Most people become a Notary as part of their job duties or to have an additional asset to list on their resume. However, some people also establish Notary businesses or offer the service as one of several they provide. The exact rules and procedures for becoming a Notary Public vary by state, but the general process is the same.
Know the Requirements in Your State
The first step to becoming a Notary Public is making sure you meet all the requirements in your state. In most states, you will need to be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state with no criminal record. However, some states do allow residents of neighboring states to qualify. You will usually need access to a Notary stamp, so you will need to find out where to get a Notary stamp.
California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania require Notary training and Delaware requires it for electronic Notaries. If you wish to become a Notary in one of these states, you will need to take a state-approved training course. Additionally, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Utah require Notaries to pass an exam before their applications can be approved.
Pay the Fee
Most states have a filing fee that you will need to pay. You may also need to pay for training, exams, background screenings, supplies and in some cases a bond.
Secure Any Required Background Checks
Not all states require background checks, but in those that do, you will need to request and pay for the checks to be completed before your application can be approved. If you are becoming a Notary because of your job duties, your employer may pay the cost of your background screening.
Purchase Notary Supplies
Most Notaries will need certificates, a seal for stamping certificates and a journal for keeping records of your notarizations. There are different types of certificates for different types of signings, so it may be beneficial to find a site where you can download forms as-needed, rather than keeping them all on hand.
Whether you need to become a Notary to complete your job duties, enhance your resume or start your own business, you will need to meet the requirements of your state. Resources are available online and from your Secretary of State to help you learn your state’s specific requirements.