Becoming a notary public involves more than purchasing notary public stamps. Because you are a witness against fraud and identity theft, you must go through a process to gain your commission.
Each state has its own notary requirements, so your first step should be finding out what your state requires. For example, in most states, you must be a legal adult (18 years of age or older). To become a notary, you may also need to be a legal citizen or permanent resident of the United States and the state in which you are applying for a commission. Some states require that you work for a business or have a business license, while others require that you have a professional license. Reading and writing in English or other languages may also be necessary.
To become a notary in most states, you need to complete at least four hours of approved training. These courses discuss your duties and responsibilities. Not only do you have to complete coursework before you are awarded your commission, but you will have to pursue continuing education each year. Your training certification needs to be submitted along with your application, and this education needs to have been completed within 12 months of your application.
Each state requires that you pass a notary exam to both apply for and renew your notary commission. You need to pass the exam with a score of at least 80% within six months of applying.
During the application process, your criminal background will be checked. You need to prove your training, exam score and surety bond purchase. The bond of at least $25,000 should be purchased in the same name as your notary commission application. You will be required to pay a filing fee.
After you have been approved, you may download your certification or it may be mailed to you. Then, you need to purchase your notary tools, including stamps and a notary journal.
Although it may be a somewhat lengthy process, becoming a notary has many economic benefits.