How to Become an Oregon Notary
The Oregon Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming an Oregon notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Oregon notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Oregon appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Oregon is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become an Oregon notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become an Oregon notary
- The process to become an Oregon notary
- Basic Oregon notary duties
Qualifications to become a notary in Oregon:
To become a notary in Oregon, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a resident of Oregon or have a place of employment or practice in Oregon
- Be able to read and write English
- Not have been convicted of a felony or of any crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit during the 10-year period preceding the date of application
- Not have had a notary public commission revoked during the 10-year period preceding the application date
- Not be disqualified under ORS 194.340 to receive a commission
The process to become a notary in Oregon:
In order to become an Oregon notary and receive an Oregon notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Pass a criminal background check conducted by the Secretary of State.
- Complete a notary training course offered by the Secretary of State at no charge or an entity approved by the Secretary of State
- Pass the required Secretary of State’s Notary Public exam through their online system.
- Continue on through the Secretary of State’s online system to the application portion after completing the training and exam. (Paper applications are no longer available.)
- Download and print the PDF attachment of the Notary Public Application and Oath of Office sent by the Secretary of State via email after the background check was completed. Do not fill or change the application section of the form.
- Send the notarized Oath of Office and the Notary Public Application to the Secretary of State with the $40 processing fee within 30 days of it being issued, if not, the applicant will need to reapply.
- Download the PDF attachment of the Certificate of Authorization and Commission Certificate sent by the Secretary of State after receiving and processing the notarized Oath of Office.
- Take the Certificate of Authorization to a vendor to purchase a notary stamp.
To begin the application process, go to the Secretary of State online system: https://secure.sos.state.or.us/notary/extrnl/home.
Can a non-resident become a notary in Oregon?
Yes. A non-resident of any state can become an Oregon notary public if the person (1) meets the qualifications as an Oregon resident; (2) maintains a place of employment or practice in Oregon; and (3) provides his or her employer’s information. If a non-resident notary changes his or her place of employment or practice in Oregon during the term of the notary’s commission, he or she is required to provide a written notice to the Corporation Division within 30 days after such change by completing the Notary Information Change form. Download this form at http://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.
Is an Oregon notary bond required to become a notary in Oregon?
No. An Oregon notary public does not have to be bonded in Oregon pursuant to the Oregon notary statute.
Do I need an Oregon notary errors & omission insurance?
Optional. Errors and Omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. The American Association of Notaries encourages Oregon notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Oregon?
To become a notary public in Oregon, a notary applicant’s required expenses include the following: (1) a $40 filing fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a notary stamp; (3) a journal; (4) the course of study and examination; and (5) the recommended notary bond.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Oregon?
The term of office of an Oregon notary public is for four years commencing on the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; or (4) when the notary public ceases to reside in Oregon; or (5) when the non-resident notary’s place of employment or practice is no longer in Oregon.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Oregon?
An Oregon notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Oregon. Likewise, an Oregon notary public may not perform notarial acts outside this state.
Who appoints Oregon notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints Oregon notaries public.
To contact the Oregon Secretary of State:
255 Capitol Street N.E., Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327
How do I renew my Oregon notary commission?
An Oregon notary public may file a new application for reappointment 2 ½ months before the expiration of his or her current commission. Oregon notaries public with an active commission are exempt from the notary training requirements if they complete and pass the exam and submit their application before their commission expiration date. To renew a notary commission, visit the Secretary of State website at https://secure.sos.state.or.us/notary/extrnl/home.
Are there any exams or notary course requirements?
Yes. All new notary applicants and inactive notaries public are required to complete a notary training course that is offered by the Secretary of State at no charge, or such training can be attained through a certified education provider for a fee. After the notary training requirements, the new notary applicants and inactive notaries are required to take and pass the Secretary of State Notary Public examination through their online system. Renewing notaries public may skip the notary training requirements; however, these notaries are required to pass the online Secretary of State Notary exam prior to submitting their application for reappointment.
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Oregon?
