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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:

  1. Who can become an Oregon notary
  2. The process to become an Oregon notary
  3. Basic Oregon notarial duties

What are the qualifications to become an Oregon notary?


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 been convicted of a felony or of any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit during the ten-year period preceding the date of application.
  5. Not have had a notary public commission revoked during the ten-year period preceding the application date.
  6. Not be disqualified under ORS 194.340 to receive a commission.
  7. Not have been convicted of:
    1. acting as or otherwise impersonating a notary public as described in ORS 194.990;
    2. obstructing governmental or judicial administration under ORS 162.235 (1)(b); or
    3. engaging in the unlawful practice of law as described in ORS 9.160.
  8. Not have been found by a court to have:
    1. practiced law without a license in a suit under ORS 9.166; or
    2. ​engaged in an unlawful trade practice described in ORS 646.608 (1)(vvv)​.

What is the process to become an Oregon notary?


To become an Oregon notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements: 

 

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Pass a criminal background check conducted by the Secretary of State.
  3. Complete a training course by taking an in-person seminar or complete an online training course.
    1. Courses are offered by the Secretary of State at no charge. (Choose "Get Training" on the Notary home page.)
    2. Courses are also offered by an approved certified education providers for a fee.
  4. Pass the required online examination through the Secretary of State’s online system (the paper application and examination can be completed, printed, and mailed in).
  5. Submit an online Notary Public Commission Application through the Secretary of State’s online system, or complete the paper notary public commission application, print it, and mail it in.
  6. After receiving an email from the Secretary of State, download and print the PDF attachment of the Notary Public Commission Application and oath of office. (Do not fill or change the application section of the form.)
  7. Sign the oath of office before a notary public.
  8. Submit the notarized oath of office and the Notary Public Commission Application to the Secretary of State with the $40 processing fee within thirty days of being issued. (If these are not submitted in a timely manner, the applicant will need to re-apply and submit the application fee again.)
  9. Download the PDF attachment of the Certificate of Authorization and Commission Certificate sent by the Secretary of State via email after the oath of office has been processed.
  10. Take the Certificate of Authorization to a vendor to purchase an official 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 may apply to become an Oregon notary public (ORS 194.315[2][b]). A non-resident must:    

 

  1. Have a place of employment or practice in Oregon.
  2. Satisfy the same qualifications as Oregon residents, setting aside the residency requirements.
  3. Submit a Notary Public Commission Application and follow the same application for appointment as a notary public process and procedures as Oregon residents, including taking a training course and passing the online examination.
  4. Continuously maintain a place of employment or practice in Oregon during the term of their notary public commission.
  5. Relinquish their notary public commission if the non-resident notary 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 the notary’s place of employment or practice in Oregon using the form prescribed by the Secretary of State (OAR 160-100-0170[1][f]). 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 much does it cost to become a notary in Oregon?

An Oregon notary public applicant’s expenses may include the following costs:

 

  1. a $40 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment as a notary public;
  2. an official notary stamp;
  3. a journal;
  4. the training course offered by an approved certified education provider for a fee;
  5. a notary bond if the notary wishes to protect the public from the notary’s unintentional or intentional negligence and/or official misconduct in the performance of the notary’s official acts; and
  6. an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to purchase one for his or her personal protection against liability.  

How do I renew my Oregon notary commission?

An Oregon notary public may apply for reappointment as notary public thirty days before the expiration of his or her current notarial commission. 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 and paying the $40 application fee. Oregon notaries public with active notarial commissions are exempt from the training course legal requirements if they complete and pass their notary exams and submit their new applications before their current notarial 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 would require the applicant to take the training course again. The training course is mandatory for new and inactive notaries. The application for reappointment process may take up to ten days or more. To reapply for a new notarial commission and submit a new application online, go to the Secretary of State website at:  https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/commission-application-reapplication.aspx

Are there any exams or notary courses required to become an Oregon notary public or to renew my Oregon notary public commission?

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. To satisfy the mandatory education 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 an approved certified education provider 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 through the Secretary of State’s online system. The online 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. If the individual fails the exam, the application process cannot be completed.  Oregon notaries with active commissions are exempt from the mandatory education requirement if they complete and pass the exam and submit their applications for reappointment before their current notarial commissions expire. The Secretary of State also offers advanced classes that discuss employee notary issues, notario publico and elder abuse fraud, challenging notarial certificates, journaling witnesses, and electronic notarizations, among other topics for those who are experienced, commissioned notaries. For information regarding the state’s free online tutorial and state-run seminars, please check the Secretary of State website at: https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-training.aspx.

What is the process to become an Oregon electronic notary public?

