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How To Become A Notary Public In Oregon

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Oregon, this practical guide will answer many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, and find out how you can become a commissioned Notary. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a Oregon notary or renewing your Oregon commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Requirements to be a Notary in Oregon
Oregon Notary Process
What Can I Do With My Oregon Commission?
General Notary Public Information

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Requirements to be a Notary in Oregon 

Who can become a Notary?

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

  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Be able to read and write English
  3. Live or work in the state of Oregon
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit during the 10-year period preceding the date of application
  5. Not have had a Notary commission revoked during the 10-year period preceding the date of application

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Oregon Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public?
  1. Make sure you meet all of your state’s qualifications:
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Be able to read and write English
    • Live or work in the state of Oregon
    • Have not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit during the 10-year period preceding the date of application
  2. The quickest way to submit your application is online. Upon submission of an application, a criminal background check will be performed; this will confirm that you have not had a previous Notary commission revoked. If the application is approved, an email is sent to you with a PDF attachment of the Oath of Office. You must print out the oath, sign it in front of a Notary, and then submit it to the Secretary of State with the $40 application fee. The mailing address for paper applications is:
    • Office of Secretary of State
      Corporation Division
      Notary Section
      Public Service Building
      255 Capitol St., N.E., Suite 151
      Salem, OR 97310-1327
  3. Once the oath has been filed, an email will be sent to you with PDF attachment files of the Certificate of Authorization and the Commission Certificate (both may be printed out).
  4. Submit your Certificate of Authorization to a maker of rubber stamps.
  5. Purchase your Notary seal (inking stamp) and journal; you may purchase more than one inking stamp at a time.
  6. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  7. Begin performing notarizations for the public.
  8. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?
  1. Be sure you continue to meet the qualifications to become a Notary.
  2. Review the application process and instructions on the Secretary of State’s website.
  3. 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.
  4. Renewal applications and exams should be submitted no earlier than two and half months before commission expiration.
  5. Purchase your Notary seal (inking stamp) and journal; you may purchase more than one inking stamp at a time.
  6. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended)
  7. Begin performing notarizations for the public
  8. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance.
How long does a Oregon Notary commission last?

The term of a Oregon Notary commission is four years.

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.

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 submitting an application. 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 is on the Secretary’s website.

Do I need to take an exam?

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 other 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 equipment will I need?

Oregon Notaries use a rubber stamp ink seal 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.

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. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you are constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

Every Oregon Notary must keep one or more Notary Public chronicles of his or her notarial acts. This must be a true and perfect record of his or her official acts. The Notary must retain this public record for 10 years after the last notarial act 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.

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.

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 his or her obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public, 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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What Can I Do With My Oregon Commission?

Where will I be able to notarize?

A 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.

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General Notary Public Information

What is a Notary Public?

An Oregon Notary is appointed by the Secretary of State to be an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. Oregon Notaries are authorized to administer several official acts, including oaths, affirmations, verifications, witness signings, certify copies and acknowledgments. In addition to those acts, Oregon Notaries can also make protests.

Why become a Notary?

Notaries perform an important role in preventing fraud and ensuring the integrity of transactions by verifying the identity of document signers. It’s common for employees of many businesses that deal with signed document transactions on a regular basis — such as financial institutions, law firms or corporations — to become Notaries. Some entrepreneurs become commissioned Notaries as a part-time or full-time business for themselves, traveling to a signer’s home or place of business to notarize documents for a fee.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Oregon Office of Secretary of State, Corporation Division - Notary Section, located in Salem, Oregon.

May I become a 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.

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