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Do Notaries ever have to keep notarial certificates?

Do we keep the Notary certificates we complete, or are they given to the signer?A. B, Virginia

The notarial certificate you complete is attached to the document and then returned to the signer. The notarized document cannot be used to effect its purpose without being given back to the signer. In no case should a Notary retain a notarial certificate the Notary has completed. 

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline consultants to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

Additional Resources:

NNA Notary Certificate Packages

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27 Jul 2022

If a notary gives a written oath to a credible witness to prove the identity of the principal, it will have a certificate. It's not so clear what would be done with the written oath and certificate once the principal and witness are ready to leave.

National Notary Association

28 Jul 2022

Hello. A credible witness swearing or affirming the identity of a signer is not a separate notarial act requiring a certificate.


29 Jul 2022

In Vermont each oath to each person is a separate notarial act and every notarial act requires a certificate.

National Notary Association

01 Aug 2022

Hello. We forwarded your comments about oaths and affirmations in Vermont to the NNA Notary Hotline team. Here is their response: "When a verification upon oath or affirmation (jurat) is being completed, it is for a signature being notarized. Vermont law indicates 'Verification on oath or affirmation means a declaration, made by an individual on oath or affirmation before a notary public, that a statement in a record is true.' There is no requirement in Vermont law that credible witnesses sign any sort of statement. Since a credible witness is used for the purposes of identifying a signer (essentially the credible witness is serving as a 'human ID card') the signature of the credible witness is not being notarized."

Frieda Ganey

07 Aug 2022

A parent needs to have a notarized form for their teenager to get a tattoo or piecing. Do I also need to get ID from the teen?

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2022

Hello. If you are being asked to notarize the teenager's signature, then yes, the teenager would have to be identified according to your state's Notary laws. Please see here for more information:

Rosemary Mathews

22 Jun 2023

Was the notary asking about the Certificate from the Secretary of State that proves that she is a Notary Public and has her official name and Commission number on it? Notaries are supposed to have that certificate displayed at her place of business, or perhaps have a copy in her electronic wallet. Is this correct?

National Notary Association

10 Jul 2023

Hello. In this question, the Notary was asking about the notarial certificate wording completed and attached to a document when performing a notarization, not the official commission certificate.

Betty Renzullo

24 Jun 2023

Thank you.

Wilhelmenia Harris

18 Jul 2023

Where do I get an "official " identification card expressing my name, notary commission # & photo to present upon entry

National Notary Association

18 Jul 2023

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?


15 Feb 2024

My ex was sent a document from child support to be notorized by them so that my child support debt could be forgiven and a few weeks later I recieved a copy with a letter saying it was rehected by the court because they was dated it a day after it was notorized.. what's going on there?! Does that happen? How does that happen!?

National Notary Association

16 Feb 2024

Hello. You would need to contact an attorney or a court to ask about their reasons for rejecting the document.

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