Oregon Notary Public FAQ's
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 160-100-0220.
Is my notary journal a public record that anyone may look at? ORS
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.
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 Secretary of State, 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 ommissions)
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. A notary public must be an impartial witness. The law does not forbid notaries from notarizing the signatures of relatives, but it is not a good practice. If the document was 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 194.158.
May I use a subscribing witness when doing a notarization?
No, not according to notary law. There is a special provision in Real Estate law which allows for a subscribing witness in a limited number of real estate transactions. Should this come up, the notary public would need to consult with legal counsel.
May I notarize for a minor?
Yes. A minor must provide acceptable ID just as an adult would (or be personally known or have a credible witness) ORS 194.515(6).
Have the minor put his or her age next to the signature so that the receiving party realizes that they are dealing with a minor. Note the age of the minor in the notary journal.
Minors must be competent when signing. Ask questions of the minor such as "What kind of document are you signing?" What will the document do?'" Do you want to sign the document?:" If the notary public is not comfortable with the answers the minor gives, he or she should refuse to notarize, noting why in the notary journal, and advise the customer to seek legal advice.
May I choose a notarial certificate to go on a document?
No. An Attorney General's opinion states: "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 (For example: I certify that this is an actual photgraph of myself), and the customer asks the notary public to witness his or her signature on that statement, the notary public may (if there is room on the photo for the notarial certificate, notary public signature and official notary seal) notarize the photograph.
For smaller photographs the customer may 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 (venue, statement, official notary seal, and signature), use the official notary seal a second time so that it overlaps the photograph and the paper it is attached to (be careful not to cover the face on the photo) This is a protection device which allows the receiving agency to know that the photograph is the one attached to the document at the time of notarization.
May I correct a mistake I made in a notary certificate several days
after it was executed?
Yes, corrections can be made. Only the notary public may make corrections that are needed, and the corrections must be made on the original document, i.e. the notary public cannot send a new attachment certificate, the original must be corrected.