Can a Notary Public Notarize a Document from Another State?

As a notary, you are obligated to follow the laws of the state in which you were commissioned. But does this mean you can only notarize documents issued from that state? Or are you authorized to notarize out-of-state documents?

It is not uncommon for notary publics to be approached about notarizing documents from another state. To accomplish your duties as a notary, you should know whether you are permitted to handle the client’s specific notarial requests.

Can a Notary Legally Notarize Out-of-State Documents?

Yes, a notary public can legally notarize documents from any state as long as the notarial act occurs in the state in which they were commissioned. This means that if you are commissioned in Pennsylvania, you can notarize a document from California or Ohio as long as the client approaches you within Pennsylvania and you perform the notarial acts within your jurisdiction. You would not be able to travel to California and notarize the document unless you were commissioned in CA.

Know Your State’s Notary Laws

Regardless of where the out-of-state document will be filed, you are required to follow your state’s notary laws. For example, if you’re commissioned in Pennsylvania but notarizing a legal document from Ohio, the laws in your jurisdiction supersede those in Ohio. Do not follow the notary laws from which the document originated; otherwise, you could face serious consequences.

Take Into Account the Venue

As a notary public, you should always verify the information listed under the venue section of the notarial certificate to ensure the state and country listed reflects the state where the notarizing is taking place. Sometimes, this information can be pre-filled when the document is issued. If the client takes the document across state lines, this information will be incorrect. You can fix the discrepancy by crossing out the listed information and writing the correct state.

Cover All Your Bases

While a notary public can notarize documents from another state, they must be extra cautious, ensuring the notarial act is legal. Be sure to follow the laws of your state of commission and read the notarial certificate carefully. If you are unsure of the legality of the out-of-state document, you can refuse to sign it. After all, your signature is testifying to the truthfulness of the document, so if you can’t say for sure that it is legal, you shouldn’t put your name on it.

As a notary public, you have an important job to do. Ensure you offer the best notary services in your jurisdiction by being prepared. Order all of your notary products, such as high-quality, official notary stamps online, from Notaries Equipment Company.

If you require assistance finding the tools you need for your state of commission, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We would be happy to assist in equipping you with everything you need for a successful career!


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