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Does the local post office have a notary?

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Navigating the process of notarizing documents can be a complex endeavor, especially when determining where such services are accessible. The question of whether the local post office offers notary services has been a topic of discussion among those needing to authorize documents securely. In the United States, the Postal Service (USPS) is known for occasionally providing notary services at select locations, catering to the needs of customers aiming to send documents either domestically or abroad. Understanding the specific requirements of notarization - such as the necessity for original documents with original signatures - is crucial, as is being aware of the potential fees and the fact that not all post office branches provide this service. Frequently asked queries from customers include: Does the post office notarize documents? What are the typical local post office notary hours? Is there a notary at the post office full-time?

The primary objective of this article is to shed light on the intricacies of notarization services at post offices, with a focus on the USPS and the availability of its notary services. The piece will delve into the common misconceptions regarding USPS notary provisions, explain why these services are not universally offered by the USPS, and present alternative options for notarization. Furthermore, the article will explore the burgeoning realm of online notarization as a modern solution to traditional notary services, ultimately guiding the reader through the decision-making process in choosing the right notarization service for their needs.

What is Notarization?

Notarization is a critical process that serves as a fraud deterrent by certifying the authenticity of a document. It involves a notary public—an individual who meets stringent requirements, including being a legal adult, a resident of their state, and possessing a clean criminal record. The notary's role is to act as an impartial witness, verifying the identity of the signers and ensuring that they understand the document and are signing it willingly.

Key Aspects of Notarization:

  1. Verification of Identity and Willingness:

  2. The notary public confirms the signer's identity, usually through official identification.

  • They ensure the signer is a willing participant and understands the document's contents.

  1. Prohibited Actions for Notaries:

  2. Notaries are not allowed to help complete documents or offer legal advice.

  • They must refuse notarization if they cannot verify the signer's identity, suspect fraud, or coercion is involved.

  • The term "notario publico" does not equate to "notary public" in the U.S., where notaries cannot prepare legal documents or give legal advice.

  1. Regulated Fees and Liability:

  2. Notaries cannot set their own fees; these are typically regulated by state law.

  • They have unlimited liability for financial injuries caused by improper notarization, despite the small fees involved.

  • Notaries and, potentially their employers, have joint liability for financial damages resulting from notarial misconduct.

  1. Documentation and Legal Compliance:

  2. Notaries must maintain a detailed journal to demonstrate compliance with laws.

  • They must be well-versed in their state's notary laws to minimize the risk of liability.

  1. The Notarization Process:

  2. Involves the notary public acting as an impartial witness to the signing of important documents.

  • Notarization does not make a document legal but verifies the signer's identity and ensures they are not under duress.

The process provides clarity and certainty in transactions, ensuring documents are genuine. Documents Commonly Requiring Notarization:

Affidavits, deeds, oaths, power of attorney, promissory notes, real estate documents, trusts, verbal testimony, wills, and testaments. Power of Attorney, Last Will, commercial leases, employment contracts, legal affidavits, certified copies of documents, passport applications, and mortgage documents.

Categories of Notarizations:

Certifying true copies of original documents. Witnessing sworn statements, declarations, and other forms.

Choosing a Notarization Service: When selecting a notarization service, it's important to consider the type of document and the required level of security. While USPS notary services are limited, alternative options such as mobile notary, local businesses, and online notarization platforms offer varying services to meet different needs. Online notarization, also known as RON (Remote Online Notarization), has emerged as a modern solution, enabling documents to be notarized remotely and securely.

The Role of Post Offices Globally

Post offices around the world, including the United States, often extend their services beyond mail delivery to include notary services. This integration of services provides customers with a one-stop-shop experience, allowing them to handle postal tasks and notarization simultaneously. Here are some key points to consider when utilizing notary services at post offices:

Preparation for Notarization at Post Offices:

  • Upon visiting a post office for notarization, it is imperative to bring valid identification.

  • Documents should be organized and ready for the notary to review.

  • The notary will verify the signature against the identification provided to ensure authenticity before applying their official seal. Locations Where Notary Services Can Be Found:

  • Notary services are not exclusive to post offices but are also available at banks, private offices, law firms, and UPS stores.

  • Some post offices may offer notary services, but it is not a universal offering across all branches.

  • The majority of customers utilize Google to search for "notary near me" to find the nearest notary service. Guidance on International Notarization:

  • For documents requiring notarization overseas, it is recommended to contact your state Notary regulating agency or the NNA Hotline for assistance.

  • Global postal services can assist with the delivery of documents between clients and notaries, ensuring secure and efficient handling. In the context of notarization, post offices play a dual role by catering to basic postal needs and, where available, providing notary services. This convenience is especially beneficial for individuals seeking to notarize documents as part of their mailing process. However, customers need to verify the availability of these services at their local post office branches, as not all offer notarization.

