Politics & Law
5 Guidelines That Notaries Must Follow

5 Guidelines That Notaries Must Follow

notary is someone who uses a seal and their official signature to certify documents. While many believe that these individuals can act as they please, there are actually several guidelines they must follow that keep them honest. 

1. Qualifications

While it may seem like there is an unlimited number of vastly different public notaries, there are several qualifications that all of these individuals meet. In every state, these officials are all at least 18 years old, legal residents of the US, and able to read and write English. Additionally, none of them have been convicted of a felony. Some states can also impose other restrictions. For instance, many states demand that any notaries are legal residents of the state they are applying in. 

2. Commission

To become a certified professional, candidates must apply for permission from their state. Candidates must file these applications and pay filing fees in full for them to receive their status. Also, they must be able to prove that the information on the application is correct. 

3. Terms

In many states, their commission is only good for short terms, such as four years. When their term expires, they must refile an application and pay the associated fees to continue providing these services. If notaries do not refile their applications and pay their fees, they cannot continue providing services. Any notaries who continue to certify documents without the proper commission are guilty of a criminal offense. 

4. Seals and Stamps

Notaries are required to put their stamp or seal on every document they certify. The stamp they use is also regulated, with any seals needing to be sharp, permanent, legible, and copiable. In most states, the stamps must contain the official’s name, title, and state. This information must be accurate. Otherwise, the seal is not considered viable. Additionally, the seal must not be placed in any location that obscures signatures or other writing on documents. Once the stamp has been placed, no one can change it. 

5. Allowable Fees

Most states do not require that notaries charge fees for their services. However, they do tend to limit the amount that notaries can charge per signed paper. Additionally, mobile offices are often allowed to charge travel fees. These do not tend to be limited. 

Notaries are public officials who are crucial for certifying documents. While it may seem like they are in abundance and unregulated, they actually have to meet specific criteria before notarizing documents. 

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