The Oregon notary statute authorizes Oregon notaries public to perform notarial acts electronically. First and foremost, the Oregon notary statute dictates that the document signer must physically appear before the notary public at the time of the notarial act. Therefore, an electronic notarial act must not be performed if the signer of the electronic document is not in the physical presence of the notary public at the time of the electronic notarization and is not personally known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through satisfactory evidence of identity, as specified by Section 194.240.   Section 160-100-0140 of the Oregon Administrative Rules provides the requirements for the notarization technology. Whether in electronic or printed form, electronically notarized documents are permissible by state notary law.  

 

Before an Oregon notary public performs his or her initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, the notary public must notify the Secretary of State that he or she will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records. The notary public must file the following information with the Secretary of State (OAR 160-100-0140):

 

  1. Commission name
  2. Commission number
  3. Public records address
  4. Email address
  5. Name of technology vendor
  6. Contact information for vendor
  7. Website for vendor
  8. The tamper-evident technology the notary intends to use to perform notarial acts electronically
  9. A statement under penalty of perjury that the method of electronic notarization meets the National Electronic Notarization Standards adopted by the National Association of Secretaries of State. For the purposes of this statement, the notary may rely on a vendor’s declaration that the technology does meet these standards.
  10. An exemplar of a notarized record that includes the notary’s official stamp, the electronic notarial signature, and the electronic notarial certificate. The exemplar shall be a generic sample and not an actual notarized private record. The example provided must be an electronic file submitted in a PDF format.
  11. In addition to any other technologies used in attaching the electronic notarial signature, the signature must include a graphic reproduction of the notary’s handwritten signature on file with the Secretary of State.
  12. In addition to any other technologies and information the notary’s official stamp, as evidenced by an official Certificate of Authorization issued by the Secretary of State, must be logically associated with the notarial certificate and underlying record.
  13. Complete the https://sos.oregon.gov/_layouts/15/images/icpdf.pngElectronic Notarization Notice form and send it to the Corporation Division​.​
  14. The notice under this rule shall be emailed to the Secretary of State using the form provided to the notary public.

 

Oregon notaries are directed to use a kind of electronic notarization that conforms to the National Electronic Notarization Standards.  Notaries public are required to maintain a journal in which they chronicle all notarial acts performed, regardless of whether those notarial acts are performed for tangible or electronic records (ORS 194.300). A notary public must safeguard his or her electronic signature, electronic official stamp, and all other notarial records and shall not allow them to be used by any other notary public or any other person. 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 public has not selected.  All the same rules, standards, practices, and regulations that apply to a traditional paper notarization also apply to an electronically signed document including, but not limited to, personal appearance before the notary public. Most importantly, the liability, sanctions, and remedies for improper performance of electronic notarizations are the same under the state laws for the improper performance of notarial acts performed by traditional notaries public.

What is the process to become an Oregon online notary public?

The State of Oregon has not enacted/adopted notary statutes, regulations, or established standards and procedures for remote online notarizations. The Oregon notary statute requires that a principal must personally appear before an Oregon notary public (face-to-face) for any notarial act such as an acknowledgment or jurat to be performed in that signer’s name (ORS 194.235). This means that the principal and the notary public are physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials to each other without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or video conferences during the entire performance of the paper-based notarial act or electronic notarization. Web-based platforms that purport to allow a person to submit copies of identification over the Internet and to use a webcam in lieu of a personal appearance in front of a notary public (e.g., appearance via webcam) do not meet the statutory requirements for notarizations by Oregon notaries. Currently, the Oregon notary statute does not authorize a notary public to witness an act by means of communication technology-live, two-way, audio-visual transmission, or other electronic means where the person making the act is at a physical location different from the notary public or otherwise not in the physical presence of the notary public for the performance of a notarial act or online notarization.

“Clearly, Oregon notaries public who notarize in this fashion are breaking the law, and are subject to administrative and possibly criminal and civil sanctions. It is unclear if notarizations of Oregonians in Oregon done remotely by notaries that are not in Oregon will be upheld in court” (Notary Public Guide published by the Secretary of State). Based on the preceding statement, Oregon notaries public are prohibited from performing remote online notarial acts using communication technology for remotely located individuals. Therefore, online webcam notarizations are invalid and illegal activities for Oregon notaries public.

How long is the term of a notary public commission 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: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when a notary public is no longer a resident of Oregon during the term of his or her notarial commission; (5) when a notary is no longer able to read and write English; (6) when a non-resident notary ceases to have a place of employment or practice in Oregon; (7) when a notary has been convicted of a felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit; or (8) when a notary is disqualified for any grounds under ORS 194.340 to maintain a notarial commission.

