This web service was developed by the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General's Notary Office.
Note: As of 07/01/2017, the Notary Office only accepts online applications for Notary Public Commission.
Frequently Asked Questions
Type in a field to find a question or browse the lists below.
Top Frequently Asked Questions
What is the date of the next exam?
Exams on Oahu are usually held on every second Wednesday of each month. For neighbor islands, the exams are held quarterly. Please refer to the Exam Schedule. Exam dates are posted in the online Notary Scheduler.
I changed my resident/business address. What do I do?
Any change in resident/business address must be notified to our office within 30-days of the change. Please fill out the employment change form (residence: Residence_Address_Change.pdf / business: Change_of_Employment.pdf) and submit it to our address. You may continue to notarize. You will be contacted only if there is a problem.
How do I resign my commission?
Please fill out the resignation form resignation-letter.pdf and submit it to our office, along with your notary seal, record books, and your commission certificate. You may mail them in or drop them off during our office hours.
I have changed my name (through marriage/divorce)? What should I do?
Please submit a name change form notary_name_change_form.pdf to our office, along with documentation (marriage license/divorce decree) showing your name change. You may continue to notarize under your old name until your name change is processed (may take up to one month to process).
My renewal is coming up and I haven't received my renewal application.
Did you have a change in business or residence address and failed to notify our office? It may have been sent to an old address. We can re-mail your application to your new address.
My commission has expired. Am I still able to renew?
You may renew your commission within one year past your commission expiration date. There is a $10 late renewal fee for applications that are received past the expiration date.
My commission has expired, and it's been over a year. Am I still able to renew?
No, you will have to reapply as a new applicant and retake the exam. You will also have to turn in your seal and record books from your past commission if you haven't turned them in yet.
I have resigned my commission X years ago. How do I become a commissioned notary again?
You will have to reapply as a new applicant and retake the exam. You will also have to turn in your seal and record books from your past commission if you haven't turned them in yet.
Where can I get the Notary Public Bonds?
You can get them through bonding or insurance companies. Please check your phone book.
Where can I get the notary seals?
You can get them through stamp or engraving companies. Please check you phone book.
Am I allowed to have more than one notary seal?
No, you're allowed to have only one seal, either a stamp seal or an embosser seal. If you possess more than one seal, you must turn in the one you won't be using to our office.
Where can I get the notary record books?
You can get them at stationary stores, such as OfficeMax, OfficeDepot, Fisher's (Oahu only), or Conrad Enterprises (Oahu only). Please check your phone book.
I have filled up my record book. Should I turn them into your office?
You can hang on to it, and turn your books in when you renew or resign your commission.
Questions about the Notary rules
Why wasn't I individually notified before the new rules went into effect?
The new rules were adopted in accordance with the Hawaii Administrative Procedure Act, Haw. Rev. Stat. Ch. 91. Notices of the public hearing describing the new rules were published in five newspapers of general circulation on February 29, 2008 (The Garden Isle), March 2, 2008 (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, The Maui News, and West Hawaii Today), and March 9, 2008 (Hawaii Tribune-Herald) before Chapter 5-11, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), went into effect. The duly noticed public hearing concerning the rules was held on April 14, 2008, at the Department of the Attorney General, 425 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96813. Although all legally required notice requirements were met, we apologize that our notification to notaries was not better -- it should have been better. We did some outr each, but not enough. We are currently sending each active notary an informational sheet and these questions and answers, and we are working with the Hawaii State Bar Association and various professionals and businesses that regularly use notaries to further disseminate the new requirements.
What is the effective date of the new rules? Is there also a new notary statute?
The new rules became effective on May 5, 2008. Act 175, Session Laws Hawaii 2008, which also concerns notaries, will become effective on January 1, 2009. We encourage you to read a complete copy of Act 175 and HAR Chapter 5-11, both of which are available at our notary website: http://hawaii.gov/ag/notary/.
Why do we need rules that change the way documents are notarized?
The Department of the Attorney General and the Legislature received complaints of fraud in connection with notarized documents, including reports of "jurat" pages being detached from their original document and then "switched" or reattached to another document for fraudulent purposes. The Legislature found that "there is an alarming increase in the alteration of notarized documents for the purpose of identity theft and fraud." One purpose of the new rules is to help prevent fraudulent use of notarized documents by, among other things, having the notary list the number of pages of each notarized document and providing an identification or description of the notarized document "in close proximity" to the jurat or acknowledgment.
