How To Become a Notary Public

A Notary Public acts as an impartial witness and helps prevent document fraud by witnessing the signing of documents and ensuring that the person signing is legitimate. If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public, you should follow these simple steps.

Know the Requirements

Each state has different requirements for the commissioning of a Notary Public, so you must read up on the requirements for your state. Some states require only an application and a fee. Others ask for more training and sometimes an exam. Some states even require a background check and/or a surety bond. Visit your state’s Secretary of State website for all the details.

Fill Out the Application

When you know exactly what you need to do to become a Notary Public, fill out the application provided on your state’s Secretary of State website. Be thorough, and be truthful. You will likely be asked to swear to your truthfulness with an oath indicated by your signature.

Take Training and the Exam

If your state requires training and/or an exam, taking them will be your next step. A training course runs between three and six hours as a general rule, and you can take it through several different organizations, including the National Notary Association. Just make sure you take an approved course. Even if your state does not require training, you might want to take the course anyway so you know exactly what to do and how to do it. Some states require an hour-long Notary exam that you will need to pass.

Get Your Bond

Most states require a Notary Public to have a surety bond to protect consumers in case of a mistake. You can acquire a bond from an insurance or bond company operating in your state. Most Notary bonds run between $5,000 and $10,000 in coverage. You can also purchase optional insurance to protect yourself if you do make a mistake.

File with a Notary Regulating Official

When you receive your Notary Public commission, you will have to file it with the Notary regulating official in your county. This will require another fee, but the failure to register could result in a large fine, so remember to do it.

Purchase Your Supplies

When everything is in place and your Notary commission is in hand and filed, you can purchase your supplies, including certificates, your seal and notary embossers, and your journal. You may also want to pick up a handbook, especially if your state does not require training.

When you have completed all this, you will be all set to serve as a Notary Public.

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