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Notary Bulletin

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 an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association. 

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]).

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