USPS: Services Offered

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While the United States Postal Service (USPS) is widely recognized for its comprehensive mail and shipping services, it's important to note that it does not provide notary services. The USPS's primary focus remains on its core competencies related to mailing and shipping, ensuring the efficient and secure delivery of mail across the country and beyond. Here's an overview of the extensive services offered by the USPS:

Mail and Shipping Services

  • Priority Mail Express & Priority Mail: Expedited shipping options for time-sensitive parcels.

  • USPS Ground Advantage: Cost-effective solution for non-urgent deliveries.

  • First-Class Mail: Ideal for standard postcards, letters, and small packages.

  • Military & Diplomatic Mail: Specialized services for sending mail to APO, FPO, and DPO addresses.

  • Additional Services: Includes package redirection, money orders, filing claims, and requesting refunds for service-related issues.

Tools for Receiving Mail

  • Tracking: Keep tabs on your shipments with real-time tracking information.

  • Informed Delivery: Preview incoming mail and manage deliveries digitally.

  • Package Interception: Redirect packages before they are delivered or while in transit.

  • Scheduling Redeliveries: Conveniently reschedule delivery for missed shipments.

  • PO Boxes: Secure and private options for receiving mail at a local post office.

Business Services

  • Business Shipping: Tailored solutions for businesses of all sizes.

  • USPS Loyalty Program: Rewards program for frequent business shippers.

  • Advertising with Mail: Leverage direct mail for marketing purposes.

  • Informed Delivery Marketing: Engage customers through synchronized digital and physical mail campaigns.

International Services

  • International Shipping: Comprehensive options for sending mail abroad, including customs form assistance.

  • International Restrictions & Insurance: Detailed guidelines and additional services to ensure international mailing compliance.

Retail Services

  • Post Office Box Rentals: Personalized mailing addresses for privacy and convenience.

  • Shipping Supplies & Postage Sales: Purchase necessary materials for packaging and mailing directly from the post office.

  • Money Order Sales: A secure way to send funds domestically or internationally.

Additional USPS Offerings

  • Registered Mail & Certified Mail: For those needing proof of mailing and delivery.

  • Financial Services: Money orders and international money transfers for secure transactions.

Modernization and Convenience

  • Electronic Postage: Digital solutions like PC Postage,, and Click-N-Ship cater to the needs of modern consumers.

  • USPS and The UPS Store Alliance: A strategic partnership that enhances customer convenience with over 800 locations providing postal products and services.

Managing Mail Services

  • Mail Forwarding & Package Redirection: Options for managing mail when relocating or traveling.

  • Stamp Pricing: Transparent pricing for various mailing options.

Featured Products and Services

  • Free Supplies: Complimentary Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express envelopes and boxes.

  • Every Door Direct Mail Service: An efficient way to reach potential customers in specific neighborhoods.

Prepaid Supplies and Collectibles

  • Prepaid Forever Priority Mail: Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes for hassle-free shipping.

  • Gifts and Collectibles: Unique items for stamp enthusiasts and gift-giving.

Alerts and Updates

  • Scam Warnings: Stay informed about potential text and email fraud targeting customers.

  • Job Opportunities: Updates on career openings within the USPS. By offering a robust suite of options for mailing and shipping, the USPS continues to play a pivotal role in connecting individuals and businesses across the globe. While notary services are not part of the USPS's offerings, the organization's expansive range of services ensures that the needs of customers for secure and reliable mail handling are comprehensively met.

Common Misconceptions about USPS and Notary Services

One of the prevalent misconceptions is that USPS branches across the country provide notary services as part of their routine operations. This assumption likely stems from the fact that post offices are federal entities, and notarization is a common service sought by the public. However, it's essential to understand the distinction between federal and state responsibilities when it comes to notarization:

  • Federal vs. State Jurisdiction:

  • Notarization is an authority that is granted and maintained at the state level. Each state has its own rules and regulations governing notary services.

  • The USPS, on the other hand, is a federal agency and operates under the purview of the Federal Government, which does not have jurisdiction over notary public commissions.

  • USPS's Core Functions:

  • The primary role of the USPS is to provide postal services, which includes the processing and delivery of mail and packages.

  • Notary services do not fall within the scope of the USPS's core functions, and hence, USPS does not notarize documents.

  • Understanding Notary Public Commissions:

  • A notary public is an individual commissioned by a state government to serve as an impartial witness to the signing of documents, to administer oaths, and to perform other acts as permitted by law.

  • The process to become a notary public, the duties they are authorized to perform, and the fees they can charge are all determined by state law, which varies from one state to another. While the USPS does provide a variety of essential services that facilitate secure document handling and delivery, such as registered and certified mail, it is not equipped or authorized to provide notary services. For notarization needs, individuals typically turn to other sources such as banks, mobile notaries, or local businesses that offer these services. With the advancement of technology, online notarization platforms have also emerged as a secure and convenient alternative, providing the ability to notarize documents remotely through RON (Remote Online Notarization).

