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

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 02:25 pm

Becoming a notary is a great way to expand your career opportunities and increase your earning potential. A notary is a certified professional who is authorized to witness the signing of important legal documents, such as wills, deeds, and contracts. Notaries play a vital role in ensuring that these documents are legally binding and valid.

To become a notary, there are a few steps that you will need to follow. First, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements set by your state. These requirements may include being at least 18 years old, being a legal resident of the state, and passing a background check. Once you have met the eligibility requirements, you will need to complete a training course and pass a certification exam. After passing the exam, you will need to apply for your notary commission and purchase a notary stamp and seal. With these items in hand, you will be ready to start your career as a notary.


To become a notary, there are certain qualifications that must be met. These qualifications vary by state, but generally include personal qualifications, residency requirements, and language requirements.

Personal Qualifications

To become a notary, an individual must be at least 18 years old and of good moral character. This means that they have not been convicted of a felony or any other crime involving moral turpitude. Additionally, they must be able to read and write in English.

Residency Requirements

Most states require that a notary be a legal resident of the state in which they are seeking to become a notary. Some states also require that the notary be a resident of a specific county within the state. It is important to check the residency requirements for the state in which you wish to become a notary.

Language Requirements

In some states, notaries are required to be able to speak, read, and write in languages other than English. This is particularly true in states with large non-English speaking populations. It is important to check the language requirements for the state in which you wish to become a notary.

Overall, becoming a notary requires meeting certain personal, residency, and language qualifications. It is important to check the specific requirements for the state in which you wish to become a notary to ensure that you meet all of the necessary qualifications.

Application Process

Information and Requirements

Before applying for a notary commission, the applicant must familiarize themselves with the requirements set by the state. Each state has different requirements, but some common requirements are:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old
  • The applicant must be a legal resident of the state
  • The applicant must not have any felony convictions

The state’s notary public website is a good place to find information on the requirements.

Filing the Application

To apply for a notary commission, the applicant must complete an application form and submit it to the state’s notary public office. The application form can be downloaded from the state’s notary public website or obtained from the office.

The application must be completed accurately and completely. The applicant must also attach the required documents, such as proof of residency, fingerprinting, and commission paperwork.

The application must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee, which can be paid by check or money order.

Background Check

The state will conduct a background check on the applicant to determine if they have any felony convictions. The background check may also include a review of the applicant’s credit history.

If the applicant has a felony conviction, they may not be eligible for a notary commission. However, some states may allow the applicant to apply for a waiver.

In conclusion, the application process for becoming a notary involves familiarizing oneself with the state’s requirements, completing the application accurately and completely, and submitting it along with the required documents and fee. The state will then conduct a background check to determine the applicant’s eligibility.

Notary Training and Exam

Becoming a notary requires completing a notary training course and passing a notary exam. The training and exam are designed to ensure that notaries are knowledgeable about the laws and regulations governing notarization and can perform their duties accurately and ethically.

Training Options

Notary training is available online or in a classroom setting. Online training courses are convenient and can be completed at the learner’s own pace. Classroom training courses provide more interaction with the instructor and other learners, which can be helpful for those who prefer a more structured learning environment.

The National Notary Association (NNA) offers both online and classroom notary education courses. These courses cover the fundamentals of notarization, including identifying signers, administering oaths, and completing notarial certificates.

Exam Preparation

To prepare for the notary exam, learners should review the materials covered in their training course, including the laws and regulations governing notarization. The NNA offers exam preparation materials, including practice exams and study guides, to help learners prepare for the exam.

Learners should also review their state’s notary laws and regulations to ensure they are familiar with any specific requirements or restrictions.

Exam Format and Content

The notary exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions that test the learner’s knowledge of notary laws and regulations. The exam may also include scenario-based questions that require the learner to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.

The content of the exam varies by state, but typically covers topics such as identifying signers, administering oaths, completing notarial certificates, and handling special situations such as international documents or documents requiring witnesses.

In conclusion, completing a notary training course and passing a notary exam are essential steps to becoming a notary. Learners can choose from online or classroom training options and should review their state’s notary laws and regulations to prepare for the exam. The NNA offers helpful resources and materials to assist learners in their preparation.

