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National Notary FAQ

Arizona Frequently Asked Questions

Arizona Frequently Asked Questions

 

Are notaries licensed like other professionals? 

No. Notaries are public officers and are appointed and commissioned by the Governor with the assistance of the Secretary of State.


What is the purpose of a notary public? 

A notary public is a person of integrity who is appointed to act as an impartial witness to the signing of an important transaction and to perform a notarial act, which validates the transaction. A notary’s primary purpose is to prevent fraud and forgery by requiring the personal presence of the signer and satisfactorily identifying the signer.


What is a notary bond?

The notary bond is a type of surety bond issued by an approved surety company to protect the public against any wrongdoing on the part of the notary. The surety company guarantees to the public that you, as a notary public, will perform your duties in accordance with the law, and if you do not, the company will pay any damages caused by the incorrect notarization up to the amount of the bond. 


What amount of bond is required in Arizona? 

$5,000. The State of Arizona requires notaries to purchase a notary bond. This bond is valid throughout the 4 year notary commission in the State of Arizona. 


What type of notary seal is required? 

The official for Arizona notaries is the rubber stamp. The stamp must contain four elements: the phrase, "Notary Public - State of Arizona", your exact commission name, your notary commission number, and the expiration date of your commission. The seal must be affixed with black ink that is photographically reproducible.


May I use a metal embosser seal? 

The official seal is a rubber stamp. However, you may use an embossing seal in addition to the rubber notary stamp, but not in place of it. Notary Public Underwriters offers both seals in several styles, all of which comply with Arizona law. If you frequently notarize out-of-state or international documents, you may want to purchase an embosser seal, which is readily accepted as the notary standard around the world.


May I use the Great Seal of Arizona on my notary stamp? 

No. Notaries are prohibited from using the state seal.


What do I do if my seal is lost or stolen? 

If your seal is lost, stolen or in the possession of another person, you must notify the Secretary of State immediately. Send or deliver a written letter to the Secretary of State regarding the lost or stolen seal, including the last name you used or had on your notary seal in your possession.


 Do I have any liability as a notary? 

Yes. The public counts on notaries to perform their duties properly. By making an error on a notarization, you could cause someone to lose their property or be responsible for a multi-million dollar transaction being voided. As a result, a court could find you liable for the loss and enter a judgment against you. Most bond companies demand repayment if they pay a claim against you. In addition, whatever your bond does not pay, you would be liable for.


How do I limit my liability? 

Know and follow Arizona's notary laws, take responsibility for your own notary education, keep informed about law changes, never make any exceptions for anyone, use reasonable care and common sense in performing your duties, carry Errors & Omissions Insurance and keep a record book.


Am I required to keep a record of my notarial acts? 

Yes. Arizona law requires notaries to keep a record book with exact chronological details of each notarial act performed. Notaries are also required to keep a fee book in which to enter all charges for notarial services. These two books do not have to be maintained separately and may be combined into one book. The law specifies the exact elements to be recorded. The notary public record book published by Notary Public Underwriters meets the requirements of the law. Be sure to include this item on your order form with your application, contact us directly to order at (800)821-0831 or purchase online through our Supplies section.


Why should I keep a record book? 

Record books are an inexpensive way to keep a record of every notarization you perform. There are several advantages, including:

-- A record book can serve as a reminder of the steps of notarization.
-- A record book may protect you against a claim of negligence or impropriety.
-- A record book may help prove you notarized a document when there is a question about your signature or when the notarial certificate is destroyed or marred in some way.
-- A record book can refresh your memory about a notarization you do not recall.
-- A record book is reliable as evidence in court if you have to testify about a notarization.
-- A record book not only protects you, but may also protect your customer and your employer.


How do I change my address?
You must notify the Secretary of State in writing of any change in your residence or business address or telephone number within 60 days of the change. Do not forget to notify Notary Public of America, so we can stay in touch with you.
 

 What must I do if I changed my name after marriage? 

Arizona law requires you to obtain an amended commission within 60 days of the change of your legal name. If Notary Public Underwriters is your bond agency, please request a name change application form. The cost is $49 which includes the state fee of $25, the rider to your notary bond and new notary stamp. You may call us at (800)821-0831 or email your request. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.


Do I notify the state of a name change?

Yes. Arizona law requires you to obtain an amended commission within 60 days of the change of your legal name. If Notary Public Underwriters is your bond agency, please request a name change application form. The cost is $49 which includes the state fee of $25, the rider to your notary bond and new notary stamp. You may call us at (800)821-0831 or email your request. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.


 What must I do if I change my address? 

You must notify the Secretary of State in writing of any change in your residence or business address or telephone number within 60 days of the change. Do not forget to notify Notary Public of America, so we can stay in touch with you.


What should I do if my order has not shown up in time? 

Please contact Notary Public of America.


When can I expect to receive my purchase? 

Generally, you can expect your purchase to arrive within 5 to 7 business days. However, please allow up to 12 business days for any carrier delays.


What does it mean to "notarize a signature"?

"Notarize a signature" is a generic phrase used when administering an oath or taking an acknowledgment, the two most common notarial acts.


What notarial acts am I authorized to perform? 

