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Terms and Conditions

Sworn Versus Unsworn Oaths

Notaries Public in all U.S. jurisdictions are authorized to administer oaths and affirmations. Oaths and affirmations both function as solemn promises of truthfulness, and both are statements made under the penalty of perjury. The key difference between an oath and an affirmation is that an oath invokes a higher power.

An oath is not “sworn” unless the oath-taker appears.

Oaths and affirmations may be administered for the signing of a document, or they may be for a purpose unrelated to a document, such as a witness’ swearing–in prior to giving testimony or a person’s verbal oath of office. Regardless of the situation, what makes an oath “sworn” is the requirement that the oath-taker appear before a person who is authorized to administer oaths. When the authorized person is a Notary Public, the administration of a sworn oath assures the relying parties that the oath-taker personally appeared, was satisfactorily identified, and was not coerced into participating in the transaction or ceremony.

“Unsworn” oaths do not require the appearance of an authorized official.

On the other hand, an “unsworn” oath occurs when a person signs a declaration “under the penalty of perjury,” asserting the truthfulness of some written information or statement. Unsworn oaths do not require the person to appear before an authorized official, such as a Notary Public. Unsworn oaths also lack the valuable formalities provided by authorized officials like personal appearance, oath-taker identification, and assessment of comprehension and willingness.

While unsworn oaths are sufficient for some transactions, nothing quite compares to the assurances relying parties gain through sworn oaths and the involvement of a Notary Public.