Common Misconceptions about Notaries


Many people may not know exactly what notaries do or what types of services they provide. Here are a few common myths about the notary profession.

1. Being a notary is not a “real” career.

Some people believe that the services notaries provide are not essential or can be provided by other entities such as banks. This is simply untrue. Public notaries have to be specifically trained for their line of work. Many notary professionals have full-time careers and have built their own businesses. Some have developed strategies that enabled them to expand their services and supplement their incomes.  This extends to mobile notary services and 24 hour notaries.

2. A notary can provide services anywhere in the state.

This is largely true, but there may be exceptions for special places like military bases or Indian reservations. Check with your state’s laws to make sure.

3. The notary must understand the language of the document he or she is notarizing.

In some states, the notary does not need to be able to read the document, but the signer has to be able to understand the document.

 4. A notary’s job is easy – all he or she has to do is witness a signature and place a notary seal on the document.

This is false. A notary must handle a lot of paperwork and logistics that goes on behind the scenes. Additionally, the notary must make sure that the signer completely understands the document before he or she can witness the signature.

5. A notary can only provide services for U. S. citizens.

Notaries provide services for the public, including any foreign-born individual. Notaries will not turn down clients based upon nationality. They are only justified in refusing clients when asked to perform an illegal or unauthorized notarization.