If you’re interested in becoming a notary public, here is what you need to know:
First, requirements and rules vary from state to state so I advise you to do a search using your state name & notary. Ex.: FL or Florida notary.Here I will only address how to become a Florida notary because that’s the state I live in and I know what is required and the steps to get there. Some of the information I’ll share will probably be valid for all states though.
- You need to be at least 18 years old and an official resident of the state in which you want to be a notary. The length of your commission will depend on the state you live. In FL: Legal residency must be maintained throughout the four-year term of the commission. You are not required to be a U.S. citizen, but to be a legal residentof the U.S. and a resident of the state you’re applying to be a notary. If you are a legal resident, not a U.S. citizen, you will need to obtain a record of Declaration of Domicile.
- Obtain the application for a notary commission from your state (in FL: http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us/) or from the nonprofit National Notary Association (NNA); you can select your state on this link: http://www.nationalnotary.org/become_a_notary/index.html. Note that each state has different eligibility criteria for its notaries. FL: I used Florida Notary Service (service provided by American Safety Council) because they offered a package and had the lowest price!
- Be prepared to pay a filing fee and, in most states, to post a bond before assuming the office. Go to the NNA website for the individual state fees and bond requirements. Also check the site for your state’s requirements on written examinations and the fingerprinting of notaries. FL: Again, using Florida Notary Service, they offer a whole package; it includes: State filing, certificate (education), $7500 required notary bond, self-inking stamp, and log book. I filled out an application, selected all supplies I wanted, selected extra insurance and made the payment (my total cost was much higher than just $79.–About $200.) Then printed out all forms and followed other instructions they gave me. Your fee with them can be about $79. (current special price) if you do not add any extra supplies or add any extra insurance.
- Education – FL: All first time notary applicants are required to complete a three-hour notary education course by an approved provider. You can take the course using the service of your choice if they offer or given by your state. FL: I took the course offered by the state. which you can access it here Notary Education Program. In other states, requirements may vary. Some may require you to attend a workshop for prospective notaries to gain in-depth information about the law, ethics and special situations. The workshops are usually held in community colleges and universities, and, in some states, in hotels.
- Once you’re done, make sure you print out all the forms and follow instructions carefully. Then simply mail your application!
- Once your application is approved (it can take up to two weeks in FL), they will issue your notary commission, and the notary service you used, will send your commission certificate and all materials you ordered.
I took with ASN; as a member, you get discounted prices. I took the training course and the exam; of course I passed it!
I also ordered other supplies from them. This is added cost; I spent about $400. without counting the other cost for supplies to have/keep a mobile “office,” get a laser printer, E&O insurance for Signing Agents, mobile payment service, accounting software, etc.
NOTE: The certification for Signing Agents are valid only for 2 years.
Nevertheless, I have invested a LOT of time and money into this (and will probably invest more to obtain more training) and I’m excited I became a Notary Public and also a Signing Agent for the State of Florida!
by Alessandra Gomes
On My Way FL Notary S.A.
- What is a Notary Public and a Notary Signing Agent? (onmywayflnotarysa.wordpress.com)
- Why I Decided to Become a Notary Public and Signing Agent, Too (onmywayflnotarysa.wordpress.com)