How to Become a Notary in Oregon
Guide to become a notary public in Oregon:
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 signings. 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 America Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This Oregon notary guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a notary in Oregon
- How to become a notary in Oregon
- The basic duties of a notary in Oregon
Who can become a notary public in Oregon?
To become an Oregon notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
1. Be at least 18 years of age.
2. Be a resident of Oregon or have a place of employment or practice in Oregon.
3. Be able to read and write English.
4. Not have had a notary public commission revoked during the ten-year period preceding the application date.
5. Not have been convicted of a felony or of any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit during the ten-year period preceding the date of application.
6. Not be disqualified under ORS 194.340 to receive a commission.
7. Not have been convicted of:
- acting as or otherwise impersonating a notary public as described in ORS 194.990;
- obstructing governmental or judicial administration under ORS 162.235(1)(b); or
- engaging in the unlawful practice of law as described in ORS 9.160.
8. Not have been found by a court to have:
- practiced law without a license in a suit under ORS 9.166; or
- engaged in an unlawful trade practice described in ORS 646.608(1)(vvv).
How to become a notary public in Oregon?
To become an Oregon notary public 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 training course by taking an in-person notary seminar or complete an online training course on the Secretary of State’s website.
- Pass the notary public examination. The exam can be taken through the Secretary of State’s online system. Alternatively, an applicant may complete and print the examination an include it in the paper application.
- Complete the notary public commission application either through the Secretary of State’s online system or by completing a paper notary application.
- Submit the notarized oath of office form and the printed notary application to the Secretary of State with the $40 processing fee within thirty days of its issuance. (If the applicant fails to do so within thirty days, he or she will need to re-apply and submit the application fee again.)
- Download and print the certificate of authorization and commission certificate sent by the Secretary of State upon approval.
- Take the certificate of authorization to a vendor to purchase an official stamp. (Use the same certificate to obtain an electronic notarization technology, if applicable.)
Note. To start the initial notary application process, go to the Secretary of State's website.
How do I renew my notary commission in Oregon?
An Oregon notary public may apply for reappointment as notary public thirty days before the expiration of his or her current notarial commission. The Secretary of State does not send out a renewal notice. A notary public must submit a new application and follow the same application process and procedures as the initial application for appointment as a notary public, which includes passing the notary exam. Oregon notaries with an active notarial commission are exempt from the training course requirement if they pass the exam and submit their applications before their current commissions expire. An application for reappointment that is received after the commission expiration date will be processed as a new application for appointment as a notary public and will require the applicant to take the training course again. The application for reappointment process may take up to ten days or more. To apply for reappointment as a notary public, go to the Secretary of State's website at https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/commission-application-reapplication.aspx.
Who appoints notaries in Oregon?
The Oregon Secretary of States receives applications for appointment and reappointment as a notary public, administers the commissioning process, and maintains an electronic database of active notaries. To contact the Oregon Secretary of State, use the following information:
Oregon Secretary of State
255 Capitol Street N.E., Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327
Phone Number: (503) 986-2200
Fax Number: (503) 986-2300
Can a non-resident of Oregon apply for a commission as a notary public?
Yes. A non-resident may apply to become an Oregon notary public if the non-resident meets the following requirements (ORS 194.315[b]). A non-resident must:
- Have a place of employment or practice in Oregon.
- Satisfy the same qualifications as Oregon residents, setting aside the residency requirements.
- Submit a notary public commission application and follow the same application process and procedures as Oregon residents, including taking the mandatory training course and passing the notary public examination.
- Continuously maintain a place of employment or practice in Oregon during his or her commission term.
- Relinquish his or her notary public commission if he or she ceases to have a place of employment or practice in Oregon by returning the commission certificate to the Oregon Secretary of State.
A non-resident notary public must notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of any change in place of employment or practice in Oregon using the form prescribed by the Secretary of State (OAR 160-100-0170[f]). To download the Notary Information Change form, click here.
How long is a notary public's commission term in Oregon?
The commission term of an Oregon notary public is four years commencing with the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void:
- By resignation, death, or revocation.
- When a notary public is no longer a resident of Oregon during the notary’s commission term.
