How to become a notary

  1. Take the notary education course. A first time applicant for a notary commission must submit proof that the applicant has, within one year prior to the application, completed at least three hours of interactive or classroom instruction. The Department of State’s Notary Education Program satisfies this requirement, and can be taken online, free of charge, at http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us. A list of other can be found at approved education providers.

    If you are renewing your notary commission, you may proceed directly to the next step.

  2. Contact a bonding agency. After successfully completing an education course, you must contact one of the bonding agencies that are approved to operate in Florida. Most of these companies provide “one-stop-shopping.” You make one payment to the company and they provide the application, pay the state fees, write your notary bond, and supply your notary seal. The bonding agencies provide the surety bond that is required for notaries public to obtain a commission. (Note that the bond is designed to protect the public against notarial misconduct or negligence, not the notary.) You can find a list of the approved bonding agencies.

    We recommend that you check with several companies to compare services and prices. The state fees of $39 are fixed by law, but the bond premium and the notary seal are competitively priced. Please note that the State does not give out applications or provide notary seals.

  3. Complete the application. Provide all of the information requested on the application form, which will be provided to you by the bonding agency you choose. If there is any information missing, your application will be returned to the bonding agency until all necessary materials have been submitted. If you have been convicted of a felony, had adjudication withheld, or are on probation, you must submit the following documents:

    1. A written statement regarding the nature and circumstances of the charges;
    2. A copy of the Judgment and Sentencing Order; and,
    3. If convicted, a copy of the Certification of Restoration of Civil Rights (or pardon). The name of this document may vary depending on the state where the conviction occurred.
  4. Submit the application through your bonding agency. Once your application has been fully completed, you must submit your application to your bonding agency. They will forward your application to the State for review. To check the status of your application, please contact your bonding agency.

If your application is approved, you will receive your commission certificate and notary seal from your bonding agency. Please confirm that the information on the seal and certificate are correct; if so, you may proceed to perform your duties as notary public. If there is any error, please contact your bonding agency for assistance.

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If you possess a notary seal from your current commission, please use your current seal until the commission expires. You may not use your new notary seal until the first day of your new commission. Destroy your old seal to prevent its misuse.

Applying for a Notary Commission (New or Renewal)

If you meet the qualifications to become a Montana Notary Public, you may apply for a four-year notary public commission by following the steps below. It is not possible to obtain a notary commission in just a few days, so please plan accordingly. The application fee for becoming a notary public is $25, which is non-refundable.

New Notary Applicants Please Note: You must pass the Montana Notary Exam before you may be commissioned as a Montana Notary Public. The Secretary of State’s Online Notary Training is designed to help you successfully pass the exam. You may also wish to review the Montana Notary Handbook before taking the exam.

Current Montana Notaries Please Note: You may not renew your commission more than 30 days prior to the expiration date of your current commission. You have until 30 days after the expiration of your current commission to renew your commission. If you do not renew your commission in time, you will be considered a new applicant.

Step 1Obtain a Notary Surety Bond in the amount of $10,000. These are available from most Montana insurance agents, as well as through various online providers. The cost for notary bonds varies, but is usually about $50 – $70 for the four-year term of the commission.

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Your bond effective date, if the bond has one, must be within 30 days before or after the date your Application for Appointment as a Montana Notary Public is received in the Secretary of State’s office.

When you receive your bond, be sure to sign it (on the line for “Principal”) with the signature you will use when notarizing documents.

Step 2Complete the Application for Appointment as a Montana Notary Public (“Application”). You may fill out the Application online and then print it, or print a copy of the blank Application and fill it out by hand. We encourage you to fill out the Application online because any Application that is illegible will be rejected and returned to you.

When filling out the Application, keep these things in mind:

  • The Application must be filled out completely.
  • The name on your Application must exactly match the name on your bond.
  • The signature on your Application must match the signature on your bond.
  • If you check “Yes” for any question in Part II other than the one about having been previously commissioned as a Montana Notary Public, you must submit explanatory documentation with your Application.

Failing to properly complete the Application will result in the Application being rejected and returned to you.

Step 3Have your Application notarized. Once your Application is notarized, review the notarization to make sure the Application has been properly notarized. Improperly notarized applications will be rejected and returned to you.

Step 4Submit your original, notarized Application and all required documentation to the following address:

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Montana Secretary of StateCertifications and Notary ServicesPO Box 202801

Helena, MT 59620-2801

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