top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrian Klein

Types of Notary Acts

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

People reviewing documents

When you need a document notarized, it is up to you to let the notary know what type of notarization you need, especially if the document does not already contain a notarial block with the type of notarization required.

Wait, what? There are difference types of notarizations? Yep, you betcha, but fear not. Keep reading and you'll learn about the various types of acts that notaries perform.

An acknowledgment is an an act notaries my perform

The most common of the notarial acts, an acknowledgment is used to ensure that the person or persons signing the document are who they claim to be and that they have signed the document of their own free will.

To complete an acknowledgment:

  1. The signer must personally appear before the notary on the date and in the state and county on the notary certificate

  2. The signer has to be identified properly by the notary.

  3. The signer acknowledges that they signed the document voluntarily and for the purpose stated within the document.

The document does not have to be signed in the presence of a notary. The document signer does need to acknowledge that they in fact were the person who signed the document.

Verification on oath or affirmation is another act notaries mat perform.

The second most common notarial act is called a jurat or verification upon oath or affirmation. The purpose of this act is for the signer to affirm or swear that the contents of the document are true.

To complete a jurat:

  1. The signer must personally appear before the notary on the date and in the state and county on the notary certificate

  2. The signer has to be identified properly by the notary.

  3. The notary must administer an oath or affirmation with the signer affirming that the information in the document is true.

  4. The notary has to witness the signer sign the document at the time the notarization takes place.

Administration of the oath or affirmation is of extreme importance to this notarial act as the signer can be prosecuted for perjury if the contents are not true!


Once in a while, an oral oath or affirmation is needed to compel truthfulness from the person taking the oath or affirmation. An oath is a solemn pledge on the behalf of a supreme being or higher power. An affirmation is solemn pledge based on the individual's personal honor. The choice of which of these is used lies with the signer.

By taking an oath or affirmation, a person may be subject to criminal penalties should they be found to have committed perjury.

Copy Certification

When a notary certifies a copy of a document, the notary is certifying that said copy is a true, complete and accurate reproduction of the original document. In certifying the copy, the notary is not attesting to the validity and accuracy of the document's contents.

Notarial laws greatly vary from state to state on what document copies can be certified so please be sure to check your state's laws or ask a notary in your state what document copies they can certify.

Documents that may be copied and certified by a notary in Pennsylvania include:

  • Public records

  • Passports & driver's licenses

  • Transcripts

  • Diplomas

  • Contracts

  • Leases & bills of sale

  • Medical records

  • Consents & waivers

  • Powers of attorney

Signature Witnessing
Signature witnessing is another notary acts that notaries can perform for you

Some states allow notaries to perform signature witnessing. In this notarial act, the notary certifies that the person appearing before them is who they say they are and that the signature on the document or record is in fact that person's signature.

While this act appears similar to those mentioned above, the main difference between signature witnessing and an acknowledgment is that the notary actually witnesses the signer sign the document. The main difference between a jurat or oath/affirmation is that the signer does not have an oath administered.


While a rare act in Pennsylvania, a protest is a statement, written by a notary or another officer that a payment has not been received. Protests must:

  1. Identify the negotiable instrument

  2. Certify either the presentment has been made or if not, why

  3. State that the instrument has been dishonored by non-acceptance or nonpayment

  4. It may also certify that the notice of dishonor has been given to some of the parties or all of the parties

Protests are usually complicated and require knowledge of certain financial & legal terminology and, as such, are generally performed by notaries employed by financial institutions.


A deposition is a transcript of a person's oral statements, generally is legal proceedings. The signer of a deposition is known as the deponent. In Pennsylvania, notaries may transcribe depositions, however, this is normally completed by trained shorthand reporters.

I hope this gave you some good insight on the types of acts notaries complete for their clients!


When you are in need of traveling or online notary services, get in touch with Blue Ink Notary by calling us at 484-509-1405 or by email at


bottom of page