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How to Become a Notary Public in Oregon

Applicants can become an Oregon Notary Public by taking the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state's qualifications (see below).
  2. Take the state-required training course and pass the exam.
  3. Complete an application.
  4. A criminal background check will be performed when you submit your application.
  5. If your application is approved, you'll receive an email with your Oath of Office attached.
  6. Print the oath and sign it in front of a Notary.
  7. Submit it to the Secretary of State with the $40 application fee.
  8. Once your oath is filed, you'll receive an email with your Certificate of Authorization and Commission Certificate.
  9. Submit your Certificate of Authorization to a maker of rubber stamps.
  10. Buy your Notary seal and journal. You may purchase more than one inking stamp at a time.
  11. Get E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  12. Take continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Oregon Notary Process | OR Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Oregon Notary Process

Here, we cover the cost of a Notary Public commission and more.

How much does it cost?

There is a $40 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors.

Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more how-to assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees — processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

How long does it take?

It can take four to six weeks to become commissioned as an Oregon Notary Public. This depends on your availability and the time the Secretary of State needs to process your application.

How long does an Oregon Notary commission last?

The term of an Oregon Notary commission is four years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Oregon

Learn how you can qualify for a Notary commission in the Beaver State.

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in Oregon must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in Oregon
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit during the 10-year period preceding the date of application
  • Not have had a Notary commission revoked during the 10-year period preceding the date of application

In addition, you must not have been convicted of 1) acting as or otherwise impersonating a Notary as described in ORS 194.990, 2) obstructing governmental or judicial administration under ORS 162.235(1)(b), or 3) engaging in the unauthorized practice of law as described in ORS 9.160. You also must not have been found by a court to have practiced law without a license in a suit under ORS 9.166 or engaged in an unlawful trade practice described in ORS 646.608(1)(vvv).

What kind of training will I need?

A mandatory Notary training course, completed within the last six months, and an examination must be taken before applying. All first-time applicants and all current Notaries whose commissions will expire before renewal must take the class. Renewing Notaries who apply and pass the exam before commission expiration are exempted. A list of certified education providers approved by the Secretary of State can be found on the Secretary's website.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes, you must pass an online, open-book exam that includes true-false and multiple-choice questions based on the Notary Public Guide, live seminars and online tutorials.

Effective January 22, 2014, the Notary exam is no longer part of the Secretary of State's online Notary education curriculum. Instead, after the Notary training, the exam will be taken in a separate online program: "Exams must be taken through our online system. If the training is completed through an in-person seminar or another education provider, the applicant/Notary will go online, create a log-in and input the applicable education ID # before being directed to the online exam."

What kind of supplies will I need?

Oregon Notaries must use a rubber stamp ink seal and a journal for all notarial acts for paper documents. You may use an embosser in addition to the rubber stamp, but the inking stamp must be used as the official seal. The seal must contain the following information:

  • The words "Official Stamp"
  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public – Oregon"
  • The words "Commission No." followed by your commission number
  • The words "My Commission Expires _____ (date)" (month must be spelled out completely, two digits for the date and four digits for the year)

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging.

Every Oregon Notary must keep one or more Notary Public chronicles of their notarial acts in a journal. This must be a true and perfect record of their official acts. The Notary must retain this public record for 10 years after the last notarial act was chronicled in the journal. When purchasing a journal, there are important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you're ever named in a lawsuit.

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal — they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

Oregon Notaries are not required to purchase a surety bond. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that the Notary will fulfill their obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public and not the Notary.

Notaries can insure themselves against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Though not required by law, an E&O policy covers a Notary's legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy.

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General Notary Public Information

Below, we answer the most common questions about being an Oregon Notary.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Oregon Office of Secretary of State, Corporation Division - Notary Section, located in Salem, OR, is responsible for issuing Notary Public commissions.

May I become an Oregon Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become an Oregon Notary Public. You must, however, be a legal resident of the state or work in the state legally and meet all other application requirements.

Where will I be able to notarize?

An Oregon Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state's borders.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization. You're prohibited from notarizing your own signature or for your spouse. While the law doesn't specifically prohibit you from notarizing for your relatives, the state strongly advises against it.

How much can Oregon Notaries charge per notarial act?

Oregon Secretary of State sets the maximum fee Notaries can charge at $10 per notarization. An additional fee for travel may be charged as long as the signer agrees to it in advance and understands the fee is separate from the notarial act. If you charge any fees, you must display an English-language fee schedule in your place of business or present it to signers if you're outside your place of business.

What should I do if I move or change my name?

Any changes to your address or name must be reported to the Secretary of State within 30 days of the change. Complete the Notary Information Change – Address/Fee Waiver or Notary Information Change – Name/Signature form from the Secretary's website, get it notarized and return it to the office. There is no fee to update your record.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

The renewal process is identical to the initial application process, except that current Notaries who apply for renewal and pass the exam before their commissions expire are exempted from the training class.

Renewal applications and exams should be submitted no earlier than two and a half months before the commission expiration date.

How do I become an electronic Notary in Oregon?

Electronic notarizations are in-person notarial acts that involve digital documents and electronic signatures. To become an OR electronic notary, you must first hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public. Then, complete the Electronic Notarization Notice form and include a sample of your official stamp, electronic signature and electronic notarial certificate in a PDF-A format. Send the form and attached document in an email with the subject line "Electronic Notarization Notice" to program-services.sos@oregon.gov.

What do I need to know about remote online notarization in Oregon?

While electronic notarizations are allowed in Oregon, permanent remote online notarization (RON) is not. Although the state has temporarily allowed RON until June 30, 2021, which you can learn more about in this article.

If you're not quite ready yet, we have additional resources where you can learn what a Notary is, what they do and why you should become a commissioned Notary.

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