Yes. Oregon notary law requires all notaries public to use a rubber-inked stamp to authenticate all notarial acts. Section 194.290 of the Oregon Revised Statutes and Rule 160-100-0100 of the Oregon Administrative Rules provides the layout and the information required on all official notary stamps.
Required Elements: The official notary stamp must contain the following words, in descending order, centered in the official stamp to the right of the state seal:
- The words “Official Stamp”
- The name of the notary public
- The words “Notary Public—Oregon”
- The words “Commission No. ________” (the notary’s commission number)
- The words “My Commission Expires_____” (Example: January 1, 2018—month spelled out, two-digit date, and complete year)
Note: Neither the Oregon Revised Statutes nor the Oregon Administrative Rules provide the dimensions or format specifications for an official notary stamp. A notary public may use an embosser in the performance of a notarial act but only in addition to the notary’s official stamp.
Is a notary journal required in Oregon?
Yes. Section 194.300 of the Oregon Revised Statutes requires an Oregon notary public to maintain one or more journals in which the notary chronicles all notarial acts that the notary public performs. A journal may be created on a tangible medium or in an electronic format to chronicle all notarial acts, regardless of whether those notarial acts are performed for tangible or electronic records. If the journal is maintained on a tangible medium, it must be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. If the journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format in compliance with the rules of the Secretary of State. Oregon notaries must retain their journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the journal. For Oregon notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
How much can an Oregon notary charge for performing notarial acts?
Oregon notary fees are set by statute (ORS §194.400 and OAR 160- 100-0400). The maximum allowable fees that an Oregon notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $10.00
- Oaths or affirmations - $10.00
- Verification upon oaths or affirmation - $10
- Copy certification - $10.00
- Witnessing or attesting a signature - $10.00
- Protests - $10.00
Note: An Oregon notary public is allowed to charge a travel fee, separate from the notarial fee, only if the travel fee amount is agreed upon prior to meeting with the customer. If a notary public charges fees pursuant to Section 194.400 for performing notarial acts, the notary public shall display, in English, a list of the fees the notary public will charge.
What notarial acts can an Oregon notary public perform?
An Oregon notary public is authorized to perform seven notarial acts:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths or affirmations
- Verifications upon oath or affirmation
- Protests instruments
- Witness or attest a signatures
- Certify copies of non-recordable documents
- Any other act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record, that a notarial officer may perform under the law of this state
Can I perform electronic notarization in Oregon
Yes. Oregon notaries public may notarize electronically; that is, the stamp image and certificate they use may be electronically affixed to the document that is still in electronic form. Before Oregon notaries begin notarizing electronically, they must first notify the Secretary of State of their intentions to notarize electronically. Section 160-100-0140 of the Oregon Administrative Rules provides the requirements for the notarization technology. The Oregon notary is directed to use a kind of electronic notarization that conforms to the National Electronic Notarization Standards. While Oregon notaries are allowed to perform electronic notarizations, Oregon law still requires a document signer personally appear before a notary public without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or facsimile machines during the entire electronic notarization. A video image or other form of non-physical representation is not a personal appearance in front of a notary public under law. Therefore, Oregon notaries public are prohibited from performing online webcam notarizations. Notaries who notarize remotely are in violation of Oregon laws, and are subject to administrative and possibly criminal and civil sanctions.
How do I change my address?
An Oregon notary public whose residence changes during the term of the notary’s commission is required to submit a notarized “Notary Information Change” form to the Secretary of State within 30 days after such change. Download this form at http://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.
How do I change my name on my Oregon notary commission?
Optional. An Oregon notary public whose name is legally changed during the term of the notary’s commission is required to submit a notarized “Notary Information Change” form to the Secretary of State within 30 days after such name change. In addition, changing the notary commission name to the new name requires obtaining a new notary stamp. Download this form at http://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.
An Oregon notary public, or his or her representative, is required to submit a signed “Termination of Notary Public Commission” form to the Secretary of State’s office within 30 days if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence in Oregon during the term of the notary’s commission; (2) no longer maintains a place of employment or practice in Oregon; (3) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (4) is deceased; (5) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Secretary of State’s revocation process; or (6) results in the adjudication of incompetency. In the case of death or revocation, the notary’s records must be deposited with the Secretary of State within 30 days. In case of a resignation, the notary records must be deposited with the Secretary of State within 90 days. The official notary stamp must be immediately destroyed.
