How to Become a Notary Public: A Simple, 5-Step Plan
Some of life’s most important transactions will require the help of notary public. When the day comes, it’s the notary’s sworn duty to fight fraud through verifying the identity of the document signers. But just how do you become a notary in the modern age?
We’ve got your simple, five-step plan to become a notary public and earn your state’s stamp of approval.
Step 1: Research your state’s requirements to become a notary.
The coveted title of notary public is in high-demand: according to the National Notary Association, there’s an estimated one notary per 72 people in the population. And with over 1.25 billion documents being notarized every year, this gives notaries plenty of opportunities to stamp important documents such as powers of attorney, loan documents, affidavits, and beyond.
The first step to becoming a notary public is to dig into your state's specific requirements governing who can become one. Since notaries are considered public officers, a good place to begin your research is on your Secretary of State’s website. There, you’ll find the basic requirements needed to become a notary.
Although most states’ requirements vary, you can count on a few of these basics such as:
- Be at least eighteen years of age,
- Be a legal resident of the United States, or
- Be able to read and write the English language
Most sites will list out the requirements so make sure you meet the requirements before proceeding.
Step 2: Apply and submit your notary public application.
You've check off all the requirements to becoming a notary public. Now, it’s time to submit your application. Most notary public applications will carry a small fee so check with your Secretary of State to see what your application will cost.
The application may call upon other means to evaluate you, such as employment history or a background check. This check is routine and is a way for the Secretary of State to ensure that you’re all clear of any legal issues.
Be aware, if your state requires an additional check, it could add on another week or two (or beyond) before you’re given the notary green light.
Step 3: Get the training you need to become a notary public.
The first half of becoming a notary public is having your application accepted, the second half is passing the notary public exam, if required by your state.
To pass the exam, you’ll need to study up and get the training on the finer details of the duties of a notary. You might quizzed on notary law, specific notary situations and how to handle them, and the best way to accurately identify signers. After all, notary's sworn duty is to fight fraud through ID verification. The National Notary Association has resources that have helped millions of notaries earn their commission.
Step 4: File your bond and take your notary public oath of office.
Now it's time to raise your right hand: all notaries are public officers of the state and are required to take an oath of office. Some notary terms can last anywhere from four years to ten years and beyond.
When you take your oath of office, you will also be required to purchase a notary surety bond and file it at the county level. Additionally, most notaries (including Notarize notaries) need to carry Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance which protects you in the event that you make a mistake while notarizing a document.
Congratulations: you’re a newly minted notary public!
Step 5: Become an electronic notary.
Time to take those notary skills one step further by serving customers online as an electronic notary. By taking your notary skills to the digital world by serving customers online, you'll make it even easier for customers to find a notarization when they need it the most.
Each state's requirements vary but many require you to take (and pass) an eNotary-specific exam. Additionally, you may need to purchase a digital certificate and a unique, electronic seal to use when notarizing documents online.
Are you ready to become a notary?
Join our A-team of commissioned, electronic notaries in Nevada, Texas, and Virginia.