- When a notary loses his or her capability to read and write English.
- When a non-resident notary ceases to have a place of employment or practice in Oregon.
- When a notary has been convicted of a felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit.
- When a notary is disqualified for any grounds under ORS 194.340 to maintain a notarial commission.
Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in Oregon?
Yes. All first-time applicants seeking a notary public commission and inactive notaries whose commissions have expired are required to complete a mandatory training course (ORS 194.325). To satisfy the education course requirement, an individual can take an in-person seminar or complete an online training course. The mandatory training courses are offered and conducted by the Oregon Secretary of State at no charge, or such training courses can be accomplished through approved certified education providers for a fee. After completing the mandatory training course, the new applicants and inactive notaries are required to take and pass the notary public examination.
The exam is an open-book, true/false and multiple-choice test, based on materials found in the Secretary of State’s Notary Public Guide, live seminars, or online tutorials. The Secretary of State also offers advanced classes that discuss employee notary issues, notario publico, elder abuse fraud, challenging notarial certificates, and electronic notarizations, among other topics for those who are experienced, commissioned notaries public. The advanced classes do not meet the training course requirements to help applicants pass the exam for a notary public commission. For more information on approved courses and the state’s free online tutorial, visit the Secretary of State’s website at https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-training.aspx.
How much does it cost to become a notary public in Oregon?
An Oregon notary applicant’s expenses may include the following:
- A $40 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment as a notary public.
- The cost of an Oregon notary stamp.
- The cost of an Oregon notary journal.
- Tuition for a notary course of study offered by an approved certified education provider.
- The fee for an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to purchase one for his or her personal protection against liability.
Do I need a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to become a notary in Oregon?
An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Oregon. It is not mandatory to have E&O insurance when applying for appointment or reappointment as a notary public. However, the American Association of Notaries recommends that Oregon notaries obtain an errors and omissions insurance policy for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial or other type of loss to the public or from a client who sues for recovery. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage an Oregon notary selects.
Do I need a notary bond to become a notary in Oregon?
All initial applicants seeking appointments as notaries public and renewing notaries applying for reappointment are not legally required to purchase and maintain a notary surety bond to be commissioned as notaries public in Oregon.
Do I need to order a notary stamp in Oregon?
Yes. The Oregon notary statute requires all notaries public who perform a notarial act regarding a tangible record to affix an Oregon notary stamp to the certificate (ORS 194.280). Section 194.290 and OAR 160-100-0100 provide the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all official stamps.
Dimensions: The Oregon notary statute does not provide the legal dimensions for an official stamp.
Required Elements: An official stamp of a notary public shall contain the state seal, as described in ORS 186.020, and the following words, in descending order, centered in the official stamp to the right of the state seal:
- The words “Official Stamp.”
- The printed name of the notary public.
- The words “Notary Public — Oregon.”
- The words “Commission No. ________” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission number.
- The words “My Commission Expires_____” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission expiration date expressed in terms of the month (spelled out), two-digit date, and complete year.
An official stamp must make a legible imprint capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated (ORS 194.290 and OAR 60-100-0120). A notary public may use an embosser in the performance of a notarial act but only in addition to the notary public’s official stamp (OAR 160-100-0130). Upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of the notary’s commission, the notary public must disable his or her official stamp by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing, or otherwise securing the device against use (ORS 194.295).
How much can an Oregon notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
The Oregon notary fees are set by state notary laws (ORS §194.400 and OAR 160- 100-0400). The maximum allowable fees that an Oregon notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $10.00
- Oaths or affirmations - $10.00
- Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $10.00
- Copy certification - $10.00
- Witness or attest signatures - $10.00
- Protest instruments- $10.00
- 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.
Travel—An Oregon notary public may charge an additional fee for traveling to perform a notarial act if:
- The notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the fee is in addition to a fee specified by notary law and is in an amount not determined by law.
- The person requesting the notarial act agrees in advance upon the amount of the additional fee (ORS 194.400an[b]).
Mandatory: 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 he or she will charge in a conspicuous location in his or her place of business or give a copy of the notice to any person requesting a notarial act to read before having the notarial act performed (ORS 194.400 and OAR 160-100-0410). A place of business is defined as the notary’s residence, business office, or any other location in which the notary public performs a notarial act.