Why the post office Does Not Offer Notary Services

The United States Postal Service (USPS) does not offer notary services, and this is primarily due to the legal framework that governs notarization in the country. Below are the key reasons for the absence of notary services at USPS locations:

  • Federal Law Restrictions:

  • Notarization in the United States is governed by state law, which requires notaries to be licensed at the state level.

  • The federal government, under which the USPS operates, does not have the authority to license notaries, which precludes USPS from offering notary services.

  • Licensing Process for Notaries:

  • Becoming a notary involves a stringent process that includes background checks, education, and sometimes exams, depending on the state.

  • Notaries must be capable of screening signers for all types of documents, a responsibility that demands specific legal knowledge and training. The USPS staff are not equipped with this state-specific notary licensing.

  • Distinction Between Federal and State Services:

  • The USPS's mandate is to provide secure and efficient mail handling and delivery, which is a federal service.

  • Notarization, being a state-regulated service, falls outside of the USPS's federal purview, reaffirming why the agency does not notarize documents. The delineation of responsibilities between federal and state entities ensures that specialized services such as notarization are administered by professionals who are specifically trained and licensed according to state laws. This specialization is essential for maintaining the integrity and security of the notarization process.

Alternative Notary Options

Individuals seeking notarization services have various alternatives to the USPS, which do not offer such services. These alternatives cater to the needs of customers requiring document authentication and provide a range of options, from in-person to online notarization. Below are some of the available services:

  • Online Notarization Platforms:

  • NotaryLive and Switch collaboration offers a seamless online notarization and mailing solution, enabling document notarization via webcam and subsequent mailing without the need to visit the post office.

  • BlueNotary provides Remote Online Notarization (RON), In-Person Notarization (IPEN), and eSignature services, making it a secure and user-friendly option for law firms, businesses, and title & escrow companies.

  • Notarize offers 24/7 access to notarization services online, ensuring secure transactions with robust security measures, suitable for those needing immediate or after-hours service.

  • In-Store and Mobile Notary Services:

  • The UPS Store has over 5,000 locations providing notary services for documents such as wills, trusts, and deeds, although some locations may have restrictions on notarizing certain documents like I-9 forms or wills.

  • PostalAnnex offers in-store notary services across their 820+ locations, in addition to mobile notary services for customers preferring notarization at a location of their choice.

  • OneNotary is an online service catering to various entities, including businesses and individuals, providing solutions for a range of documents, from legal instruments to HR-related forms.

  • Notary Services in Public Businesses and Financial Institutions:

  • Notaries are often available in public businesses such as UPS stores, AAA offices, accounting firms, libraries, and universities.

  • Many banks and credit unions offer notary services, often free or at a minimal cost to their customers, making them a cost-effective option for those with access to these financial services.

  • For individuals without access to online platforms or who prefer in-person services, local businesses, shipping and office supply stores, and law offices are viable options for finding notaries. When selecting a notary service, it is essential to verify their credentials, inquire about fees, and confirm the types of documents they are prepared to notarize. Reputable notary service providers can authenticate a wide range of documents, including legal instruments such as powers of attorney and affidavits. To find a reputable provider, one can refer to state listings, seek recommendations from acquaintances, and review feedback from prior customers. It is important to remember that while alternatives to USPS for notary services are available, they can vary in cost and convenience, with some options like walk-in or mobile notaries being potentially more time-consuming and expensive.

Online Notarization: A Modern Solution

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Online notarization, also known as Remote Online Notarization (RON), has revolutionized the way notarial acts are performed. This modern solution offers several advantages over traditional methods:

Advantages of Online Notary Services:

  • Convenience: Notarize documents from the comfort of your home or office, without the need to travel to a notary's location.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Often lower costs compared to in-person notarization services, which may include travel or convenience fees.

  • Legal Compliance: RON services adhere to laws and regulations, ensuring that the notarization process is legally sound.

  • Decreased Risk of Fraud: Enhanced security measures, such as knowledge-based authentication, credential analysis, or visual verification, help minimize fraud.

  • On-Demand Assistance: Access to notarization services 24/7, allowing for immediate and after-hours service. Platforms like Notarize and OneNotary exemplify these benefits, providing user-friendly interfaces and secure services that cater to the needs of individuals and businesses alike.

Steps in the RON Process:

  1. Requesting Notarization: Initiate the process by contacting a RON platform and providing the document for notarization.

  2. Identity Verification: The signer's identity is verified through various methods, ensuring the person signing is who they claim to be.

  3. Live Audio-Video Communication: Engage in a live audio-video call with the notary to confirm identity and willingness to sign.

