Federal Notary Authority

Federal notary authorityFederal Notary Authority

Colorado notary powers and duties are listed in CRS 12-55-110 of the Colorado Notaries Public Act.  Notaries may also perform acts authorized under common law or the law, rules or regulations of another jurisdiction, including Federal notary power, if the act is not prohibited by Colorado law.

CRS 12-55-110: Powers and limitations.

(1) Every notary public is empowered to:
(d.5) Perform any other act that is recognized or otherwise given effect under the law, rules, or regulations of another jurisdiction, including the United States (Federal notary), provided such other law, rule, or regulation authorizes a notary in this state to perform such act.

However, no notary is empowered to perform an act under this paragraph (d.5) if such performance is prohibited by the law, rules, or regulations of this state.
(e) Perform any other act authorized by law, rules, or regulations.

Multi-state Notaries

Some states, including Kansas, do not require a notary to be a state resident.  A Colorado notary who lives and works in Colorado, and has a business office in Kansas, could also apply to become a Kansas notary.  He/she could notarize documents in Colorado as a Colorado notary, and notarize documents in Kansas as a Kansas notary.  Wisconsin also does not require residency.

A few states allow notaries in neighboring states to notarize in multiple statesMontana and Wyoming allow notaries from either state to notarize documents in both states, under a reciprocal statute with neighboring states.  Wyoming law would allow Colorado notaries to notarize in Wyoming, but Colorado law does not reciprocate to allow Wyoming notaries to notarize in Colorado.

Federal Notary Law

There are several Federal laws authorizing Federal notary powers.  In the military and the Coast Guard, under Title 10 U.S. Code § 1044a and military regulations, certain judge advocates, legal assistance attorneys, adjutants, civilian paralegals serving at military legal assistance offices, and military officers have Federal notary powers for military personnel, within or outside the United States, and for civilian contractors providing defense support outside of the United States.

Title 10 U.S. Code § 936, Art. 136 and military regulations authorize certain military officers, officials and personnel to administer oaths for the purpose of military administration, including military justice.

Military regulations authorize officers with pay grade O-4 (Major, Lieutenant Commander) and above with notary powers. A military notary verifies identification and eligibility for notary services.

Federal law does not require military notaries to use a stamp, seal or journal.  As a good practice, some legal assistance offices choose to have documents notarized by the office’s state authorized notary, using a stamp or seal, as they are more readily accepted by outside document recipients.

See U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Client Services Deskbook for notarial services policy details.

Notarial services are authorized for all individuals serving with, employed by, or accompanying the Armed Forces outside the United States. (IAW AR 27-3, Paragraph 2-5a(7), civilian contractors may receive notarial services only “when DOD is contractually obligated to provide this assistance to such personnel as part of their logistical support . . .”)

For documents notarized by a U.S. federal official, consular officer or military notary, being sent to a foreign country, an authentication certificate or apostille is issued by the U.S. State Department.

Federal Notary Sample Acknowledgment, 10 USC 1044a

With the U.S. Armed Forces
At _____________________

I, __________________________, the undersigned officer or other person authorized to serve as a federal notary under 10 U.S.C. § 1044a, do hereby certify that on this __day of__________, 20___, before me, personally appeared ___________(name of person whose signature is being acknowledged), who presented a valid military identification card or other state or federal government issued identification card, and then did execute the foregoing instrument as a true, free, and voluntary act and deed.

I do further certify I am qualified pursuant to the authorizing statute to act in this capacity, this certificate is executed by me in that capacity, and by statute no seal is required.

/s/(signature of notary)
(Name of notary)
(Grade and Branch of Service)
(Command or Organization)
Notary pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 1044a

Consular officers and designated employees of the U.S. State Department, specified by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services, may notarize documents under Federal regulation, 22 CFR 92, Title 22 Foreign Relations, Part 92 Notarial and Related Services.  Documents destined for use in the United States may be notarized at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  The venue includes the name of the country, province, city and the name of the Foreign Service post.  The seal used is the seal of the Foreign Service post.

In Alaska, postmasters are authorized to provide notary services under Federal regulation 39 CFR 222.2, see below.

28 U.S. Code § 1746 – Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury

Federal law, 28 USC 1746, also allows an unsworn declaration to be used, rather than a sworn affidavit.  The document includes the following statement above the signature: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date).” A Federal notary or state notary is not required.

Some Federal forms that must be notarized include these instructions: If your statement is notarized, you must provide the notary with adequate proof of your identity in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or other identification acceptable to the notary.

Notary Fee Taxes

Federal law, Title 26 Internal Revenue code, states that a notary public is a public office and the performance of the functions of a public office does not constitute a trade or business.  Notary fees are not subject to withholding taxes or self-employment taxes.

Some Federal regulations authorize a certification of a duly commissioned notary public to attest to an individual’s identity.

Alaska Notaries

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) authorizes postmasters in Alaska to notarize documents under Federal notary power:

39 CFR §222.2 (c) Authority to function as notaries public.
(1) Postmasters in Alaska have the authority to administer oaths and affirmations, take acknowledgments and make and execute certificates thereof, and perform all other functions of a notary public within Alaska when a certification is necessary to meet any Act of Congress or the Legislature of Alaska. No fees may be charged for notarial services.

(2) An officer or employee who is a notary public shall not charge or receive compensation for notarial services for another officer or employee regarding Government business; nor for notarial services for any person during the hours of the notary‘s services to the Government, including the lunch period.

There are many references to notaries, notary certificates and notary procedures in Federal laws, rules, regulations and government forms.  The Federal procedures may be different from state procedures, but are allowed unless prohibited by Colorado notary laws.

Martial Law

During a state of emergency, the Governor has the power to declare martial law (military rule).  Martial law occurred in Denver, in August 1864, during unrest with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians, prior to the November Sand Creek Massacre, and in 1914, during the unrest of a coal mining labor dispute, leading up to the Ludlow Massacre, in the coal fields of southern Colorado.  More recently, martial law was declared following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.  Civil law and civil rights are suspended under martial law.

Maritime Law

Surprisingly, maritime law may also apply in Colorado, where a navigable body of water may be used for commercial interstate transportation of goods or passengers.  This includes the Colorado River, which crosses into Utah, and the Navajo Reservoir, near Pagosa Springs, which crosses into New Mexico.

Reasonable Care

A notary should be alert and use reasonable care when dealing with Federal and foreign documents and procedures that may vary from more familiar state notary procedures.  There may be other instances where a jurisdiction in another state, territory, foreign country, Indian tribe or English common law empowers a notary to perform acts in addition to the notary powers listed under state notary laws.

[Disclaimer: This subject is an advanced topic for most notaries.  This article is not legal advice.  For questions, seek legal advice from a licensed attorney.]

Visit our website for Colorado Springs Mobile Notary services or Colorado Notary Training classes.

[Updated 2019-02-18 added Army JAG deskbook for notarial services]

Federal Notary Authority
  • Federal Notary Authority
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