I notarized documents using an acknowledgment or jurat, and my signature, seal, date, venue (City and County of Honolulu), and commission expiration date, but without separately listing some of the other information specified in the new rules, such as the number of pages in the document. Are the documents I notarized valid and validly notarized?
The documents are valid and validly notarized, unless the acknowledgment or jurat was fraudulent or contained a misrepresentation, or there was a defect in the document itself. We believe the law on this subject is that defects in the manner of notarization of a document do not affect the document's validity. We also believe that if you notarized a document with an acknowledgment or jurat, and your signature, seal/stamp, date, venue, and commission expiration date, the notarization is valid, and omitting newly specified information (such as the number of pages in the document or a separate description of the document) does not affect the validity of the notarization. Nor does incorrectly counting the number of pages in the document affect the validity of the notarization.
The new notary rules require that my seal or stamp have my commission number on it. Can I still use my current seal or stamp, which does not have my commission number, until I get my new one? Why is the commission number now required on all seals and stamps?
HAR § 5-11-5 requires that you “obtain and keep” an official seal or stamp which includes, among other information, your commission number. You should order a new seal or stamp with your commission number immediately, but we understand it may take some time before you actually obtain your new seal or stamp, and you may use your old seal or stamp until you obtain your new one. We believe that requiring the commission number on the notary seal and notary stamp, as many jurisdictions require, will help fight fraud involving notarized documents.
I notarized a document with a seal/stamp that did not have my commission number on it. Was that document validly notarized?
Yes, we believe it was validly notarized. Although each notary is required to comply with the new rules, and to obtain and keep a new seal or stamp, nothing in the rules states or indicates that a document notarized using an old seal or stamp was invalidly notarized.
What should I do with my old seal or stamp?
Neither the law nor the rules requires you to turn in your old seal or stamp, but you will need to turn it in to the Notary Public Office, along with your new seal or stamp, once you stop being a notary. If you wish, however, you may mail or hand-deliver your old seal or stamp to the Department of the Attorney General Notary Public Office, 425 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96813.
Do I need to submit an impression of my new seal or stamp to the Circuit Court where I reside?
Yes. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 456-4 requires that each notary file an impression of the notary's seal/stamp with the Circuit Court where the notary resides. You will need to file an impression of your new seal or stamp with the Circuit Court to replace the impression of your old seal or stamp that you now have on file with the Circuit Court. You should also mail or hand-deliver an impression of your new seal or stamp to the Department of the Attorney General Notary Public Office at 425 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, for our files.
What information should be in the certificate?
HAR § 5-11-8 states that the notary's "acknowledgment or jurat shall be evidenced by a certificate signed and dated by the notary." The information in the certificate includes the printed name of the notary, the official stamp or seal of the notary, identification of the jurisdiction in which the notarization is performed, identification or description of the document being notarized in close proximity to the acknowledgment or jurat, and the number of pages and date of the notarized document. The information can be included within the jurat/acknowledgment itself (for example, one form of a particular type of notarization could be: "This 5-page [identification or description of notarized document], dated _______, was subscribed and sworn to before me this ____ day of _____, 2008, in the First Circuit of the State of Hawaii, by John H. Doe.") The information could also be in a separate certificate. An example of a separate certificate is included on our "Important Information" page, which accompanies these questions and answers. There is not, however, only one acceptable form or format for the certificate, as long as the info rmation specified in the rule is provided.
Do I need to apply my seal or stamp to the certificate?
If the certificate is separate from the jurat or acknowledgment itself, it needs to be separately sealed or stamped, as in the example on our “Important Information” page. However, as noted above, the certificate does not need to be separate from the jurat or acknowledgment, as long as the information specified in HAR § 5-11-8 is provided.
What if there is no room for the notary certificate on the page with the jurat/acknowledgment?
HAR § 5-11-8 states that the description of the document being notarized be "in close proximity to the acknowledgment or jurat." It is best to include the description of the document on the same page and in "close proximity" to or included in the acknowledgment or jurat. If you use a separate certificate, and there is no room for that certificate on the page on which the acknowledgment or jurat is contained, indicate on that page that there is a notary certificate on the next page, such as by typing: "Notary Certificate on next page."
Can I charge for the notary certificate, above and beyond allowed fees?
No, such an additional charge is not permitted.
What should I write on the certificate for the date of a document that is undated?
You should write "undated at time of notarization".
Does HAR Chapter 5-11 or Act 175 have other new provisions relating to notaries in addition to those discussed in these FAQs?
Yes. We suggest that you read HAR Chapter 5-11 and Act 175 in full.
Whom can I contact if I have more questions?
