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379 How to Become a Notary Public

Rules and regulations around becoming a notary differ across every state in the United States, the typical steps include:

  • Meet all of your state’s qualifications.
  • Submit an application.
  • Pay the relevant filing fee.
  • Register for education and training from an approved provider
  • Complete a state-endorsed exam (if applicable).
  • Go through a thorough background check (if required).
  • Get your bond (if applicable).
  • File your commission paperwork with your Notary regulating official.
  • Purchase Notary supplies.

Notary Requirements:

Who can become a Notary Public?

In most States Notaries must be at least 18 years of age and a live in the state they are applying for with no criminal record. Some states allow neighbouring states residents to become Notaries.

What are the costs related to becoming a Notary?

There’s no clear cut answer to this with some charging less than $100. Other states several hundred dollars. The application filing fee and the cost of any Notary training, exams, background checks, supplies, and the cost of your bond differs from state to state.

Is a mandatory requirement to go through background check?

A background check is a requirement to become a Notary in some states, but in those states where it is not required they may choose to run one if you have been convicted of a misdemeanour in the past.

Those aspiring to become a Notary Signing Agent (NSA) will need a separate background screening to meet industry standards.

What Notary supplies are needed?

A seal for stamping certificates, certificate and a journal for keeping a record of your notarizations are required.

There are different types of certificates for different types of notarizations. Most Notary-regulating sites provide basic certificates, but some suppliers have certificates available online, so the right certificate can be accessed when needed.

Notary Training:

States that require Notary training are: North Carolina, Ohio, California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon and Pennsylvania, Missouri, Montana, Nevada. Training and continuing education for electronic Notaries is required in Delaware.

The basics required by the state will be covered in the training.

Less than a dozen states require applicants to do training or a course others encourage voluntary educational courses.

Where can I get Notary training?

Head to the Notary regulating agency in your state, or your local community college. The National Notary Association provides education for Notaries too. Courses can be taken in a classroom or online. The NNA provides seminars in California and has online training for the rest of the U.S.

Standard courses typically run from 3 to 6 hours, and online training courses cost less than $100, and live seminars can cost up to $200.

Taking the Notary Exam:

Do I have to take a Notary exam?

If you live in Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Oregon or Utah, yes.

Exams last an hour, and can include fingerprinting.

Notary Bonds and Insurance:

Will I need a Notary bond in my state?

The thirty states and the District of Columbia require Notaries to have a surety bond. The costs range from $5,000 to $10,000, but in some cases it can be as low as $500 or as high as $25,000.

The bond will compensate someone if they are injured up to the amount of the bond. The Notary will then repay the bond company.

Is Notary Errors and Omissions Insurance Required?

Your state does not write Notary laws to protect Notaries – it writes them to protect the public, so a liability insurance policy is not required. Many states require bonds. You should consider a Notary errors and omissions insurance policy because it protects you against claims relating to any errors you make.

Your Notary Commission:

Who regulates Notaries?

The Secretary of State’s Office handles this in many states. In other states Notaries are commissioned by their county clerk or other governing body.

How long does it take?

The process can take 7 – 9 weeks if your state requires you to undertake training or an exam. If a lot of applications are being processed that could also slow the approval process.

The process to become a Notary can take up to 4 weeks if your state’s requirements are minimal.

Can I get assistance for my Notary commission?

Yes, you can go through a vendor or association in your state. Florida, Illinois, and Texas require you use specific vendors and will not accept applications directly from applicants.

Where will I be able to notarize?

Most states will allow you to notarize documents throughout the entire state. A few states have unique rules regarding jurisdiction so it’s worth checking the finer details to see how far you can serve customers.

Who can I notarize for?

You can typically notarize for anyone who has a legal request for a notarization and who can present acceptable identification. Some employers must limit staff Notaries to notarizing business-related documents during business hours, but that is only in a handful of states.

How long is a Notary term?

4 years, but some states set the term for 5 years and others are 10 years.

Why do the requirements differ in every state?

State Notary laws are all different, and governed by individual states. Many California Notary laws are as a result of lawsuits and damage to the public.

How can I become a remote online Notary?

Not every state allows Notaries to perform remote online notarizations, so it’s worth taking the time to check what rules your state has before you invest too much time in this idea. Subsequently, getting a remote online Notary authorization varies within the states that allow their Notaries to perform the act.