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Can You Become a Notary If You Don’t Live in the US?

Notaries play a vital role in certifying the authenticity of documents and signatures, but their authority and jurisdiction are typically limited to their home country or state. If you’re not a resident of the United States, becoming a notary in the US might seem like a complicated process. In this blog, we’ll explore whether it’s possible for non-US residents to become notaries in the United States and what steps might be involved.

Understanding Notary Jurisdiction

Notaries public are public officers appointed by state governments in the US. Their role primarily involves witnessing and certifying signatures on various documents, such as affidavits, deeds, and contracts. However, their authority is limited to the specific state in which they are commissioned. Notaries have no authority or jurisdiction outside their designated state.

US Citizenship or Residency Requirements

To become a notary in the United States, most states require candidates to be either US citizens or legal residents of that state. While the exact requirements can vary from one state to another, a common criterion is that you must have a physical address in the state where you seek to become a notary.

Exceptions for Non-Residents

Although the general rule is that notaries must be residents of the state in which they wish to practice, there are a few exceptions. Some states do allow non-residents to become notaries, but the requirements can still be stringent. Here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Bond or Surety: Some states might require non-resident notaries to obtain a bond or surety that covers the potential risks associated with their notarial acts.
  2. Physical Presence: Even if you’re not a resident of the state, you might still need to establish a physical presence, such as a business address, within that state.
  3. Special Circumstances: In certain cases, non-residents might be allowed to become notaries if they can prove they have a legitimate need for notarization services within that state. This can include individuals who conduct business across state lines.

Consult State-Specific Regulations

To determine the specific requirements for non-residents seeking notary commissions in the US, it’s crucial to consult the notary regulations of the state where you’re interested in practicing. Each state has its own unique set of rules and guidelines governing notaries, and these regulations can change over time.


While it’s not impossible for non-US residents to become notaries in the United States, the process can be complex and is subject to state-specific regulations. If you’re considering pursuing this path, research the requirements of the particular state where you wish to practice, and consider seeking legal advice to navigate the intricacies of notary law. Ultimately, becoming a notary in the US as a non-resident is possible in some cases, but it may require determination, careful planning, and adherence to strict state guidelines.

Author: Vandana

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