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Quiz: Cross-border Notary issues

Updated 5-12-23. The rules for Notaries performing services in their own state are usually clear-cut … but what happens if a Notary moves to another state? Or the Notary works in one state, but lives in another? Or someone asks if you can travel to another country to notarize a document? To learn more about the facts and misconceptions about cross-border notarization issues, take our quiz. (Detailed answers can be found below.)


1. Is a Notary commission transferable if the Notary moves to another state?

A. Yes, the Notary can transfer his or her existing commission to the new jurisdiction
B. No, but the Notary is automatically granted a second commission in the new state
C. Yes, the Notary can notarize in the new state using his old commission until it expires
D. No, the Notary must apply for a new Notary commission in the new state

Answer: D. The NNA is frequently asked if Notaries moving to a different state can transfer their current commissions over to their new state. The answer is no. If you are relocating and want to notarize within your new state, you would need to apply for a Notary commission in the new state.

2. Can a Notary hold a commission in more than one state at the same time?

A. Yes, all states allow this
B. No, no state allows this
C. Yes, if the particular states allow it
D. No, only civil law attorneys may notarize in multiple states

Answer: C. Some jurisdictions allow you to apply for a Notary commission even if you do not live there, provided you meet specific requirements. In New York, for example, out-of-state residents can apply to be a New York Notary if the applicant has an office or place of business in the state. So a New Jersey resident who works in New York could hold Notary commissions in both states.Not all states allow this. Florida, for example, only grants Notary commissions to state residents. If you wish to obtain a Notary commission in another state, be sure to check the rules of the state in which you wish to be commissioned to make sure you meet the requirements.

3. Does a Notary commission in one state authorize you to notarize in another?

A. No, to do that you must obtain a new commission in the other state
B. Yes, all states allow Notaries commissioned in one state to notarize in any state
C. No, because all states require you to be a state resident in order to become a Notary
D. Yes, but only if state law specifically allows it

Answer: D. Specific states have laws allowing this. For example, Virginia law allows a Notary to notarize anywhere in the world if the document is intended to be used in Virginia. Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming allow Notaries from bordering states to notarize in their state if the bordering state extends the same permission to its Notaries. Thus, a Montana Notary may perform notarizations in Wyoming and North Dakota, a North Dakota Notary in Montana, and a Wyoming Notary in Montana.

4. Can I notarize for an out-of-state signer who comes to my state?

A. No, the signer must return to his home state and find a Notary there
B. Yes, if you follow your state’s laws when you notarize the signature
C. Yes, but only if the document will be filed in your state
D. Yes, if you follow the laws of signer’s home state when you notarize the signature

Answer: B. You may perform a notarization for a visitor from another state, provided the notarization takes place within your commission jurisdiction. The notarization also must meet all requirements of your state’s Notary laws, including the rules for personal appearance, proof of identity and notarial certificate wording.

5. Does my Notary commission allow me to notarize in a foreign country?

A. Yes, because all countries recognize the authority of Notaries of any country
B. No, because state law only allows Notaries to notarize within its physical borders
C. Yes, but only if state law specifically allows it
D. Yes, if my document has an apostille attached to it after the notarization is complete

Answer: C. As mentioned in question 3, Virginia allows its Notaries to notarize anywhere under certain circumstances. 

6. Does my Notary commission allow me to notarize for a signer who is in another state or country?

A. No, the signer must always be in my physical presence
B. Yes, all states allow this
C. Yes, but only if the state allows it
D. Yes, if I am in the same state or country as the signer

Answer: C. If your state authorizes Notaries to perform remote online notarizations, the law is in effect and operational, and you have properly qualified as a remote online Notary, then you may notarize for a signer who is in another state or country. 

 David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

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Add your comment


14 Oct 2016

The question about notarizing in a foreign country has no correct answer because no answer acknowledges the need to check the laws of the foreign country to see if it is allowed.

