Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is a notarial certificate?
‘Notarial Certificate’ means the portion of a notarized record that is completed by the notary, bears the notary’s signature and seal, and states the facts attested by the notary on that record. When notarizing a document, a South Carolina notary public MUST always use a statement to confirm that the signing party is physically in their presence. For example, “Sworn and Subscribed before me on this __ day of __, 20__.”
2) Does the Secretary of State’s Office investigate misconduct by notaries public?
The South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office is not authorized to investigate or penalize notaries public. There are several actions prohibited by law that are misdemeanors. Therefore, these activities should be reported to local law enforcement. If a notary public is convicted of one of the misdemeanors set forth in Title 26, Chapter 1 of the S.C. Code of Laws, the notary public will forfeit his or her commission at that time and not be issued another commission.
3) May I notarize documents in other states and countries?
A notary public’s jurisdiction extends throughout the State of South Carolina, but does not extend beyond its borders (§26-1-80). Jurisdiction is limited to the physical borders of South Carolina and notarial acts cannot be performed outside of the state. However, documents for use in another state may be notarized in South Carolina so long as the notarization physically takes place within the borders of the state. South Carolina law does not allow out-of-state residents to become South Carolina notaries public, even if they are employed within the State of South Carolina.
4) Am I issued an identification number once I become a notary public?
No. South Carolina notaries public are not issued any identifying number. They are identified by their name and commission expiration date.
5) Are attorneys automatically notaries?
Attorneys are not automatically notaries public. They must apply and be commissioned like any other member of the public.
6) Are notaries required to have a bond?
South Carolina notaries public are not required to be bonded.
7) Are notaries required to keep a journal of notarial acts?
South Carolina notaries public are not required to keep notary journals. However, it is STRONGLY encouraged. It is a good idea to have a record of all notarial acts performed in case questions arise related to the execution of a document.