any Greenville County School System school in either English or Spanish. What you will notice on the form is that although there are two versions of the document, the Spanish version still has the notarial language in English. Use this as an example.
One thing that you will need to ask your signer is if they know what they are signing, as you will not be able to decipher what the document says (that’s not your job anyway). You are also there to determine if they have Sound Mind to sign the document. If you are in a medical facility, often there is a social worker or other member of medical staff that can determine capacity of the signer.
Hope this helps,
Your Local Upstate Greenville/Spartanburg area Notary Public,