You may call Supervising Deputy Attorney General Michael Vincent at 586-1100, or you may e-mail them at ATG.firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I change my employment after I become a notary, may I take my notary (including the seal or stamp, and notary record book) with me to my new employer?
Yes. Although your former employer may have paid for your bond or commission fees, the notary commission is personal to you not your employer. You are personally responisble for the safekeeping of your seal or stamp, and notary book. You may not "pass it on" or transfer your record book to anyone, including your former employer. The only time you should give up possession of your stamp or seal, and record books is when you surrender them to us upon resignation or the end of your commission period.
General Notary questions
How do I become a notary in Hawaii?
You must: 1) Complete and submit an online application (make sure to have two letters, one justification and one character; with $20.00 application fee payment as required by § 5-11-46, Hawaii Administrative Rules, amended March 12, 2015. 2) have your application approved; 3) pass a written examination; 4) provide a $1,000 surety bond to the satisfaction of the State; and 5) pay all applicable fees.
Where can I get a surety bond?
From an insurance company or surety bond company licensed in the State of Hawaii.
Where is the NPP and when is the NPP open?
Department of the Attorney General
Notary Public Program
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 12 noon. However, occasionally our office may be closed for the day or closed earlier than the time specified, so please call ahead at (808) 586-1216. (If you are dropping off a notarial seal, notarial book(s), resignation forms, or application or renewal forms, you may simply leave them with the receptionist before 4:00 p.m.)
When and where is the written examination administered?
After your application is approved you will receive a notice to schedule an exam. You can schedule the exam online in the exam scheduler. The notary examinations are generally held on the following schedule:
For Oahu, the exam is generally held the second Wednesday of each month at 830 Punchbowl St, Room 302, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813.
KAILUA KONA APPLICANTS
The exam is held every week, but is limited to 4 people each week. You will need to contact our office at (808) 586-1216 to schedule an exam for Kailua Kona.
OTHER NEIGHBOR ISLAND APPLICANTS
Other neighbor island exams are generally held on the following schedule:
Hilo Maui Kauai January 4th Wednesday February 4th Wednesday March 3rd Friday April May 4th Wednesday June 4th Wednesday July 3rd Friday August September 4th Wednesday October 4th Wednesday November 3rd Friday December
Kauai exams are held at the Lihue Airport Mezzanine conference room.
Hilo exams are held at the Hilo Airport 2nd Floor, Room 216.
On Oahu, where do I park and do you validate?
Unfortunately, we do not provide parking and we do not validate parking. Parking is available at the Makai Garage (530 Halekauwila Street, $1.00 per hour, first 2 hours, $2.00 per hour after 2 hours)across from the State of Hawaii First Circuit Court, Kaahumanu Building, at Restaurant Row located at Waterfront Plaza (500 Ala Moana Boulevard, $3.00 per half-hour). There is also metered parking along Punchbowl Street.
I took the written examination last week and did not hear anything from the NPP yet, and I am interested in knowing whether I passed or failed. Should I call for my results?
Please do not call the NPP for examination results. You will receive a written notice in the mail within 30 calendar days of the examination informing you of your test results and instructions on what to do next.
How long is the term of a Hawaii notary public commission?
Do I need to file anything at the Circuit Court?
You must file:
- a photocopy of your commission;
- an impression of your notary seal and specimen of your official signature; and
- the original bond which has to be approved by a Judge of the Circuit Court in the circuit in which you reside before you can begin notarizing documents.
I have documents that are going overseas. Can I get them certified or authenticated at the NPP?
No. Only the Office of the Lieutenant Governor may do so. You may call that office at (808) 586-0255 for more information
Can I notarize in another state or country?
No. You are ONLY commissioned to notarize in the State of Hawaii; therefore, you can only perform duties inthe State of Hawaii, which includes the first circuit(Oahu), second circuit (Maui), third circuit (Hawaii), and fifth circuit (Kauai).
Can I notarize documents from another state or country?
Yes, if you ensure the signer is present and properly identified. Please see the next question regarding documents in foreign languages.
Should I notarize a document in a foreign language?
Only if you have a thorough understanding of the foreign language in which the document is written. Also, you should not notarize a document written in English if the parties to the document who appear before you do not appear to speak, read, or understand English. You should refer the parties to a notary who speaks the foreign language, or to the foreign consulate, or to an attorney. (You may call the NPP for a listing of bilingual notaries.)
Should I notarize a document that has corrections or erasures?
