DC Administrative Rules (2016)


State: Washington DC

Effective: July 01, 2016


New final rules comprehensively rewrite most of the District's Notary Public rules, touching on appointment, status changes, recordkeeping and matters related to administrative action taken against the commission of a Notary.


Title 17, Chapter 24 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.



  1. Defines “business Notary” as a Notary who resides within or outside of the District, is employed by a business physically operating within the District and performs notarizations for the employer.
  2. Defines “residential Notary” as a Notary who resides in and performs notarizations for the community from his or her personal residence in the District.
  3. Defines a “government Notary” as a Notary who has obtained a business commission in his or her role as a government employee, provided the government agency is physically located in the District, and the Notary performs notarial services only on behalf of the government employer. 
  4. Defines “dual commission” as a Notary applies both as a residential and business Notary.

Notary Commission

  1. Clarifies that the District of Columbia Secretary of State, office of Notary Commissions and Authentications Section (ONCA), may appoint individuals as Notaries Public in the District.
  2. Clarifies that an applicant for a Notary commission must be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Clarifies that an individual applying to become a residential Notary must submit a Residential Letter of Request that sets forth the need for a Notary commission for use in the community and in his or her personal residence.
  4. Clarifies that the letter requesting an appointment as a residential Notary must state how the applicant intends to use the commission to serve the public, their community and others.
  5. Requires that requests for appointment as a Notary by a privately-employed company or self-employed person must be made by letter by an employer or official of a private company or self-employed person on the employer’s or self-employed person’s letterhead bearing a physical address and phone number in the District.
  6. Clarifies that the letter requesting an appointment as a business Notary must state the reasons the business or government needs the individual to serve as a Notary and how it will improve the service to its customers, the public and others.
  7. Clarifies that the application for a government Notary is submitted to ONCA as a business application, but with no fee.
  8. Requires a Notary seeking a dual commission to submit a letter individually and from the business with the Notary application, but only one fee is required.
  9. Requires a residential Notary to indicate to ONCA the hours he or she will be available in the residence as a Notary.
  10. No longer requires an oral examination to demonstrate knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of a Notary.
  11. In addition to the letters of endorsement from three or more individuals, requires an applicant to provide the name, address, phone number and email address of two individuals who can attest to the applicant’s character, and disallows a family member or the employer submitting the letter of request on behalf of the applicant to be a character reference.
  12. Provides the updated address for ONCA where applications for appointment may be sent.
  13. Clarifies that Notaries applying for reappointment must submit their applications by the deadline set by ONCA and applies only to Notaries in the District within twelve months of commission expiration.
  14. Requires a Notary applying for reappointment whose commission has expired by more than twelve months must apply as a new applicant.

Status Changes

  1. Clarifies that a government employee who leaves employment has his or her commission terminated and must notify and return his or her official seal to ONCA.
  2. Clarifies that each Notary must inform ONCA promptly of any change of name, address or phone number and further clarifies that no fee will be charged for the notification.
  3. Provides that a Notary who changes a place of business should provide a letter from the new employer providing the name, physical address, and phone number of the new place of employment.
  4. Allows a business Notary who no longer is employed by that business to take his or her commission with him or her upon approval of the business, and further clarifies that if the business does not consent, the commission shall be terminated.
  5. Requires a Notary who changes his or her name to provide ONCA with a copy of the legal document showing the change of name and to come into ONCA to provide a new impression of his or her seal.
  6. Clarifies that Notaries who change their names should inform the surety company that has issued their bond, order a new seal and provide an impression of the seal to ONCA.
  7. Clarifies that Notary commissions expire at the end of the five-year term or upon resignation of the commission.
  8. Requires Notaries who no longer reside in the District or who cease to be employed in a business physically located in the District must resign their commission by notifying ONCA, in writing, at: Secretary of the District of Columbia Attention: Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications, 441 4th Street N.W., Suite 810 South, Washington D.C. 20001, or by email to: notary@dc.gov.

Records of Notarial Acts

  1. Requires each notary to keep a fair record of all official acts performed, and when required, provide a certified copy of any record in his office to any person upon payment of the fees incurred. 
  2. Recommends that the Notary’s log include the following entries: (a) The name and address of each person appearing before the Notary; (b) The date they appeared before the Notary; (c) The method by which each person was identified to the Notary; (d) The type of document involved; (e) The fee charged; and (f) The signature(s) of person(s) signing the document(s).
  3. Allows a Notary to keep a hard copy or electronic journal.
  4. Clarifies that if a Notary keeps an electronic journal, a record of the handwritten signature of the person who had the document notarized should be saved, and further clarifies that all signatures must be completed in person and that electronic signatures may not be accepted.

Denial or Revocation of Commission

  1. Clarifies that ONCA may deny or revoke the commission of a Notary.
  2. Provides that a notary commission may be denied if there is probable cause to believe that an applicant fails to meet the qualifications of a Notary or if an application for appointment was not submitted according to the D.C. Code, regulations or policies set forth by ONCA.
  3. Clarifies that an incomplete application for appointment that ONCA returns to the applicant may be re-submitted.
  4. Provides that a Notary commission may be revoked if a Notary fails to discharge fully and faithfully any of the duties or responsibilities required of a Notary, or otherwise commits misconduct that substantially relates to the duties or responsibilities of a Notary.
  5. Clarifies that an applicant or Notary who is denied a commission or who is removed from office may file a petition for review.
  6. Provides that a petition for review may be delivered by certified letter to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), 441 Fourth Street, N.W., Suite 450 North, Washington D.C. 20001 by email, pursuant to the procedures in 1 DCMR § 2841, or by fax, to (202) 442-4789. 
  7. Provides that a petition for review must include a copy of the notice denying or revoking the Notary commission and the petitioner’s name, address, telephone numbers, and e-mail address, and, if the applicant or Notary will be represented by legal counsel, the legal counsel’s e-mail address in addition to the counsel’s name, address and telephone number.
  8. Clarifies rules related to the filing of petitions for review by fax, including the time when the fax is considered properly filed, the filer is responsible for delays, disruptions, interruptions of electronic signals and legibility of the paper and for the possibility that the paper may not be filed.
  9. Clarifies that an illegible or incomplete fax will not be considered received unless a hard copy of the fax is filed or a complete and legible fax is received within 3 calendar days of the first transmission, although in response to a motion, an administrative law judge may extend this time.
  10. Clarifies rules for the e-mail filing of petitions for review, including the time when the e-mail is considered properly filed, and that the date and time recorded in the correct OAH electronic mailbox shall be conclusive proof of when it was received.
  11. Provides that the Office of Administrative Hearings shall notify the applicant or Notary of the time and place of a hearing after receipt of the petition of review. 

Other Provisions

  1. Provides that the signed certificate of a Notary bearing the Notary’s seal, drawn from the Notary public’s record and stating the protest and the facts recorded in the record, must be accepted as evidence of the facts in like manner as an original protest. 
  2. Clarifies that ONCA will issue all authentications.

The District of Columbia has overhauled its regulations for Notaries Public that are contained in Title 17, Chapter 24 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations. The proposed rules were published on May 13, 2016 and finally adopted on June 15, 2016. They took effect on July 1, 2016.

Read the notice of final rulemaking by downloading the PDF below.