Notary Supplies and Bonds

Required Supplies

To become a notary, there are certain supplies you will need to have on hand. These supplies include a notary seal or stamp, a notary journal, and an official notary bond. The notary seal or stamp is used to authenticate documents, while the notary journal is used to keep track of all notarial acts performed. The official notary bond is a type of insurance that protects the public from any errors or omissions made by the notary.

It is important to note that notary supplies can vary depending on the state in which you are becoming a notary. Some states may require additional supplies, such as a thumbprint pad or a notary public sign. Be sure to check with your state’s notary requirements to ensure you have all necessary supplies.

Notary Bonds

A notary bond is a type of insurance that protects the public from any errors or omissions made by the notary. In the event that a notary makes a mistake, the bond will cover any damages that result. Notary bonds are typically required by law in order to become a notary public.

The cost of a notary bond can vary depending on the state in which you are becoming a notary. In some states, the bond may be as low as $10, while in others it may be several hundred dollars. Notary bonds are typically good for a set period of time, such as four years, and must be renewed before they expire.

It is important to note that notary bonds are not the same as notary errors and omissions insurance. While a notary bond protects the public, notary errors and omissions insurance protects the notary in the event that they are sued for a mistake they made while performing a notarial act.

Overall, having the required notary supplies and an official notary bond is an essential part of becoming a notary public. Be sure to check with your state’s notary requirements to ensure you have all necessary supplies and bonding requirements.

Performing Notarial Acts

Duties and Responsibilities

As a notary public, one has a set of duties and responsibilities to perform. The primary duty of a notary public is to verify the identity of the person signing the document and to ensure that the signer is signing the document willingly and without any coercion. The notary public must also ensure that the signer has a clear understanding of the document and its contents.


Notarizations are the official acts performed by a notary public. These acts include administering oaths and affirmations, taking acknowledgments, and certifying copies of documents. In order to perform these acts, the notary public must have a thorough understanding of the legal requirements for each act.

Notary Journal

A notary journal is a record of all notarial acts performed by the notary public. The journal must include the date, time, and location of the notarization, the name and address of the signer, and a description of the document being notarized. The notary public must keep this journal in a secure location and must not allow anyone else to access it.

Oath of Office

Before a notary public can begin performing notarial acts, they must take an oath of office. This oath is a solemn promise to uphold the laws of the state and to perform the duties of a notary public with honesty and integrity. The notary public must sign this oath and have it notarized by another notary public.

Performing notarial acts is a critical service that notaries public provide. Not only do they verify the identity of the signer and ensure that they are signing the document willingly, but they also provide an added layer of protection against fraud and forgery. By keeping a detailed notary journal and taking their oath of office seriously, notaries public can ensure that they are providing a valuable service to their clients.

Renewing Your Commission

To maintain their notary status, notaries must renew their commission before it expires. Renewal requirements and processes vary by state, so it is important to familiarize oneself with the specific requirements in their state.

Renewal Process

Notaries can initiate the renewal process by submitting an application to their state’s notary regulating agency. The application typically requires the notary to provide their current commission information, including the commission expiration date, and may require them to complete a background check or take a refresher course on notary laws and procedures.

Renewal Requirements

Renewal requirements may include submitting proof of a current notary bond and a new commission certificate. Some states may also require notaries to obtain a new notary seal or stamp upon renewal. Notaries should also ensure that they have completed the required number of notarizations during their current commission period to be eligible for renewal.

It is important for notaries to keep track of their commission expiration date and initiate the renewal process in a timely manner to avoid any lapses in their commission status. Some states may allow notaries to renew their commission up to 90 days prior to the expiration date, while others may require renewal to occur within a certain timeframe after the expiration date.

Notaries should also be aware of any fees associated with the renewal process, as these may vary by state and can range from a nominal fee to several hundred dollars.

Overall, renewing a notary commission requires careful attention to state-specific requirements and deadlines. By staying informed and completing the necessary steps in a timely manner, notaries can ensure that they maintain their commission status and continue to provide valuable notarial services to their community.