Waiver of Notary Fees: A notary public may file with the Secretary of State a statement waiving the right to charge a notarial fee (OAR 160-100-0420). If a statement of waiver is filed, the notary public shall:
- Not charge, attempt to charge, or receive any notarial fee for a notarial act performed after the date the notary filed the statement of waiver.
- Not display a list of notarial fees otherwise required by OAR 160-100-0410.
To resume charging a fee for notarial acts, the notary public must file with the Secretary of State a written statement withdrawing the statement of waiver and must comply with the requirements of OAR 160-100-0400 and 160-100-0410. To download the Notary Information Change form, go the Secretary of State's website at https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.
Is a notary journal required in Oregon?
A notary journal (also known as a record book, log book, or register book) is your first line of defense in proving your innocence if a notarial act you performed is questioned or if you are requested to testify in a court of law about a notarial act you performed in the past. A properly recorded notarial act creates a paper trail that will help investigators locate and prosecute signers who have committed forgery and fraud. Properly recorded notarial acts provide evidence that you followed your state laws and notary’s best practices.
Notary journal requirements in Oregon for traditional notarizations, in-person electronic notarizations and remote online notarizations (RONs) – Oregon notaries are required to maintain a notarial journal. Although, the two required notarial acts to be record in the notarial journal are witnessing a signature and acknowledgment (individual and representative capacity), the Secretary of State strongly recommends that all notarial acts be recorded in the journal. The notarial journal may be in electronic or paper format. 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 complying with the rules of the Secretary of State.
The American Association of Notaries offers a wide variety of notary journals.
Click here to purchase a tangible notary journal.
Click here to become a member and access our electronic notary journal.
What information must Oregon notaries record in their notary journals?
Oregon requires notaries to chronicle the following information in their notary journals when performing traditional notarizations, in-person electronic notarizations and remote online notarizations:
- Date and time the notarial act was performed.
- Type of notarial act performed.
- Date of the document notarized.
- Document type notarized: grant deed, affidavit, contract, foreign invitation, student transcript, etc.
- Printed full name and contact address of the signer.
- Signature of the signer.
- Description of how the notary public identified the signer. If identification documents were used to identify the signer, the description shall consist of the name of the organization that issued the document, the type of document, and the document’s expiration date (e.g. ODL, exp. 8-8-2025). Do not record personal numbers such as a driver license, SSN or passport numbers in your journal.
- Additional information: describe any unusual circumstances, such as power of attorney; reason for refusal to notarize; corrections made to notarial certificate; representative authority (e.g., President of ABC Company); etc.
- Fees collected. Put a notation that there was no charge if no fees were collected.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Oregon?
An Oregon notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county anywhere within the geographic borders of Oregon (ORS 194.255an). Likewise, an Oregon notary public may not perform notarial acts outside of Oregon.
What notarial acts can an Oregon notary public perform?
An Oregon notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (ORS 194.215):
- Taking acknowledgments.
- Administering oaths and affirmations.
- Taking verifications upon oath or affirmation.
- Witnessing or attesting signatures.
- Certifying or attesting a copy of certain documents.
- Noting protests of negotiable instruments.
- Any other act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record, that a notarial officer may perform under the laws of Oregon.
Can I perform electronic notarizations in Oregon?
Yes. The Oregon Legislature enacted the “Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts,” which includes provisions authorizing a notary public to obtain an electronic or digital signature and electronic seal to notarize electronic records in the physical presence of the individual seeking the notarization (ORS 194.305). The Oregon Secretary of State also adopted regulations by final rulemaking relating to electronic notarization provisions with respect to electronic records for notaries public in Chapter 160, Division 100 in the Oregon Administrative Code. Furthermore, the State of Oregon enacted the “Electronic Transaction Act” (Chapter 84.031), which states, “If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record.” Moreover, Section 194.235 states, “If a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature shall appear personally before the notarial officer.”
What is the process to become an Oregon electronic notary public?
An Oregon notary public who wishes to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records must complete the following steps before notarizing electronically:
- Complete and submit the Electronic Notarization Notice form to the Secretary of State.
