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New journal requirements for Washington Notaries take effect July 1

Washington-flag2-resized.jpgUpdated 6-10-20 with audiovisual recording requirements for RON. Washington state Notaries will be required to keep a journal of their notarizations under a law that took effect July 1, 2018.

Journal format

Under Senate Bill 5081, the Notary journal may be kept in a physical or electronic format. A physical journal must be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. An electronic journal must be kept in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format that complies with rules set by the state Department of Licensing.

Attorneys licensed to practice law in Washington are exempt from keeping a journal, provided the attorney maintains documentation of notarizations through other records of the attorney’s professional practice.

Journal entry information

The following information must be recorded in each journal entry:

1. The date and time of the notarization

2. A description of the document, if any

3. A description of the type of notarization

4. The full name and address of each individual for whom a notarization is performed

5. Any additional information required by rules set by the Department of Licensing

Washington Notaries will also be required to record their journal entries at the same time the notarization takes place.

Journal security

Journals must be stored in a locked and secured area under the Notary’s exclusive control when not in use, and Notaries must store all journals for 10 years after the date of the last journal entry recorded, after which the journal must be destroyed.

Other provisions

In addition to the new journal requirements, new Notary stamps must include the Notary’s name as it appears on the commission, and remote notarizations are not allowed. For more information and other new law provisions, please see the NNA’s summary of SB 5081.

Audiovisual recording requirements for RON

Under Senate Bill 5641, which is temporarily effective under Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-27 and subsequent extension orders, and Washington’s emergency remote online notarization (RON) rules, Washington Notaries who have followed the steps to apply for and have been granted both an electronic notary endorsement and remote notary endorsement can perform remote online notarial acts temporarily. A Notary who is approved to perform remote online notarizations must in addition to keeping a journal of notarial acts retain an audiovisual recording of the notarization in a computer or other electronic storage device that protects the recording against unauthorized access by password or other secure means of authentication. The recording must be created in an industry-standard audiovisual file format and must not include images of any electronic record that was the subject of the remote notarial act. This audiovisual recording must be retained for at least 10 years after the recording is made. The Notary must take reasonable steps to ensure that a backup of the recording exists and is secure from unauthorized use. The authorization to perform remote online notarizations in advance of the October 1, 2020, effective date of Senate Bill 5641 is temporary. Washington Notaries should keep informed about the status of the temporary authorization to perform RONs through the NNA.

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

Related Articles:

What every Notary needs to know about journals

Additional Resources:

NNA Hotline

View All: Laws & Regulations


Add your comment

Karen Howard

14 May 2018

In WA is a Signature in the journal required?

National Notary Association

15 May 2018

Hello. The required information for the journal entry under the new WA law is listed in the article above.

29 May 2018

If you primarily notarize signatures of known individuals at your regular place of business, are those actions required to be entered in the journal?

National Notary Association

29 May 2018

Hello. Under the new law taking effect July 1, all notarizations a Washington Notary performs must be recorded in the journal.

Randy Brook

30 May 2018

The phrase "the Notary journal may be kept in a physical or electronic format" does not appear to be correct. The statute says "The journal must be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. An electronic records notary public may also maintain an electronic format journal,"

Lisa McAneny

31 Jul 2020

Is a fingerprint mandatory to collect from signers in Washington State?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2020

Hello. No, Washington state does not require a thumbprint for a Notary's journal entry.


11 Jan 2021

Is a journal entry required for each notarized document in WA state? Ex: one entry for the jurar, one entry for the sig affidavit...

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2021

Hello. You must make a journal entry for each notarization you perform: “A notary public shall record each notarial act in a journal at the time of notarization in compliance with RCW 42.45.180 and these rules” (WAC 308-30-190[1]).

28 Jan 2021

In WA state, is the "Signature of the Signer" required to be added in the Notary's journal to perform a notarization?

National Notary Association

29 Jan 2021

Hello. For a traditional pen-and-paper notarization, the signer's signature is required for a journal entry (WAC 308-30-200[1][b]). For a remote notarization, the signer's signature is not required but a note must be made in your paper journal that the notarization was performed remotely (WAC 308-30-200[4]).

28 Jan 2021

I understand in WA state journal entries must include: -The date and time of the notarial act -Description of the document, if any -Description of the notarial act -Full name and address of each individual for whom a notarial act is performed Furthermore, I understand the following is not required in the journal entry: -Right thumbprint of the signer Is the following required to be added in a journal entry: -Address where Notarization Performed -Identification of Signer Personally Known by the Notary ID Cards Credible Witness(s) -Additional Information -Notary Fee (What do you state if performing a Loan Signing?) -Signature of Signer What "any additional information" may the Director of Licensing require?

National Notary Association

29 Jan 2021

Hello. Just to clarify, the following information is required for all Notary journal entries in Washington state: (a) The date and time of the notarial act; (b) A description of the record, if any, and type of notarial act; (c) The full name and address of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed; and (d) Any additional information as required by the director in rule” (RCW 42.45.180[4]). In addition a tangible (pen-and-paper) journal must also include the following information: A description of the notary public’s method of identifying the principal; The principal’s signature, or the signature of an authorized party in compliance with RCW 42.45.070, or a notation in the notary journal that the notarial act was performed via remote notarization” (WAC 308-30-200[1][b]). Remote notarizations in WA do not require the signer's signature in your journal entry, but you must record that the notarization was performed remotely in your journal (WAC 308-30-200[4]). The state's Notary Public Guide provides the following suggestions for additional journal information not required by statute: “Beyond these, you should include whatever information you believe will be helpful in recording the notarial act, such as more details about the method of identification or the signing party’s fingerprint.”

Out of state move

27 Feb 2021

What is required, besides notifying the DOL? Thank you.

National Notary Association

05 Mar 2021

Hello. We're sorry, but we were not clear what your question was. Can you please rephrase or provide us with more detail about what information you are looking for?

Aman Shergill

15 Oct 2021

Hello, I just wanted to check that I have EAD (Work Authorization), Can I become a notary?

National Notary Association

29 Oct 2021

Hello. In Washington state, “An applicant for a commission as a notary public must: “(a) Be at least eighteen years of age; “(b) Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States; “(c) Be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in this state; “(d) Be able to read and write English; and “(e) Not be disqualified to receive a commission under RCW 42.45.210” (RCW 42.45.200[2]).


12 Nov 2021

If you think there has been a notorized document forged or altered after completion, how can you view a notarys journal?

National Notary Association

19 Nov 2021

Hello. Washington state does not provide specific guidelines for requesting Notary journal records. We suggest contacting the Notary in writing to make the request and include the names of the signer or signers involved; the document type; and the month and year of the notarization.


21 Nov 2021

And if the notary is now retired, how do I go about finding the person and a satisfactory address that would actually be received by this notary? Is there some sort of log kept of all the notaries and their current address'?

National Notary Association

29 Nov 2021

Hello. You may wish to contact the Notary section at the Washington state Department of Licensing (1-360-664-1550) to ask if they can provide any information about the Notary in question.

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