Becoming a Notary Signing Agent


A Notary Signing Agent (NSA) is a notary public who has undergone additional training and certification to handle loan documents. Becoming an NSA can be a great way to earn additional income and expand a notary business.

Training and Certification

To become an NSA, a notary public must complete training on loan documents and signing procedures. Certification is offered by organizations such as the National Notary Association and the Loan Signing System. Some states also have specific requirements for NSA certification.


As an NSA, a notary public can offer services such as loan document signing, identity verification, and document notarization. These services are usually provided to mortgage lenders, title companies, and signing services.


Becoming an NSA can lead to additional income and business opportunities. Employers often prefer to work with certified NSAs, and technology has made it easier for NSAs to connect with potential clients. However, it is important to maintain authenticity and ensure that all documents are properly notarized and signed.

Overall, becoming a Notary Signing Agent can be a great way to expand a notary business and earn additional income. By completing training and certification, offering a range of services, and maintaining authenticity, an NSA can achieve success in the industry.

Remote Online Notary


Remote Online Notary (RON) is a relatively new technology that allows notaries to perform notarizations online. It is a convenient and secure way to notarize documents remotely. In the UK, remote online notaries are authorized by the National Notary Association (NNA) and must comply with the Electronic Communications Act 2000.

Technology Requirements

To become a remote online notary, you will need a computer or mobile device with a camera, microphone, and reliable internet connection. You will also need to use a RON platform that meets the NNA standards for security and identity verification. The platform should allow you to record the notarial act and store the recording securely.

Service Offerings

Remote online notaries can offer a wide range of services, including:

  • Notarization of documents such as deeds, affidavits, and powers of attorney
  • Verification of identity using biometric technology
  • Electronic signature and seal
  • Electronic recordkeeping
  • Remote video conferencing

RON services are particularly useful for people who are unable to attend a physical notary appointment due to distance, illness, or disability. They can also be more convenient and efficient than traditional notary services.

In summary, remote online notary is a secure and convenient way to notarize documents remotely. To become a remote online notary, you will need to meet the technology requirements and use a platform that meets the NNA standards. RON services can offer a wide range of benefits to clients who are unable to attend a physical notary appointment.

Notary Laws and Regulations


Notary laws and regulations are put in place to ensure that notaries public operate in a fair and ethical manner. These laws vary by state, but they generally outline the requirements for becoming a notary, the duties and responsibilities of a notary, and the penalties for notary misconduct.

State-Specific Laws

Each state has its own set of laws and regulations governing notaries public. These laws typically cover the qualifications for becoming a notary, the types of notarial acts that can be performed, and the requirements for maintaining a notary commission. Some states may also require notaries to undergo training or take an exam before they can be commissioned.

Neighboring States

If you are a notary in one state, it is important to be aware of the notary laws and regulations in neighboring states. This is particularly important if you frequently work with clients or signers who live in other states. Notary laws and regulations can vary significantly from state to state, so it is important to be familiar with the specific requirements in each state.

It is also worth noting that some states have reciprocity agreements with neighboring states. This means that a notary in one state may be able to perform notarial acts in another state, provided they meet certain requirements.

Overall, it is important for notaries public to stay up-to-date on the laws and regulations governing their profession. This can help ensure that they are operating in a legal and ethical manner, and can help protect them from potential legal issues down the line.


Becoming a notary is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy working with legal documents and helping people. It requires dedication, hard work, and a strong commitment to ethical standards.

To become a notary, one must complete the necessary education and training, pass a background check, and pass a state-administered exam. After obtaining a notary commission, it is essential to maintain it by keeping up with continuing education requirements and staying up-to-date with any changes in notary laws and regulations.

Notaries play a critical role in society by providing a valuable service to individuals and businesses alike. They help to ensure that legal documents are properly executed, which can prevent costly errors and disputes down the line.

Overall, becoming a notary is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those who are willing to put in the time and effort required to succeed. By following the steps outlined in this article, aspiring notaries can take the first steps towards a successful career in this exciting field.

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