If you have ever considered becoming a Notary Public, there are a few things that you will need to do prior to being sworn in for service. Many of the specific details pertaining to becoming a Notary Public have to do with your location. Not all notaries are required to take the same tests or pay the same fees. Governing laws in your area and the type of services that you wish to offer to the public will determine the details. Here is a list of steps you can expect to take when becoming a California Notary.
Step One: Determine Eligibility
To become a California Notary, you must be at least 18 years old. There is no minimum residency.
Step Two: Stock Up
Consider investing in a California Notary supply package. These include a Journal of Notarial Acts, a thumb printer package, fee schedules, Acknowledgment Certificates, E&O Policies, and other useful tools. You must have an embosser or inked stamp that has an inked impression and is reproducible on a photocopier. A journal is also required by law.
Step Three: Take the Test
You will be required to pass the state Notary exam. California has a prorated exam that must be passed with a score of 70% or higher. You will also need to submit fingerprints through a live scan agency for a fee of $32 plus additional fees, which vary.
Step Four: Apply
You will need to fill out an application with the Notary commission. Information you can expect to provide include your name, address, contact details, age, location where you expect to do business, and information on any prior Notary commissions you’ve worked with.
Step Five: Fees
Submit your application with the required fee included. State filing fees are $40 for new and renewal commissions. A bond of $15,000 is also required. The fee will be required prior to the commission accepting your application.
Step Six: Take the Oath
Once the commission has accepted the fee, and the appropriate forms have been filed, you will need to take an oath. This is an Oath of Office and Bond and must be filed with the county clerk’s office in the county where you plan to do business. The oath must be filed within 30 calendar days from the commencement date of the commission and may not be extended. This oath may or may not be incorporated into the filing or application process. If the oath is not filed, you will not be cleared to be a registered Notary Public. The oath is a must. If there has been no mention of it to you, make sure you bring it to the commission’s attention. If you do not, and you perform any form of Notary Public service, you could face legal consequences. We recommend you submit your oath and bond in person to guarantee timely filing.
Step Seven: Activate Your Notary Bond
Once you receive your state-issued Commission Certificate (usually within 4 to 6 weeks), forward a copy of your Commission Certificate to the National Notary Association. You will be issued an activated Notary Bond. You will then need to file your Notary Bond and Oath of Office with the county clerk.
Step Eight: Education Classes
Depending on what type of service you wish to perform for the public, you may or may not need a specialized class or two in order to educate yourself on how to complete each task. Although this is not required, it is highly recommended as it will boost your income by providing you with more versatility in your field.
Application Information and Provisions
The term for a commission is four years. Simply renew at the end of each term. To begin the process of becoming a California Notary, contact:
Office of Secretary of State
Business Programs Division
Notary Public Section
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277-0001
Obtain Some Business
Now that you are completely setup to begin your new notary business, you will need to find customers. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this task is to include yourself in an online notary database that targets customers by zip code.