Your Cookies are Disabled! sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

Notaries can say no to sovereign citizens

Anti-government activists sometimes try to use notarizations to validate outlandish business or legal claims. By notarizing such documents Notaries may be aiding unethical or illegal acts without realizing it. But Notaries can refuse many of these types of requests without violating their responsibility to serve the public regardless of a signer's political or personal beliefs.

While there are no hard and fast numbers, members of the "sovereign citizens" movement are creating significant problems for government officials, acording to Tom Wrosch of the Oregon Secretary of State's office, a notarial expert who has closely followed the nationwide trend.

Illegal documents submitted for notarization include efforts to get out of paying taxes or debts to private lenders as well as claims of immunity from state and federal laws. Other documents falsely claim that government agencies owe billions of dollars to sovereign citizen activists. Wrosch advises Notaries to treat these requests carefully. In general, if a document appears obviously fraudulent or bogus, it is the Notary's duty not to abet it.

When scanning the document to make sure it is complete, keep in mind these red flags:

  • Is it a protest? A protest is a largely antiquated act involving an unpaid debt. They are rarely performed today due to their replacement by modern electronic financial systems. They also require specialized training and the supervision of an attorney to properly complete
  • Does it ask you to certify rights or facts that are clearly illegal or that the signer does not possess?
  • Does it say “not a citizen of the United States,” make other claims regarding sovereignty or immunity from law, or make obscure references to the Uniform Commercial Code?
  • Does it include outrageous dollar amounts?

Any of these red flags should warn you not to proceed with the notarization, Wrosch advised. "Notaries are smart not to involve themselves in something that would assist a crime. You can go by a reasonable care standard: Is the document something a person off the street would abet?"

View All: Notary News


Add your comment

Ardel Richter

11 Sep 2017

Had one of those a couple years ago. Just showed up at my home requesting I notarize 'this'. It was a Notary Protest and I just told him I was familiar enough with this to know that I had no experience with them and so would have to decline. He became very upset and said he would be reporting me. He left and nothing ever came of it.

Amir Khan

07 Oct 2017

Notary presentment has a strong power.just study the law & do your research work and get the people out of debt & nonviolent crimes.


04 Oct 2019

Another red flag with sovereign citizens is that they have documents that have a red fingerprint on them or sign things in red ink. A few years ago, I notarized a document for a sovereign citizen because he did have valid ID and the paperwork seemed okay. A few days later, I received a strange postcard in the mail. Come to find out, after I notarized the document, he sent documents to the county with MY NAME on them! I had no idea what he was up to, so I filed a police report and bank security asked that he not return to the premises of the bank that I am employed at. Today, I had another customer come in to ask for something notarized with the same red fingerprints on the documents and the word sovereign was right on the documents. I immediately caught it this time and told him that I would not be able to help him. If ever you are unsure about something, don't sign it. I have learned from experience!


22 May 2020

Wow. I find it quite deceiving that there is no true author indicated for this bulletin. Is this article standing on facts or written to support someone's biased opinion. Where is the case law to support this, or at the least, the state code or statute. "Legal documents" must be produced otherwise, you just have documents. "Sovereign citizens" don't exist. The "Founding Fathers" that signed the Declaration of Independence, they were anti government. And we celebrate Every year!


12 Jun 2020

LA is the only comment that makes sense. All you others and the article are off in lala land. You all are the type wearing masks everywhere, prolly be wearing your mask to 2021 and snitching on everyone🤣😅 all the time,. pretty soon you wont have any time to notorize you’ll be too busy acting like a ninny everywhere you go!.


01 Jul 2020

These are damn lies clearly the ucc process and damages done bond are legal in common law and admritly law.... these people kill me with the lies... usa corporation is trash any way


29 Dec 2020

I'm so confused by this and hoping I never come across one. It is my understanding that as notaries, what we are attesting to is the certificate verifying the person appeared before us with proper ID and signed the document. We aren't attorneys and have nothing to do with the legitimacy of the document. However, for sovereign citizens we are supposed to recognize their paperwork as bogus and refuse to notarize, and penalties are imposed if you do notarize something for an SC. Anyone have insight as to what I'm not understanding? I'm brand new at this (still awaiting my notary seal in the mail, actually) so forgive my ignorance, please. There wasn't any insight in our training class other than "don't do it" and I'm probably overthinking, but would love input from any seasoned notary! Thank you!

Theresa Wong Yun En

17 Dec 2021

Thank you for this article. I believe that the crux of the matter is the confusion of the notary's authority to witness the execution of a document and the perceived authority conveyed by our seal or stamp. It is the same with consular authentications / apostillizations performed by a Secretary of State - a gold seal appears on the document, therefore it must be genuine. (Not true, of course.)

La Notary

13 Apr 2023

I almost got mixed up in this with someone wanting me to sign a "Protest of Non Response". Nooooooo thank you! I did notarize the signature of someone who was becoming a sovereign citizen. I didn't know what the document was at the time, neither did I care. In that situation I was ONLY notarizing his signature - attesting to the fact that he was who he said he was and that he did, in fact, sign the document. Notaries, be very careful. These documents get recorded or filed with the Clerk of Court and your name will be forever associated with them.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.