Can You Notarize Across State Lines?

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State Authority

Notarial law is state law. Individual states have the power to grant notarial commissions that authorize notaries to perform duties within that state. States also regulate the notary public while her commission is effective to be sure the notary follows the state's notarial regulations. A notary public serves the citizens of her state and visitors within her state's borders. Her state commission does not empower her to perform notarial acts in other states.


A notary public who unlawfully performs notarial duties out of state can be disciplined by the state in which he performs the duty and by his own state. The state of Oregon, for example, can assess a civil penalty against a person who performs a notarial act in Oregon without a commission as an Oregon notary public. The state can also discipline an Oregon notary public who performs a notarial act in another state.

Wrong State on Documents

If a notary public performs a lawful notarial act in her own state but the notarial certificate has been filled in or printed with an out-of-state location, the notary must cross out the wrong state on the document. She must then print the state and county where the notarization is actually being performed on the certificate and initial the change.

Out-of-State Move

When a notary public moves from one state to another, he must report the move to the state that authorized his notarial commission, resign his commission and relinquish his notarial journal to the state that commissioned him as a notary. He can apply for a notarial commission in his new state after he has met that state's residency requirements.


About the Author

Marilyn Lindblad practices law on the west coast of the United States. She has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites. Lindblad received her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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