Dukens Mustiva

17 Oct 2016

Good standard


17 Oct 2016

The listed answer for question 5 seems to be incorrect for any Notary Public who is not commissioned in Virginia and Kentucky. As a Notary Public commissioned in California, my Notary commission does NOT allow me to notarize in a foreign country, or anywhere outside of the state of California.


17 Oct 2016

I live in el PASO TEXAS and we are in the border to MEXICO and some TEXAS notary rent the stamp so places in Juarez CHIH MEXICO do the service and they charge double or triple the amount

National Notary Association

17 Oct 2016

Hello. A Notary is not permitted to lend the seal or let others use the Notary's seal.


17 Oct 2016

At the border, you charge for going to the bridge to make the notarization. If a person cannot come to the USA, and needs to notarize a document, you go to the border, and notarize it, charging for the trip, plus the normal fee for the notarization.

Daniel D. Charles

20 Oct 2016

I'm realized that each States is different. They is not the same

Joe Luther Hampton

16 Apr 2019

Can a notary living in Shelby County, Memphis , TN notarize a MS document from Desoto County , Olive Branch, MS.

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2019

Hello. If you are commissioned as a Tennessee Notary, you may notarize the document in question if the signer appears in person with the document before you within the borders of Tennessee, and the notarization being requested is permitted under and meets all requirements of TN Notary laws.


13 Jan 2020

Can a notary residing and commissioned in say NC, hold a notary position at their job in SC

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2020

Hello. No, because in order to be eligible for a South Carolina Notary commission you must be a registered voter in South Carolina.

Jean Bourgeois

17 Mar 2020

Will the US border inspectors of staff act as Notary for documents and POA exercised in the USA and is there a cost or charge for doing this/

National Notary Association

17 Mar 2020

Hello. If you are outside the United States and require a notarization, you may wish to contact a U.S. consulate or embassy for assistance, as consular officers are authorized to notarize documents.

Terena Green

27 Jan 2021

Has Question #6 been updated to include Michigan? I have been asked to do a remote online notary for one of our staff members residing in California. I understand I have to register as a RON and I have to purchase the RON Technology platform. Thanks for your help!

National Notary Association

29 Jan 2021

Hello. MI remote Notaries may perform RON services for signers in any location — inside or outside of the state — as long as the Notaries themselves are physically located in Michigan at the time of notarization. For more information, please see here:

Donna M.

26 Apr 2021

I live in SC, but work in NC. And I just got my commission to Notarize in the State of NC. Does NC allow me to hold a commission on SC, the State I live in? Thank you Donna

National Notary Association

29 Apr 2021

Hello. If you meet all requirements to hold a South Carolina Notary commission, holding a North Carolina Notary commission will not affect your eligibility for the SC commission.


10 May 2021

Because as I understand it NV requires a waiting period of 4 years before allowing online certification ; so is it possible to be concurrent by having a RON in another while maintaining a NV commission?

National Notary Association

10 May 2021

Hello. This would only be possible if you held multiple Notary commissions in Nevada and another state that authorizes RON. Please note that in the situation you describe, you would only be authorized to perform RONs while you are physically located in the other state that authorized you to perform RONs. You would not be able to perform RONs while physically located in Nevada under the situation you describe. The only way to perform RONs while located in Nevada would be if you received a specific RON authorization from the state of Nevada.


28 Jun 2021

Good column, I enjoyed reading the questions and answers.


04 Jan 2022

Does Oregon & California allow notaries to hold a commission in both states

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2022

Hello. A California resident may hold an Oregon commission if the resident has a place of employment or practice in Oregon. However, only legal residents of California are eligible to hold a CA Notary commission.


02 Jan 2023

Enjoy the question and answers I’m learning a lot

Kenneth Burke

19 Jun 2023

The "state law specifically allowing it" rule strikes me as the cornerstone of notary public law.

26 Jun 2023

As a Texas resident who lives 20 miles from the Oklahoma border, can I obtain my Oklahoma notary commission and become a notary signing agent?

National Notary Association

30 Jun 2023

Hello. To qualify for an Oklahoma Notary commission, you must be a legal resident of Oklahoma or an out-of-state resident who is employed in Oklahoma.

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