Idaho State Seal

Idaho Secretary of State
Notaries and Apostilles

Frequently Asked Questions

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Are both my stamp and my signature required for a notarial transaction?

Yes. [51-106(3), Idaho Code]

Whose signature can a notary notarize?

Anyone’s but their own so long as there is no conflict of interest. [51-108, Idaho Code]

Where can a notary notarize?

Anywhere in Idaho and may be used outside the state only in connection with a deed or other writing to be admitted to record in the state of Idaho. [51-107(2), Idaho Code]

Is a journal required?

No, only suggested.

Do I need to see the document signed in front of me?

No, the signer need not sign in the notary’s presence, but must personally appear before the notary and unambiguously state that the signature on the document is his or hers and must show satisfactory identification. [55-707, Idaho Code. Case Notes: "Duties of Officer".]

Is a "mark" acceptable as an individual’s signature?

Yes, 73-114 Idaho Code Use a credible witness familiar with the signer. Have the credible witness write the marker’s name by the mark. The credible witness will also sign as the witness. Have the credible witness sign the notary journal and make a special note if a journal is being used. You will be notarizing the "signer’s mark".

What is satisfactory identification?

In most cases satisfactory identification would be a photo-bearing driver’s license, military identification card, or passport. Something that shows a photo and a signature.

Must I be concerned with whether the form is filled out properly, as long as the notarial certificate is correct?

No, it is not the notary’s responsibility to check that the document is properly filled out, but it is the notary’s responsibility to make sure the notarial certificate is correct and complete.

What is a notarial certificate?

There is a particular form of certificate for each type of notarial act. [51-109, Idaho Code] A signature and seal of the notary public without a notarial certificate is meaningless.

If the notarial certificate is not pre-printed on the document can I attach a separate sheet of paper with the notary certificate on it?

The notary may write or type the necessary certificate on the document. If there is no room at the bottom it can be put on the back of the document. If there is absolutely no room anywhere on the actual document to affix the notary certificate you may attach the certificate on a separate sheet of paper. This should only be done as a last resort.

What is Disqualifying Interests?

If the notary public is named as a party to the transaction or shares the same beneficial interest as a party to the transaction they should not notarize the document. [51-108, Idaho Code]

May I refuse to notarize a document for someone?

The Notary Public law does not address this question specifically, however, since you are a public servant it could be considered discrimination and therefore unconstitutional to refuse notarizing a document without some basis.

What is the difference between a jurat and an acknowledgment?

A "jurat" is that part of an affidavit in which you, the notary, state that it was sworn to before you.

"Acknowledgment" means a declaration by a person that he or she has executed an instrument for the purposes stated therein and, if the instrument is executed in a representative capacity, that he or she signed the instrument with proper authority and executed it as the act of the person or entity represented and identified therein. [51-109, Idaho Code]

Is it legal to certify a copy of a birth, death, or marriage certificate, or a decree of divorce, as being true and correct.

No. A notary can certify copies only of documents which cannot be obtained from a recorder or custodian of public documents. [51-107(c), Idaho Code]

How is a notary’s signature authenticated on a document for use in this country or overseas?

Authenticating a Notary Public’s signature can be done only by the Secretary of State’s office. The document that needs the certification attached must be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office with the request for either a "Certification" or an "Apostille". If you are not sure which type you need only indicate the country that the documents will ultimately be sent to and this office will then make the determination as to which authentication certificate to use. The fee for each certification is $10.00.

If I leave my current job and that employer paid for my becoming a notary, am I no longer a notary?

No, you are still a notary. However, be aware that the employer may cancel your bond, thus canceling your commission and you would be required to apply for a Notary commission again. If you are a state employee and your bond has been obtained through the Bureau of Risk Management you are required to resign your commission upon termination of your state job. If your employer does not allow you to take your stamp with you, you should ask that it be destroyed and you can purchase a new one. If you keep a journal it is the property of the notary. [51-113, Idaho Code]

If I move out of state is my commission still valid?

No, once you have moved out of state you have 30 days to submit notice of resignation unless still employed in Idaho. [51-113(e) and 51-115(2), Idaho Code]

Is a specific ink color required for the Notary stamp?

No, please keep in mind that the color should be one that will fax, copy or scan clearly.

What fees may I charge?

A Notary Public may charge a fee not to exceed $2.00 per notarial act. [51-110, Idaho Code] You may also be compensated for actual and reasonable expense of travel .

Who is covered by my bond?

The surety bond required by the state protects the signer of the document and not the Notary Public. An Errors and Omissions policy can be purchased which would protect the Notary Public.

Is my expiration date required whenever I notarize a document?

Yes. [51-109(6), Idaho Code]

If I change my name or address am I required to notify the Secretary of State’s office?

Yes, once you have changed your name and/or address you have 60 days to submit written notice along with a $5.00 filing fee. If your residence has not changed but you wish to change your mailing address only you may submit written notice specifying a change of mailing address only without a fee. [51-111(2), Idaho Code]

What does the "ss" stand for on the Venue?

s.s. is the latin word "Scilicet" meaning "in particular" or "namely".

What is a Venue?

The definition of Venue is "The clause in an affidavit naming the locality where it was made and sworn to".

If I reside in one county and I am doing a notarial transaction in another county, what county do I indicate when it says "County of"?

You indicate the county in which you are actually doing that transaction. The only time you would indicate your county of residence is if the wording is specifically asking where you reside.

Is a test required to apply as a Notary Public?

No.

What information is required on the Notary Public seal?

The only information allowed on the seal is the Notary Public’s name, the words "State of Idaho" and the words "Notary Public". There can be no other information or graphics on the seal.

What is a Notary Signing Agent?

Notary signing agents are employed by private companies. They are not certified or commissioned by the State of Idaho beyond the normal notary application process. A notary signing agent has no special powers and must adhere to Idaho notary law in all transactions. It is illegal for a notary or a notary signing agent to give legal advice, explain legal documents or aid customers in completing legal or immigration forms. Idaho Code 51-110 states a Notary public may, for any notarial act, charge a fee not to exceed two dollars ($2.00). In addition to the fee, a notary public may be compensated for actual and reasonable expense of travel to a place where a notarial act is be performed.

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office urges notaries to exercise caution in considering signing agent or mobile notary offers. We recommend contacting the Department of Insurance and the Department of Finance before venturing into a business as a “Mobile Notary” or “Signing Agent” to ensure that you are not in violation of the Independent Escrow Act or Closing Agent licensing.

If a bank or mortgage company wants to employ a notary to perform notary services, act as a “signing agent” or “mobile notary officer” and wants to pay more than the statutory rate, that is up to them. However, the fee a notary may charge for their services is set forth in state laws as described above. Neither the notary nor a third party charging notary fees as part of the services they provide should exceed the statutory fees in charging for notary services.

Please be sure to explain the fees assessed to the customer as to what portion of the fee is for the notarial services.

Do you have another question that is not answered in this FAQ?

Contact Debbie Farnsworth by phone (208) 332-2810, fax (208) 334-2282, or email questions to dfarnsworth@sos.idaho.gov


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