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How to Become a Notary: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Becoming a notary is a popular choice for those looking to add a valuable skill to their resume or start their own business. Notaries are independent contractors who handle mortgage signings, notarize trust documents, and perform other tasks. The role of a notary brings credibility and service to the state or territory that issues its commission.

 

In this guide, we'll address the frequently asked questions about becoming a notary. However, it's important to note that each state follows its own set of procedures.

 

See the steps to become a Notary for easy reference, or download the file for printing. 


Guide on How to Become a Notary


Notary Requirements:

 

To become a Notary, you must meet certain requirements, which vary by state. However, the general steps include:

 

  • Being 18 years old or older

  • Being a legal resident of your state

  • Having no criminal convictions or felonies

  • Complete the required education or training

  • Obtain a bond and insurance

  • Submit an application approved by the state and pay the fees

  • Receive your commission and purchase your supplies



Eligibility:

 

The eligibility requirements typically include being at least 18 years old and a legal resident of the state in which you intend to practice. Additionally, many states have strict criteria concerning criminal convictions or felonies, and a clean criminal record is generally a prerequisite for eligibility. These requirements help ensure that notaries possess the maturity, legal capacity, and familiarity with the state's laws and regulations to fulfill their duties effectively.

 


Education and Training Requirements:

 

Some states require individuals to complete state-approved notary training courses before they can apply for a notary commission. These courses typically cover topics such as notary laws, ethics, responsibilities, and best practices. The duration and cost of these training courses vary by state.


See the full list of education and exam requirements by state.

In states where education is not required, notary training is generally supported and encouraged by the notary commissioning official.

 


 


Notary 101 Basic Foundation Course

Designed to equip you with foundational knowledge, these courses are tailored to kickstart your journey in the notary business and prepare you to apply for your commission Applicable for all states!








 

Bond and Insurance:

 

In most states, Notary Publics are required to obtain a bond and insurance. The bond serves as a guarantee that the Notary Public will fulfill their duties and responsibilities, while the insurance protects them in case of errors or omissions.

 

Costs and coverage can vary significantly depending on state requirements and coverage needed. Bond amounts typically range from $5,000 to $25,000, with annual premiums ranging from $50 to $300, and E&O insurance premiums typically ranging from $100 to $500. Some states may require additional coverage, and Notaries can also obtain coverage through professional associations or bonding agencies.

 

Application Submission and Fees:

 

Once you have met the state's qualifications and completed the application process, you will need to submit your application to the state's notary commission by mail or in person, depending on your state's procedures. Follow any specific instructions provided by the commission to avoid delays in processing.

 

Many states require a background check to assess an applicant's criminal record. This is done to ensure that individuals seeking to become Notary Publics have a history free of disqualifying criminal convictions. In states where a background check is required, there will be a separate fee associated with this service.

 


Receiving Commission and Supplies:

 

If your application is approved, you will receive a notary commission certificate from the state. This certificate will authorize you to perform notarial duties within the state.

 

To fulfill your duties as a Notary Public, you will need to purchase essential supplies, such as stamps and journals.

 




Frequently Asked Questions:


How long does it take to become a Notary?
How long is a Notary’s term of service?
How do I renew my Notary commission?
What should I do if I have questions about Notary laws in my state?

We encourage notaries to seek state-specific information based on their location and the relevant state laws and regulations to avoid any confusion.


By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking out state-specific information, you can take the first steps toward becoming a Notary!




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