If there are changes to the document, you should call them to the attention of the person whose signature on the document is being acknowledged. If the person approves the changes, you should place your initials in the margin of the document next to each erasure or change. It is advisable to have the person to whom the document pertains place the person's initials by each change also.
What type of identification (ID) is required in order to notarize a document, and does the ID have to be valid?
The ID must be a current ID card or document issued by the United States, this State, or any other state, or a national government that contains the bearer's photograph and signature (e.g., a driver's license, state ID, military ID, or a passport).
The person presenting the document looks like the picture on the person’s ID, but the name on the document does not match the name on the person's ID. What should I do?
You should not notarize the document. You must satisfy yourself that the person appearing before you is the person identified in the document.
A couple appeared before me (both of whom were required to sign a document) and only the husband presented me with a valid ID. His wife did not have an ID with her, but the husband vouched for her. Can I notarize the document?
You may notarize for the husband only if there are two separate acknowledgments. If there is only one acknowledgment, then you may ask them to come back another time with both their IDs. A notary must be satisfied of the identity of each person appearing before the notary. Please refer to question #15 for acceptable forms of identification.
Five years ago, a notary notarized a document with my parents' signature, but my parents swear they don't recall signing any such document and have never met this particular notary. Wouldn't my parents have to sign the notary's notarial record book, if indeed my parents appeared before the notary?
Yes. Every notary must record at length in a book of records all acts, protests, depositions, and other things by the notary noted or done in the notary's official capacity. For each official act, the notary must enter in the book:
- the type, date, and time of day of the notarial act;
- the title or type and date of the document or proceeding;
- the signature, printed name, and address of each person whose signature is notarized and of each witness;
- other parties to the instrument; AND
- the manner in which the signer was identified.
Can I look at the notary's record book? What is the procedure?
Yes. You may view the notary's notarial record books by first sending to the NPP a written request with any information you may have, such as the name of the notary public, the type of transaction, the date, and the signer's name. Depending upon the date of the record book, the record book may be in storage or still in the possession of the notary. Once we have all the information, we will check our records for the particular notary public.
A lady came with a photocopy of a Power of Attorney to have a document notarized on behalf of her parents. Can I notarize her documents?
No. She must present you with an original or certified copy of the Power of Attorney. (Make sure the document states on the Power of Attorney that she has the power to exercise on behalf of her parents.)
Can I certify a copy of a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or a passport?
No, you may not.
When do I use a jurat and when do I use an acknowledgment?
For an acknowledgment, the notary certifies that the signer personally appeared before the notary. The signer is positively identified and acknowledges signing the document of the signer's own free act and deed. For a jurat, the notary certifies that the signer personally appeared before the notary. The signer is positively identified and, after signing the document in the notary's presence, takes an oath or affirmation that the statements contained in the document are true.
The document I am being asked to notarize has no place on the document to do the notarization. What should I do?
If there is no room on the document to do the notarization or to evidence the acknowledgment or jurat with a certificate as specified in § 5-11-8, Hawaii Administrative Rules (“HAR”), indicate on the signature page that there is a notarization and a notary certification on the next page, such as by typing: "Notary Certificate on next page."
What should I do if I change my address or employer?
You must notify the NPP in writing of any change in your address or employment within 30 days of the change, along with a change of address/employment form that can be obtained from the NPP website. For change of employment, you must also include a letter of justification from your new employer stating why your new employer wants you to continue your notary commission, the types of documents and approximate number of transactions expected to be performed each month, and that you are aware that you are a general notary and will have to serve the general public. For change of address, you must state old and new addresses of your residence, if there is a change in your residence address; the old and new addresses of your business, if there is a change in your business address; and the effective date of such address change.
I recently got married/divorced, and my last name has changed. What should I do?
You must submit to the NPP a name change form, which you can obtain from the NPP website, along with copies of the legal documentation (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, or name change) reflecting your name change.
My commission will expire soon. How do I renew my commission?
A renewal application is mailed out to each Hawaii notary public approximately two months prior to the notary’s expiration date. Note: it is important that notaries public keep the NPP updated with any address changes, as we will mail each renewal application to the address we have on record. The commission of a notary public is forfeited if the notary public knowingly fails to submit a completed renewal application, pay the renewal fee, or complete the processing and filing of a commission for renewal by the date of expiration of the notary public's commission. A failure to renew shall be deemed knowingly if notice of renewal is sent to the last address on file for the notary public and the notary public fails to complete all these requirements. Any person seeking to restore the person's forfeited commission more than one year from the date of expiration of the commission shall reapply as a new applicant for a notary public commission.
