A signature witnessing is a type of notarial act authorized in many states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania. To perform a signature witnessing, the Notary must have the signer personally appear and provide satisfactory proof of identity. The signer must then sign the document in the Notary’s presence, and the Notary then completes the appropriate notarial wording.
It is very important to be aware that a signature witnessing is NOT the same as an acknowledgment or jurat, though the acts are similar in some aspects. A signature witnessing is different from an acknowledgment in that it requires the document to be signed in the Notary’s presence. A signature witnessing is also different from a jurat because while both acts require the document to be signed in the Notary’s presence, a signature witnessing does not require the Notary to administer an oath or affirmation to the signer.
Also, a signature witnessing is an official notarial act and is NOT the same as a Notary being asked to witness a document in a non-Notary capacity (see “Document Witness Requests” below).
Sometimes when notarizing a document, a Notary or other individual will also be asked to serve as a document witness. Acting as a document witness is not an official notarial act. The Notary is being asked as a private individual to witness someone signing the document, in addition to officially notarizing one or more signatures on the document.