Can You Be a Notary in Multiple States?

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Being a notary public is an important position of trust, where an individual is authorized by the state to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. Notaries are appointed at the state level in the United States, and the rules and requirements for becoming a notary vary significantly from one state to another. A common question among notaries or those aspiring to become notaries is whether one can hold notary commissions in multiple states. This article explores the regulations and practical considerations surrounding the ability to be a notary in more than one state.

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State-Specific Notary Laws

Each state in the U.S. has its own set of laws and regulations governing notaries public, including eligibility criteria, the application process, duties, and the length of the commission term. These laws dictate whether an individual residing in or doing business in a state can apply to become a notary.

Residency Requirements

One of the key factors in determining whether an individual can be a notary in multiple states is the residency requirement set forth by each state. Some states allow non-residents to become notaries if they meet certain conditions, such as:

  • Having a place of employment or practice in the state
  • Completing a state-specific notary application and training
  • Passing a state notary exam (if required)

Other states might restrict notary commissions strictly to their residents, effectively limiting the ability of individuals to hold commissions in multiple states.

Holding Multiple Commissions

For states that permit non-residents to become notaries or do not strictly enforce residency requirements, it is legally possible for an individual to hold notary commissions in more than one state. However, notaries must ensure they comply with the specific legal requirements and practices of each state in which they are commissioned, including:

  • Using the correct notary seal and signature for the state
  • Adhering to the record-keeping requirements
  • Following the state-specific rules for notarial acts

Practical Considerations

Beyond the legal feasibility, there are practical considerations for holding notary commissions in multiple states, such as:

  • Cost: Each state commission may involve application fees, education or training costs, and the purchase of notary supplies.
  • Renewal: Keeping track of different commission terms and renewal requirements for each state can be administratively challenging.
  • Liability: Notaries must be aware of their legal responsibilities in each state to avoid potential errors and omissions that could lead to legal liability.


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