Prohibited Oregon notarial acts
These activities by an Oregon notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
- Notarizing a document if the notary is a signer or named in the document to be notarized
- Endorsing or promoting any product, service, contest, or other offering if the notary’s title or seal is used in the endorsement or promotional statement
- Making representations to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the notary does not have including the power to counsel on immigration matters
- Using the phrase “notario” or “notario publico” to advertise notary services
- Acting as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters
- Representing an individual in a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, United States citizenship, or related matters
- Receiving compensation for immigration services
- Notarizing a document if the notary cannot establish the identity of the signer through satisfactory evidence of identity
- Notarizing a document if the signer does not personally appear before the notary at the time of the notarization
- Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
- Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law
- Engaging in false or deceptive advertising
- Notarizing any document if his or her spouse is named in it or may directly benefit from the document
- Committing any act involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit with the intent to substantially benefit the notary public or another or substantially injure another
- Using a notary stamp that does not conform to the notary stamp statutory requirements
- Notarizing his or her own signature
- Notarizing the signature of his or her spouse
- Engaging in official notarial misconduct
- Affixing a notary stamp over any signature in a document to be notarized or any writing in a notarial certificate
- Permitting any other person to use his or her notary stamp to perform notarial acts
- Executing any notarial certificate he or she knows it contains false statements
- Taking an oath over the telephone
Official notarial misconduct:
Oregon notaries public, who commit official malfeasance, may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action for any of the following unlawful activities:
194.340 Grounds to deny, revoke, suspend or condition commission of notary public.
(1) The Secretary of State may deny, revoke, suspend, or impose a condition on a commission as a notary public for:
- (a) Failure of the applicant or notary public to comply with any provision of this chapter, any rule adopted by the Secretary of State under this chapter, or any other state or federal law relating to any duty required of a notary public;
- (b) A fraudulent, dishonest, or deceitful misstatement or omission in the application for a commission as a notary public submitted to the secretary;
- (c) A conviction of the applicant or notary public for any felony or for a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;
- (d) A conviction of the applicant or notary public for: (A) Acting as or otherwise impersonating a notary public as described in ORS 194.990(1)(b); (B) Obstructing governmental or judicial administration under ORS 162.235 (1)(b); or (C) Engaging in the unlawful practice of law as described in ORS 9.160;
- (e) A finding by a court that the applicant or notary public: (A) Practiced law without a license in a suit under ORS 9.166; or (B) Engaged in an unlawful trade practice described in ORS 646.608 (1)(vvv);
- (f) Entering into an assurance of voluntary compliance, pursuant to ORS 646.632, based on an alleged violation of ORS 646.608 (1)(vvv);
- (g) A finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or notary public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant’s or notary public’s fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;
- (h) Use of false or misleading advertising or representation by the notary public representing that the notary public has powers, qualifications, rights or privileges that the notary public does not have, including the power to counsel on immigration matters;
- (i) Denial, revocation, suspension, or conditioning of a commission as a notary public in another state; or
- (j) Execution of any certificate as a notary public containing a statement known to the notary public to be false.
Advertising as a “Notario” can have serious consequences:
- It is illegal under the State’s notary laws and the Unlawful Trade Practice statutes.
- It can be prosecuted under the Unauthorized Practice of Law.
- Federal, state and county prosecutors, including the Oregon State Bar, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Attorney General and local District Attorneys have and will take offenders to court.
- Penalties include: permanent injunction of trade, fines, notary commission revocation, and actual and punitive damages under civil suit.
Oregon notary laws and regulations:
Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 194, Sections 194.205 through 194.440 (“Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts”)
Oregon Administrative Rules, Chapter 160, Division 100, “Notaries Public”
Oregon notarial certificates:
Click here to view Oregon’s notarial certificates.
Revised: December 2017
Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.