Notarizing an Oath or Affirmation

June 20, 2019 / Notary Association of America

Oaths and affirmations are some of the most common notarial acts. An oath is a solemn statement or promise that is worded as a pledge to God or a higher power. An affirmation is also a formalized vow, but it is a pledge on the person's honor and does not mention a deity.

Oaths and affirmations that you administer as a notary should comply with the laws in your state. Both acts are legally binding.

Many states have merged oaths and affirmations to make this notarial act simpler. The revised official notary act is simply called an oath. The wording of the oath may omit the word God or use the term affirm instead of swear.

During the act, you may ask the oath-taker or affirmant to raise their right hand in a pledging gesture. When administering an oath, the oath-taker may place their right hand over their heart.

Most states require notaries to take an oath of office. In this oath, you promise to obey the laws of your state and to faithfully carry out the duties of a notary public.

Tips for Administering an Oath

  1. The affirmant must physically appear before you. Oaths cannot be administered remotely by phone or email.
  2. When administering the oath or affirmation, make sure the person swears or affirms the truthfulness of their statement. The wording may vary depending upon your state.
  3. Speak clearly and take the notarial act seriously.
  4. Record the notarization in your journal.

Please be advised: The requirements for notarizing an oath vary from state to state. The NAA highly recommends that you check your state's rules and regulations. You should always adhere to your state's notary laws.