  4. Electronic Signing and Sealing: Both the notary and the signer sign the document electronically, and the notary applies an electronic seal.

  5. Recording: The entire notarization session is recorded for record-keeping and additional security. The process is streamlined and efficient, with platforms like Blue Notary requiring a fee for the notarial seal, which is often offset by the time and cost savings overall.

Legal and Security Aspects of RON:

  • Legal Recognition: RON is legal in numerous states, with 23 states having passed legislation allowing for such transactions.

  • Interstate Recognition: Most states recognize RON acts conducted in other states, facilitating cross-border notarizations.

  • Security Measures: RON platforms employ robust security measures to protect the integrity of the notarization process and the privacy of the users. RON services like PandaDoc Notary also offer the added advantage of notarizing documents in multiple languages, which is particularly beneficial for notarization involving foreign documents. Despite concerns about data privacy, the majority of US states have embraced RON due to its numerous benefits, signaling that RON is likely to remain a staple in document authentication services.

Choosing the Right Notarization Service

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When embarking on the process of notarization, selecting the appropriate service is paramount to ensure the security and legality of your important documents. Here are key factors to consider when choosing a notary service:

Factors to Consider:

  • Location and Convenience: The proximity of the notary service to your home or workplace can significantly impact your choice. Opt for a notary that is easily accessible to avoid unnecessary travel, especially if you anticipate requiring notarization services frequently.

  • Cost: Notary fees can vary based on the jurisdiction and the type of document being notarized. It's prudent to inquire about the notary's fee structure and any additional charges to ensure the pricing aligns with your budget.

  • Service Hours: For those with strict schedules, a notary that offers extended or flexible service hours can be highly beneficial. This is particularly important for urgent notarization needs.

  • Type of Document: Certain notaries may specialize in different types of documents or industries, such as real estate or legal documents. Ensure the notary service you choose is well-versed in handling documents similar to yours.

Evaluating Notary Experience and Specialization:

  • Experience: A notary's experience is crucial as it often translates to a deeper understanding of the notarization process for various document types. Inquire about the notary's years of experience and their familiarity with documents akin to yours.

  • Specialization: If your document falls within a specific field, such as real estate transactions, it's advantageous to seek a notary with expertise in that area. This specialization can provide a more informed and accurate service.

Accessibility and Professionalism:

  • Accessibility: Consider the notary's ability to accommodate your schedule, which is particularly crucial for time-sensitive documents. Proximity and the willingness of the notary to provide services at your location can also be important factors.

  • Professionalism: The notary's professionalism, confidentiality, and ethical standards are non-negotiable. Any concerns regarding a notary's conduct are valid reasons to seek alternative services.

Making an Informed Decision:

  • References and Reviews: Seeking references or checking online reviews can offer insights into the notary's reputation and quality of service. This feedback can be instrumental in making an informed decision.

  • Comparing Services: Don't hesitate to compare different notaries, considering all the aforementioned factors. This comparison will help you find a notary service that is both reputable and cost-effective. In conclusion, taking the time to assess these factors can lead to a more secure and satisfactory notarization experience. Whether you opt for a mobile notary, an online notarization platform, or a local business, ensuring that the service aligns with your specific needs is essential.


Navigating the landscape of notarization requires understanding the options at your disposal and recognizing that while the USPS plays a pivotal role in document delivery, it does not extend to notary services. Exploring alternative solutions, from in-store services to the convenience of online notarization, is essential for consumers to authenticate their important documents securely and efficiently. Each alternative offers distinct benefits, whether it's the personalized touch of a local notary or the 24/7 availability of remote platforms. In making an informed decision, it's crucial to weigh factors such as location, service hours, and cost, prioritizing a service that aligns with your specific needs. For those requiring flexibility and immediacy, the digital realm presents a modern avenue through Remote Online Notarization, ensuring your document's authentication irrespective of geographical and time constraints. Remember to book your appointment with a trusted notary service to secure the handling of your sensitive documents with professionalism and care.


Q: What is the maximum fee a notary can charge per signature in Los Angeles, California?

A: In Los Angeles, California, notaries may charge up to $15 for each signature they notarize. It's important to note that they have the option to charge less than this maximum amount.

Q: Can you explain the role of a local notary public?

A: A local notary public is responsible for the verification and certification of signatures, ensuring that the signatories have the authority and capacity to sign documents intended for use in foreign countries. Beyond this, notaries can engage in general legal practices like conveyancing and probate, but they are not permitted to conduct court proceedings.

Mobile Notary Services in Greater Los Angeles:
To enhance your notarization experience, we offer mobile notary services in the Greater Los Angeles area. Our notaries will come to your preferred location, whether it's your home, office, or any other convenient place. This service aims to provide you with the flexibility and convenience you deserve in the notarization process.

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