Question: Can you be a notary in multiple states?
The short answer is yes, but you’d need specific requirements and qualifications to accomplish this.
Not all states will allow this. For example, the state of New York will enable non-residents to apply for a notary license in the state only if they are operating a business in New York State. Other states allow you to be a notary only in the state you physically reside in. Notary commissions are not transferrable between states. This is for the simple reason that notary rules and regulations can vary between states.
Another reason commissions are not transferable between states is because not all services are allowed in each state. In Florida, for example, notaries are allowed to perform weddings and act as wedding officiants, but in New York, this service is not permitted as a notary.
Additionally, some states may have different regulations regarding the type of documents which can be notarized. For instance, in Texas a Notary Public is allowed to commission affidavits and acknowledge deeds for real estate transactions, but in other states these services might be restricted or unavailable altogether. Therefore, it’s important to understand the specific laws and regulations of each state before attempting to become a Notary Public in that state. Ultimately, the inability to transfer commissions between states is due to the different standards and regulations that exist across jurisdictions. This means that a Notary who wishes to work in multiple states will need to complete the process of becoming commissioned in each state separately.
Often, notaries are asked to notarize for two signers, but the signers live in two different states. You will most likely see this arrangement with sellers who are related and in a contract together, or with buyer and seller contracts when one person sells a property to another person residing somewhere else, but both need to sign the documents.
The notary will notarize the document for the signer in their commissioned state, and then the other signer would have their signature witnessed by a notary in the state in which they reside. The custodians will not sign the documents simultaneously. Instead, there will be two copies of the same document with both signatures.
Now that you have a basic idea of how commissions cannot be transferred and sometimes you cannot be a notary in two states, many notaries may ask…but does it matter which state you provide notary services once commissioned?
The answer is yes; it matters. If you are commissioned in one state and provide notary services in the same state as your commissioned license, you are within your state’s notary laws and guidelines.
If you are commissioned in one state but want to notarize in another state with no commission, you violate your commissioned state laws if you are not doing business in that state. Notary publics are legally allowed to notarize documents from any state as long the notarial act is conducted within the geographical boundaries of the notary’s state of commission.
This means that if a commissioned notary is traveling away from their commissioned state, they cannot perform any notarial act outside of the state boundaries. If a document needs to be notarized in another state and the commissioned notary does not have a commission in that particular state, then the document must be taken by someone else who does have the proper authority to notarize in the other state. Therefore, if a notary is planning on traveling with their commission and wants to provide any notarial services during their travels, they must ensure that they have obtained the appropriate authorization from the state in which those services will be provided. Failure to do so could result in criminal violations of state law.
Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a notary public has obtained a commission from multiple states, they are only authorized to perform notarial acts within their own state of commission.
Which States Allow Remote Notarization?
Since the pandemic hit, remote online notarizations (RONs) have become a popular service. New York will be authorized to perform RONs effective June 2022 and will join 30+ states who have already authorized RONs. Remote online notarization is also called webcam notarization, online notarization, or virtual notarization.
Remote Online Notarizations are performed using video technology so that the signer can see the notary. The signer must be present during the meeting, provide valid identification as if they were in the presence of a notary, and have their signature witnessed by the notary.
Remote Online Notarizations are more convenient and efficient than a traditional in-person notarization. Typically, the process takes less time, as there is no need to travel to meet with a notary. The signer can also be anywhere in the world as long as they have access to an internet connection and webcam. The entire transaction is recorded for added security and the notary will verify the signer’s identity before completing the process. This allows for a secure and convenient way to get documents notarized from anywhere in the world. Remote Online Notarizations are becoming increasingly popular as an efficient and secure alternative to an in-person notarization.
Currently, 40 states have passed notary legislation laws for RONs. Out of those states, 34 have laws in effect as of November 2021. Those states include the following:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont (see below), Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
For more information, National Notary Association has a great resource on How to Become a Remote Online Notary.
If you are interested in becoming a notary or learning more about the process, be sure to follow our blog. We will continue to update our readers on the latest news and changes related to notarizations – including those affecting RONs. In addition, we provide tips and resources that can help both current and aspiring notaries succeed in this field.
For more information about unique Notary services, check out our article on 24 Hour Notary Services.
Notary Roc City Notary Services
Kim Jones is a veteran mobile Notary and Notary Signing Agent with over 15 years of experience. Kim is the Owner and Operator of Roc City Notary Services in upstate NY.
Notary Jane: Kim Jones