The main duties of Arizona notaries are to administer oaths and take acknowledgements. Notaries may also make attested photocopies of certain documents, verify vehicle identification numbers on official forms transferring title, and certify the contents of safe deposit boxes for nonpayment of rental fees.


How do I administer an oath for a document? 

Assuming the document is ready for notarization and the signer has been satisfactorily identified and is willing to sign the document, you administer the oath by asking a simple question, “Do you solemnly swear the information contained in this document is the truth, so help you God?” For an oath, you must witness the person signing the document.


What should I do if a signer objects due to religion? 

A legal alternative to an oath is an affirmation. Ask the question: “Do you solemnly affirm under the penalties of perjury the information contained in this document is the truth?”


How do I take an acknowledgement? 

Assuming the document is ready for notarization and the signer has been satisfactorily identified and is willing to sign the document, you take the signer’s acknowledgement by asking a simple question: “Do you acknowledge and declare this is your signature, you understand this document, and you willingly signed the document for the purposes stated herein?”


What are the steps for performing a notarization? 

Follow these general steps for every notarization you perform:

1. Require the personal appearance of the document signer. Never make an exception!
2. Examine the document to ensure it is complete and contains a properly formatted notarial certificate.
3. Identify the signer, either through your personal acquaintance of the individual or some type of satisfactory evidence, such as a valid driver’s license, passport or another form of acceptable identification listed in the notary law.
4. Enter the transaction into your record book.
5. Perform the notarization ceremony. You must communicate verbally with the signer to perform the notarial act. The person usually signs the document at this point.
6. Complete the notarial certificate. Make sure the information is correct and complete. Do not forget to sign and seal the certificate.


What is the venue? 

"State of Arizona, County of ________"

This notation is called the venue. It is the location of the notarization - not the county where you live or work.


May I notarize the signature of a blind person? 

Yes. But only if you first read the document to the person and you feel sure about the person's understanding and willingness to sign


May I notarize my own signature? 

No. Notarizing your own signature violates the requirement for impartiality. Violation of this prohibition is a felony crime.


 Can I perform a notarization for a family member? 

Arizona law states you may not notarize for certain family members: spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father. However, most notary authorities agree notaries must NOT notarize for any of their family member. You would compromise your role as an impartial witness and may jeopardize the validity of an important transaction.


May I perform a notarization when I am a party? 

No. If you are a party to the transaction or if you have a financial interest in the transaction, you may NOT be the notary for this transaction. You would not be impartial, and the transaction could be deemed unlawful or unenforceable.


May I assist a client with legal documents? 

No, not unless you are an attorney licensed to practice law in Arizona. Furthermore, you may not explain the contents of a document or give any advice about the document. If you do, you may be found guilty of the unauthorized practice of law.


May I help a friend fill out immigration papers? 

No. Only attorneys or qualified immigration specialists may perform these duties.


Can I notarize a photograph? 

No. This is not an authorized duty of a notary. An alternative would be to notarize the signature of a person who is willing to certify the authenticity of the photograph in a sworn statement.


What happens if a notarization has cost me money? 

You may file a claim against the notary's bond.


How do I file a claim against a notary's bond? 

A bond is required by the State to be available in order to compensate any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the notary. Individuals harmed can file a claim against the notaries bond for financial damage.

Claims may occur due to signatures which are forged, incomplete or otherwise defective in real estate transactions, motor vehicle transfers and cases where the validity or date of a document may be an issue.

In order to file a claim against a notary bonded through our company you will need to submit the following:

Copy of improperly notarized document
Proof of error or fraud by notary
Letter stating amount of financial damage or loss caused by the notarization
Please send the above information to:

Claims Department
Notary Public Underwriters
P.O. Box 7457
Tallahassee, FL 32314-7457

Or fax to:
877-856-1663
Attn: Claims Department

For all questions regarding the status of your filed claim, please contact CNA Surety at 800.331.6053.


Who do I contact to check on the status of a claim? 

For all questions regarding the status of your filed claim, please contact CNA Surety at 800.331.6053


Am I able to track my order?

You may track the progress of your order on your My Account page. We will show the status of your order from the time it is processed to the time it has shipped. At this time we do not offer tracking numbers for standard shipping.


Do you offer discounts for bulk orders?

Yes. If you are considering purchasing a large quantity of product at once, please contact us for preferred pricing.


How do I pay for my order?  

At the moment, Notary Public of America accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards. We also accept check and money orders by mail.


May I pay extra for express delivery? 

Yes. Please contact our Customer Service department at 800.821.0831.


May I cancel or change my order? 

This will depend on how far down the process your order has gone. We try to get orders processed as soon as we can, so if your order is listed as “shipped” on your account page it is too late to edit or cancel. If you think you have made a mistake with your order, please contact our Customer Care Team. We will see if there is something we can do to help.


Can I get a refund? 

Please contact our Customer Care Team if you are not happy with your order. Once we know what the problem is, we will let you know how we can help.


Will you share contact information with others? 

Absolutely not. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.


 Do you keep my information? 

We do save some of your information, such as your name, email, address and order number. We do NOT store your payment details. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.


How secure is my payment?

Security is Notary Public of America’ highest priority. We use the most up-to-date security for the application and payment pages. In addition, we do not store any of your credit card information.