Is an Oregon notary bond required to become a notary in Oregon?

No. The Oregon notary statute does not require individuals applying for or renewing a notary public commission to maintain a surety bond during the term of their notarial commissions. While not required to do so by state notary statute, Oregon notaries public may elect to purchase a surety bond to provide coverage in the event the public sustains monetary losses caused by the notary’s unintentional or intentional negligence and/or official misconduct. If the surety company pays the assessed damages up to the limited amount of the surety bond as selected by the notary, the surety company will demand reimbursement from the notary public for all paid claims. It is not always possible to prevent a civil lawsuit, but a notary public can reduce its effects with a surety bond.

Do I need an Oregon notary errors and omission insurance?

An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Oregon. The American Association of Notaries strongly 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 a notary public for recovery. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage an Oregon notary selects.

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 the State of Oregon (ORS 194.255[1]an). Likewise, an Oregon notary public may not perform notarial acts outside the state of Oregon.

Who appoints Oregon notaries public?

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 all active notaries. Contact information for the Oregon Secretary of State is as follows:

Secretary of State
Corporation Division
Notary Section
255 Capitol Street N.E., Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327
Phone Number: (503) 986-2200
Fax Number: (503) 986-2300
https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary.aspx

 

 

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Oregon?

Yes. Oregon notary law requires all notaries public to use an official notary stamp to authenticate all notarial acts performed. Section 194.290 of the Oregon Revised Statutes and Rule 160-100-0100 of the Oregon Administrative Rules provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all official notary stamps.

 

Dimensions: The Oregon notary statute does not provide the legal dimensions for an official notary stamp.

 

Required Elements:  The requirements for a notary’s official stamp are as follows:  

 

  1. The reasonably legible imprint of 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:
    1. the words “Official Stamp”;
    2. the printed name of the notary public;
    3. the words “Notary Public — Oregon”;
    4. the words “Commission No. ________” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission number;
    5. 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.
  2. The imprint of an official stamp of a notary public on a tangible record shall be an imprint capable of being photocopied or reproduced.
  3. The official stamp of a notary public on an electronic record shall contain:
    1. the printed name of the notary public;
    2. the words “Notary Public --- Oregon;
    3. the words “Commission No. ________” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission number;
    4. 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 notary 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). A notary’s official stamp must be disabled by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing or securing the device against use as soon as the notary’s commission expires.

Is a notary journal required in Oregon?

Yes. An Oregon notary public must maintain one or more journals in which the notary chronicles all notarial acts that the notary public performs (ORS 194.300). 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 in 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. An Oregon notary public must retain the journal for ten 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, call 800.721.2663, or click here.

How much can an Oregon notary charge for performing notarial acts?

The Oregon notary fees are set by state notary statute (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
  • 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.

 

Note: An Oregon notary public may charge an additional fee for traveling to perform a notarial act if: (a) 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; and (b) the person requesting the notarial act agrees in advance upon the amount of the additional fee (ORS 194.400[2]an[b]). If a notary public charges fees pursuant to Section 194.400 for performing notarial acts, the notary shall display, in English, a list of the fees the notary public will charge in a conspicuous location in the notary’s 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[3] 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 the Notary Information Change form waiving the right to charge a notary fee. If a waiver is filed, the notary shall not charge, attempt to charge, or receive any notary fee for a notarial act performed after the date the notary filed the statement of waiver (OAR 160-100-0420). 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. To download the Notary Information Change form, go the Secretary of State website at: https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.

What notarial acts can an Oregon notary public perform?

An Oregon notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (ORS 194.215[8] and 194.225[1]):  

 

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Take verifications upon oath or affirmation
  • Witness or attest signatures
  • Certify or attest a copy of certain documents
  • Note 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.

How do I update my address with the Oregon Secretary of State?

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[3]). 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.

Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in Oregon?

An Oregon notary public must notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of any change in the information on file with the Secretary of State, including the notary’s legal name. A notary public is required to submit a notarized “Notary Information Change” form to the Secretary of State within thirty days after such name change (OAR 160-100-0170[1]an). When a notary public changes his or her official signature on file with the Secretary of State, a notarized Notary Information Change form must also be submitted to the Secretary of State evidencing the signature change. Furthermore, changing the notary’s name on the notarial commission to the new name requires the notary public to purchase a new official notary stamp. To download the Notary Information Change form, visit the Secretary of State website at: https://sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/notary-public-forms.aspx.

Oregon notarial certificates:

Click here to view your state's notarial certificates.

 

Revised: May 2020

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.