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Notary Bulletin
Feature

A guide to Notary travel fees across the United States

Notaries frequently ask if they can charge signers an additional travel fee during mobile Notary assignments. The answer is that each state is different: Some say yes and fix travel fees; some allow it and only provide broad guidelines for the fee, and others provide no guidance at all.

This article offers Notaries a guide to each state's Notary travel fee rules and guidelines, grouped into 5 general categories. We'll look at how travel fees work for states in each category and provide you with helpful tips. The categories are:

  1. States that set travel fees
  2. States that base travel fees on federal or state mileage rates
  3. States with general travel fee guidelines
  4. States that allow Notaries to set their own travel fees
  5. States that prohibit charging travel fees

States that set travel fees

There are 6 states and the District of Columbia that set the fees Notaries may charge to travel: Connecticut, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Virginia. In these states, the maximum amount for travel is set by state law.

States That Set Travel Fees

Connecticut and New Hampshire are the most straightforward. Connecticut allows Notaries to charge 35 cents per mile for travel, and New Hampshire 20 cents per mile, but the rate only applies when a Notary travels to swear witnesses for a deposition (RSA 455:11; 517:19).

Though the District of Columbia, Idaho, and Virginia do not set an actual fee, their laws only allow Notaries to charge the actual and reasonable expense of travel (CDC 1-1231.23[b], IC 51-133[2], and COV 47.1-19[D]). For example, if a Notary in one of these jurisdictions spent $5 total on fuel or other travel expenses while traveling to a notarization, the Notary cannot charge the signer more than that amount for a travel fee.

New Mexico sets a travel fee of 30 cents per mile, but also requires Notaries to inform their customers in advance that the fee will apply; that travel fee is in addition to the notarization fee, and that the Notary is not required by law to charge the travel fee. Effective January 1, 2022, the 30 cents per mile maximum fee will be repealed and Notaries will be able to set their own travel fee.

Nevada's laws are the most unique, specific, and complicated. The Notary and signer must agree on the hourly rate of travel in advance. The Notary must explain that the travel fee is separate from notarization fee and not required by law. These requirements mirror requirements of other states and are clear and easy to understand.

However, the maximum hourly rate is where things become more complicated. Nevada Notaries may not charge more than the following hourly rates, and the rate depends on the time of day they travel:

  • The travel fee may not exceed $15 for travel between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. ($10 per hour for an electronic notarization) or $30 per hour for travel between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. ($25 per hour for an electronic notarization).
  • Notaries may charge a minimum of 2 hours for such travel and must charge on a pro rata basis after the first 2 hours (NRS 240.100[3][d]).

Nevada law also prescribes the following rules related to charging travel fees:

  • Travel fees must be recorded in the journal, along with the date and time Notary began and ended the travel (NRS 240.100[5]).
  • The Notary may demand that the travel fee be payable in advance (NRS 240.100[2]).
  • The Notary is entitled to the additional travel fee if the person requesting the notarial act cancels the request after the Notary begins to travel, or the Notary is unable to perform the notarial act as a result of the actions of the person who requested it or any other person who is necessary for the performance of the notarial act (NRS 240.100[4]).

States that base travel fees on federal or state mileage rates

8 states base the travel fee on mileage rates set by state or federal agencies. Unlike states that set their own fees, these mileage rates can change from year to year when the rate for travel increases or decreases. Notaries in these states should always confirm the current authorized mileage rate before charging a travel fee.

States That Base Travel Fees on Federal or State Mileage Rates

In Arizona and Nebraska, travel fees are based on state mileage rates. For the latest authorized mileage rate in Arizona, check the fee schedule online. The Nebraska mileage rate, which applies only to serving notices of protest and not to other notarial acts, is set by the State Department of Administrative Services (433 NAC 6.008.04[F]), which according to state Notary officials is currently 51 cents per mile.

Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Rhode Island, Utah and Wyoming allow Notaries to charge federal mileage rates.

