Arizona laws on notaries public can be found in Chapter 2, Title 41 of Arizona revised statutes. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-312, the secretary of state may appoint notaries public in each county to hold office for four years who shall have jurisdiction in the county in which they reside and in which they are appointed. Acknowledgments of documents may be taken and executed and oaths may be administered by a notary public in any county of the state although the commission is issued to the notary public in and for another county. Upon filing the official oath and bond the secretary of state shall deliver the commission to such person. A notary public is a public officer commissioned by Arizona. A notary public’s official seal and commission and any journal that contains only public record entries remain the property of the notary public. A notary public may perform notarizations outside the workplace of the notary’s employer. All fees received by a notary public for notarial services provided while not on duty remain the property of the notary public.
A notary public shall comply with all of the following:
1) Be at least eighteen years of age.
2) Be a citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States.
3) Be a resident of this state for income tax purposes and claim the individual’s residence in this state as the individual’s primary residence on state and federal tax returns.
4) Never have been convicted of a felony.
5) Keep as a reference a manual that is approved by the secretary of state and that describes the duties, authority and ethical responsibilities of notaries public.
6) Be able to read and write English.
An applicant for appointment and commission as a notary public shall complete an application form prescribed by the secretary of state. The state or any of its political subdivisions may pay the fees and costs for the commissioning of a notary public who is an employee of Arizona or any of its political subdivisions and who performs notarial services in the course of the notary public’s employment or for the convenience of public employees. The secretary of state may require that applicants and suspended notaries present proof of attendance at a notary training course before receiving their commissions or before reinstatement of a suspended commission. Any applicant who is required to attend a notary training course must complete the training within ninety days before renewing their commissions. The secretary of state may assess a fee prescribed by the secretary of state for administering notary training courses.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-313, notaries public shall take acknowledgments and give certificates of the acknowledgments endorsed on or attached to the instrument, administer oaths and affirmations, perform jurats and perform copy certification. Notaries public shall:
1) Keep, maintain and protect as a public record a journal of all official acts performed by the notary as described in section 41-319.
2) Provide and keep the official seal that is imprinted in dark ink with the words “notary public”, the name of the county in which the notary is commissioned, the name of the notary as it appears on the notarial application, the great seal of the state of Arizona and the expiration date of the notarial commission.
3) Authenticate with the official seal all official acts, and affix the date of the expiration of the notary’s commission as the notary on every certificate or acknowledgment signed and sealed by the notary.
4) Respond to any requests for information and comply with any investigations that are initiated by the secretary of state or the attorney general[i].
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-321, a vendor of notary seals may not provide an official seal to a person unless the person presents a photocopy of the person’s notarial commission. The vendor shall retain the photocopy for four years. A notary public’s official seal may be any shape and shall produce a stamped seal that is no more than one and one-half inches high and two and one-half inches wide. A notary public may possess only one official seal but may also possess and use an embossing seal that may be used only in conjunction with the notary public’s official seal. An embossing seal is not an official seal of a notary public. A person who violates the section is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-323, within 30 days after the change of a notary’s mailing or residential address, the notary shall deliver to the secretary of state, by certified mail or other means providing a receipt, a signed notice of the change that provides both the old and new addresses. If the official journal or seal is lost or stolen, within 10 days, the notary shall deliver to the secretary of state, by certified mail or other means providing a receipt, a signed notice of the loss or theft. The notary also shall inform the appropriate law enforcement agency in the case of theft. If a notary fails to comply with above provisions, the notary has failed to fully and faithfully discharge the duties of a notary and the secretary of state may impose a civil penalty of $25 against the notary.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-325, the authenticity of the official notarial seal and signature of a notary may be evidenced by either:
1) A certificate of authority from the secretary of state authenticated as necessary.
2) An apostille from the secretary of state in the form prescribed by the Hague convention of October 5, 1961 abolishing the requirement of legalization of foreign public documents.
An apostille as specified by the Hague convention shall be attached to any document that requires authentication and that is sent to a nation that has signed and ratified this convention.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-328, a notary public shall not perform a jurat on a document that is incomplete. If a notary public is presented with a document that the notary knows from experience to be incomplete or if the document on its face is incomplete, the notary public shall refuse to perform the jurat. A notary public is an impartial witness and shall not notarize the notary’s own signature or the signatures of any person who is related by marriage or adoption. Subject to section 41-320, a notary public shall not perform a notarization on a document if the notary is an officer of any named party, if the notary is a party to the document or if the notary will receive any direct material benefit from the transaction that is evidenced by the notarized document that exceeds in value the fees prescribed pursuant to section 41-316.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-330, the secretary of state may refuse to appoint any person as a notary public or may revoke or suspend the commission of any notary public for any of the following reasons:
1)Substantial and material misstatement or omission in the application for a notary public commission that is submitted to the secretary of state.
2) Conviction of a felony unless restored to civil rights, or of a lesser offense involving moral turpitude or of a nature that is incompatible with the duties of a notary public.
3)Revocation, suspension, restriction or denial of a professional license if that action was for misconduct, dishonesty or any cause that substantially relates to the duties or responsibilities of a notary public.
4)Failure to discharge fully and faithfully any of the duties or responsibilities required of a notary public.
5)The use of false or misleading advertising in which the notary public has represented that the notary public has duties, rights or privileges that the notary public does not possess by law.
6)Charging more than the fees authorized by statute or rule.
7)The commission of any act involving dishonesty, fraud or deceit with the intent to substantially benefit the notary public or another person or to substantially injure another person.
8)Failure to complete the acknowledgment or jurat at the time the notary’s signature and seal are affixed to the document.
9)Failure to administer the oath or affirmation required at the time of performing a jurat for an individual.
10)Execution of any notarial certificate by the notary public containing a statement known by the notary public to be false.
11)The return for insufficient funds or any other reason for nonpayment of a check issued for the bond filing fees or the application fees to the secretary of state.
12)Notarizing a document that contains no notarial certificate[iii].
If an application is denied, the secretary of state shall notify the applicant within 30 days after receipt of the application and shall state the reasons for the denial. The secretary of state may suspend the commission of a notary for at least 30 days and for not more than 180 days. If a person has had a notary commission revoked, the secretary of state may refuse to appoint the person as a notary public for four years from the date of the revocation. On revocation or suspension of a notary public’s commission, the secretary of state shall give notice to the notary public and shall provide the person with notice of the opportunity for a hearing on the revocation or suspension. The revocation or suspension of a notary public commission is an appealable agency action[iv].
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-331, any person may make a complaint to the office of the secretary of state regarding a notary public. The secretary of state shall receive any complaints and shall provide notice of those complaints to the office of the attorney general who shall investigate and take action on all complaints involving allegations of any violations of this article. A notary’s failure to respond to an investigation is a failure by the notary to fully and faithfully discharge the responsibilities and duties of a notary.
[i] A.R.S. § 41-313.
[ii] A.R.S. § 41-314.
[iii] A.R.S. § 41-330.
[iv] A.R.S. § 41-330.