- Provide the Secretary of State a description of the tamper-evident technology he or she intends to use to perform notarial acts electronically.
- Include in the notice the name of the technology vendor, vendor contact information, vendor address, and vendor website URL. The notary’s technology must conform to the National Electronic Notarization Standards (NENS) adopted by the National Association of Secretaries of State. (The notice includes the notary making a statement under penalty of perjury that the method of electronic notarizations meets the NENS standards.)
- Include the following items with the notice: an example of an electronically notarized document that contains the notary’s electronic notary stamp; the electronic notarial signature, which is a graphic reproduction of the notary’s handwritten signature on file with the Secretary of State; and the electronic notarial certificate. The accompanying documents submitted to the Secretary of State must be in PDF format.
The Secretary of State will send the notary a confirmation to verify approval. The maximum fee for an electronic notarization is $10 plus a pre-negotiated travel fee if applicable.
An e-notary is required to maintain a journal in which he or she chronicles all notarial acts performed electronically (ORS 194.300). A person may not require a notary public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a technology that the notary has not selected (ORS 194.305). To initiate the process to perform electronic notarizations, visit the Secretary of State’s website at https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/electronic-notarization.aspx.
Can I perform remote online notarizations in Oregon?
Yes. Effective on June 15, 2021, Oregon notaries public are allowed to perform remote online notarizations (RON). Senate Bill 765 (2021) authorizes a commissioned notary public to perform notarial acts using audio/video technology for remotely located individuals under certain circumstances using vendors meeting specific requirements. The remote online notarization provisions also allow notaries from other states to perform remote online notarizations for Oregonians.
How do I become a remote online notary in Oregon?
Before an Oregon notary public performs remote online notarization, the notary must:
- Be a current, active Oregon notary public.
- Complete a remote online notarization training course on the Secretary of State’s website.
- Contract with a qualified remote online vendor who meet the system requirements set forth in OAR 160-100-0805 and OAR 160-100-0855.
- Email the Remote Notarization Notice form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Upon approval, the Secretary of State will send the notary a notice confirming approval.
A notary may charge $25 for each remote online notarial act. The certificate to perform remote online notarization is tied to the notary’s commission number. (When a notarial commission expires, the authorization to perform remote online notarizations expires with the commission.)
To initiate the process to perform remote online notarizations, click here.
Do I need an electronic notary stamp to notarize electronically in Oregon?
Yes. The Oregon laws dictate that if a notarial act regarding an electronic record is performed by a notarial officer and the certificate contains the information specified by law, an official stamp must be attached to or logically associated with the certificate (ORS 194.280 and OAR 160-100-0110[b]). OAR 160-100-0100 provides the legal specifications regarding the information required on official stamps for electronic records.
Required Elements: The official stamp of a notary public on an electronic record shall contain:
- The printed name of the notary public.
- The words “Notary Public --- Oregon.”
- The words “Commission No. ________” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission number.
- The words “My Commission Expires_____” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission expiration date, expressed in terms of the month (spelled out), two-digit date, and complete year.
How do I update my address on my Oregon notary commission?
An Oregon notary public must notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of a change of his or her public record address (OAR 160-100-0170). A notary public is legally required to update his or her public contact address by completing and submitting the Notary Information Change form to the Secretary of State within thirty days of such address change. No fee will be assessed for updating a notary’s public record address information. The public record address is available to the public in an online database. “The public record address can be a postal address or a street address” (Notary Public Guide). To download the Notary Information Change form, visit the Secretary of State website at https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.
How do I change my name on my notary commission in Oregon?
When an Oregon notary public has a legal name change, the notary is required by law to submit a notarized Notary Information Change form to the Secretary of State within thirty days after such name change (OAR 160-100-0170). When a notary public changes his or her official signature on file with the Secretary of State, the notary must also submit a notarized Notary Information Change form evidencing the signature change. Furthermore, changing the notarial commission name involves the cost of purchasing a new official stamp with the new name. To download the Notary Information Change form, visit the Secretary of State website at https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.
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 on 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 this information from various 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 states if they have legal questions about how to perform notarial acts.
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.