In Indiana, the travel fee "may not exceed the federal travel fees established by the United States General Services Administration" (IC 33-42-14-1[e]). Maryland indexes the travel fee to the Internal Revenue Service per mile rate for business travel plus an additional $5 (ACM St. Gov't 18-107[b][1]) (COMAR 01.02.08.02D). Montana, Rhode Island, and Wyoming also set their travel fee to the Internal Revenue Service per mile rate. Utah is the least specific, stating it must be set at the "federal mileage rate" (UCA 46-1-12[2]).

Montana, Utah and Wyoming also require Notaries to inform customers about travel fees in advance and clarify they are separate from the regular notarization fee.

States with travel fee guidelines

13 states do not set the amount of travel fees but provide general guidelines for Notaries to follow when charging a travel fee. These states are: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington.

States With Travel Fee Guidelines

In these states, the amount of a travel fee is not specified, but Notaries must follow any guidelines issued by the state. These guidelines usually are published in state Notary handbooks or online. For example, most of these states (California and Minnesota are exceptions) require the travel fee to be agreed upon with the signer prior to travel. Arkansas Notaries are required to disclose any fee they charge (including a travel fee) with the signer prior to travel commencing. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has posted an advisory that Notaries who charge travel fees may be required to obtain a real estate closing license. In California, the Secretary of State has said, "Other fees, such as travel fees and/or loan signing fees should not be included as fees charged for the notarial service. You may note other fees charged in the additional information portion of your journal" (Notary News, 2020). Pennsylvania Notaries may charge customary and reasonable "clerical or administrative fees" for notarizations, including travel, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State website. Notaries should inform customers of the fee in advance and note the fee separately in their journal.

Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington also require Notaries to inform the signer that the travel fee is not mandated by law.

States that allow Notaries to set their own travel fees

States That Allow Notaries to Set Their Own Travel FeesThe following states permit Notaries to set their own travel fees or do not regulate Notary or travel fees:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Many of these states recommend that Notaries set "reasonable" fees.

If your state does not provide travel fee rules or guidance, the NNA suggests the following five best practices:

  1. Keep travel fees separate for notarial fees.
  2. Inform the customer on the travel fee in advance.
  3. Explain your travel fee payment policy should the notarization not be completed.
  4. Request travel fee payment in advance (optional).
  5. Record the travel fee separately from the notarization fee in your journal.

Where travel fees are prohibited

Only 1 state — North Carolina — specifically prohibits its Notaries from charging travel fees: "Notaries are not authorized to charge travel or mileage expenses to their clients" (NPG). Doing so could result in the Notary being disciplined by the division director for the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State Notary Public Section (18 NCAC 07B .0904).

Where Travel Fees are Prohibited

Related Articles:

5 Tips For Notaries Charging Travel Fees



Additional Resources:

2021 Notary Fee Schedules By State

2020 Notary Public Code Of Professional Responsibility
(See Guiding Principle II-A-1, Proper and Improper Gain/Associated Charges, pg. 29 of PDF)


4 Comments

Add your comment

Akbar Hasan

29 Jul 2021

I find The National Notary to be very informative and can lead to a very pro fital source of informartion

Marjorie

01 Aug 2021

The information for the travel fee for each state is very helpful. And I was not sure that I could write in the travel fee in the additional information box, As I have a notebook that I have been writing the date of the Notary job, with the amount for Notarizing document(s) and the Travel Fee. Even if there is No Travel fee. As I do add everything up at the end of the month so that I know how much I made for the month.

June

11 Aug 2021

Virginia says notaries must charge for actual travel expenses; however, I have yet to find a notary in my state who follows the law. Even when I called the NNA Hotline, they told me the law is interpreted many different ways, so there -- I couldn't get a straight answer. In addition, the VA law also says that no other fees can be charged, yet every VA notary charges some other type of fee that they call a convenience fee or printing fee. How do you explain this? Does the state of VA just ignore it? And no, the Secretary of State will not answer it either because they say they are not responsible for the laws. In other words, these state laws really mean nothing.

karenmillerbarrett@verizon.net

11 Aug 2021

Helpful and very informative.

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