My commission expires tomorrow, but I haven't turned in my renewal application form. If I turn it in today, will my new commission be ready tomorrow? Can I continue to notarize?
No, for both questions. Renewal application forms may take approximately one to two weeks to review and process. Once your renewal application has been approved, the NPP will send you a notice with instructions for the next step, which is to obtain your surety bond.
The NPP will then mail you a letter informing you to come and pick up your commission papers (Oahu notaries only; the NPP will mail neighbor island notaries their commission packets). After you pick up or receive your notary commission papers, you must take them to the circuit court to be filed and approved.
For your information, there is a waiting period of approximately ten days for approval of the bond by the judge. Because renewal applications are mailed out approximately two months prior to your expiration date, we suggest that once you receive it, you immediately complete the application and return it, along with the $40.00 renewal fee so that there will not be a lapse of time between your notary commission terms. Any notarial act performed after the termination, revocation, or suspension of a commission subjects the notarial act to questions or contest of validity.
How do I resign as a notary public?
You officially resign and your notary public commission is considered surrendered after you submit to the NPP: 1) a resignation letter; 2) all of your notarial record books; and 3) your notary seal for defacement.
As a general notary public, I know that I am to be available for the good and convenience of the general public for notarizations. May I ever refuse or decline to notarize a document?
As a notary public, you may refuse or decline to notarize a document or documents if:
- there are any laws or rules that may be violated;
- you have reason to believe that the document contains deceptive or fraudulent information;
- the signer does not have a valid ID;
- there are blank spaces in the document and the signer tells you that they will be filled out after notarization;
- the signer appears to not understand what the signer is signing; or
- the signer is being pressured or coerced into signing the document.
Where can I find information and laws regarding notaries public in the State of Hawaii?
Information and laws can be found in the following sources:
- Chapter 456, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”), as well as HRS §§ 502-46, 502-48 to 502-84, 603-1, 621-12, and 621-13; HAR Chapter 5-11; and Act 175, 2008 Haw. Sess. Laws. Links to most of these laws areaccessible through the NPP website;
- the Notary Public Manual, which is also accessible through the NPP website; and
- the "Hawaii Law Primer" published by the National Notary Association.
What is "authentication"? What is an "apostille"?
Authentication is the process of proving the "genuineness" of a notary public's official seal and signature. For documents sent out of the state: When documents that are notarized in the State of Hawaii are then sent to another state or U.S. jurisdiction, proof may be required to show that the notary's seal and signature are genuine and that the notary had authority to act (i.e. the notary had a valid notary commission) at the time of notarization of the document. In Hawaii, one proves the genuineness of a notary's notarization by attaching an "authenticating certificate" obtained from the court to the document certifying that the notary's seal and signature are genuine.
Authentication is accomplished by comparing the notary's seal on the document in question with the notary's specimen card that is on file at the circuit court where the notary resides.
For documents sent out of the country: Notarized documents to be sent out of the country may require a "chain of authentication process" whereby certificates need to be obtained from a Circuit Court Clerk and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. In addition, it may be necessary to obtain separate authenticating certificates from the U.S. Department of State as well as ministries of the foreign nation to which the document(s) is/are being sent.
An apostille is a special authenticating certificate issued by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, which is necessary to ensure the acceptance of a document's notary seal and signature of the notary notarizing the document. Nations that subscribe to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents Treaty, require an apostille for notarial acts. Apostilles may be obtained from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor by specifically requesting one and indicating to which nation the document will be sent. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor requires that a circuit court authenticating certificate be attached to the document prior to requesting an apostille. To request an apostille, contact the:
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
State Capitol, 5th
Floor (415 South Beretania Street)
P.O. Box 3226
Honolulu, Hawaii 96801
If I have notarized an original document, and also several copies of that same document, must I make a separate journal entry for each copy I notarized, in addition to the original?
This Question is governed by Section 456-15, Hawaii Revised Statutes, entitled Record; copies as evidence, which states:
"Every notary public shall record at length in a book of records all acts, protests, depositions, and other things, by the notary noted or done in the notary's official capacity. For each official act, the notary shall enter in the book:
- The type, date, and time of day of the notarial act;
- The title or type and date of the document or proceeding;
- The signature, printed name, and address of each person whose signature is notarized and of each witness;
- Other parties to the instrument; and
- The manner in which the signer was identified."
This means that each notarial act, including notarizations of multiple copies of the same document, must be individually recorded in the notary public's record book, without exception. There is no provision for failing to record the full details of each notarization for the sake of convenience, even if the instruments notarized are copies of an original.