Oregon Notary Public FAQ

Where do I find information on becoming a notary?

​Read the Notary Public Guide for complete steps on becoming an Oregon notary public.​

Where do I find forms to update my notary information?

​Go to Notary Public Forms to download and print a form to update your information.​

If two people sign the same document, do I charge $10 or $20?

​The fee would be $20. The fee is per signature/person. Even if the notary public is using one notarial certificate, the notary public in this case is identifying and witnessing two separate executions on the document - OAR 160-100-0400​.​

What if I have multiple entries for my journal?

​Duplicate originals with the same name and date may be recorded as a single entry in the notarial journal - OAR 194.300(4)​

Is my notary journal a public record that anyone may look at?

​Most notaries public are exempt from disclosing the notary journal contents unless requested by the Secretary of State Corporation Division, or when required by subpoena - ORS 194.300(9)​.​

If the notary journal is in the possession of the Secretary of State's office, or if the notary public is a public official or public employee, then the notarial journal falls under the public record disclosure laws. Should the Corporation Division deem that it is in the public interest not to disclose such information, the notary journal would not be made public.

It is reasonable for a customer to see his or her own entry recorded in the notary journal, but the entries above and below should be covered to protect the privacy of those individuals.​

Am I required to be bonded or have liability (errors and omissions) insurance?

​Oregon does not require its notaries public to be bonded or to have liability insurance. This is left to the discretion of the notary public. Liability insurance protects the notary public. Bonding protects the customer from the notary public.​​

May I notarize my own signature and the signatures of relatives?

​A notary public cannot notarize his or her own signature or the signature of their spouse.  A notary public must be an impartial witness. The law doesn't forbid notaries from notarizing the signatures of relatives, yet doing so isn't a good practice. If the document were ever taken to court, a judge might determine that the notary public was not impartial or had influenced a relative in the signing of the document - ORS 194.225​.​​

What are the new identification requirements?

Can be expired up to 3 years before the date of notarization.

Driver License or ID card from any state, or
Driver Instructional Permit, 
Provisional, or Limited Term Driver License.
​Or Nonexpired, Temporary Driver License or ID card. 

U.S. or Foreign (recognized) passport. 
Book or Card

U.S. Military ID cards. 

ID from a federally recognized Indian tribe. 

U.S. government issued ID (any) with both picture and signature.

May I choose a notarial certificate to go on a document?

​No. According to an attorney general's opinion: "The notary public should not take it upon himself or herself to select or substitute a certificate on behalf of the person. In addition to the risk that the notary public may be found to be unlawfully practicing law, there is also some possibility that the notary public may become involved in litigation if the document is later found not to accomplish what was intended by the parties, and the problem is with a certificate that the notary public selected."​

May I notarize a photograph?

​Although a photograph itself may not be notarized, the notary public may notarize a statement about the photograph. If the customer has a statement on the back of the photograph, such as "I certify that this is an actual photograph of me," and asks the notary public to witness his or her signature on that statement, the notary public may notarize the photograph. For this to work, there must be room on the photo for the notarial certificate, notary public signature and official notary seal.

For smaller photographs, the customer can make a statement about the photograph on a piece of paper referring to "the attached photo." As long as the notary public is just witnessing the customer's signature per the customer's instruction, the notary public may notarize.

After the notarial certificate is completed with venue, statement, official notary seal and signature, use the official notary seal a second time such that it overlaps the photograph and the paper it is attached to. Be careful not to cover the face on the photo. This action makes it clear to the receiving agency that the photograph is the one attached to the document when it was notarized.​​

May I correct a mistake in a notary certificate several days after it was executed?

​Yes, corrections can be made. Only the notary public may make corrections, and they must be made on the original document, i.e. the notary public cannot send a new attachment certificate. The original must be corrected.​​

Can I complete an I-9 form?

If you have questions about notarizing and completing I-9 forms, check out these instructions (reprinted with permission from the National Notary Association).

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