While the specific laws vary from state to state, there are a few basic steps you can expect to encounter on your journey to becoming a Notary Public. Whether you are required to obtain your Notary certification as part of your job or you are interested in starting your own Notary signing business, a Notary certification gives you the authority to sign mortgage documents, marriage certificates, trust documents and perform many other civil duties. If you have ever wondered how to become a notary, here is an outline of important steps.
In order to become a Notary, you should be at least 18 years of age with no criminal background. Some states require background checks, and most states charge a set fee on top of exam costs, application fees, supply costs and background screening charges in order to become a Notary. Most states require that people holding the Notary Public title always have certificates, stamping seals and a detailed journal on hand for documenting jobs for your protection.
Your state’s secretary office will often have all of the information pertinent to courses, specialized training and exam information on becoming a Notary. Most standard notary courses only take about three to six hours to complete, and exams are often scheduled immediately following the completion of the course; not all states administer exams.
Most states also require that you obtain a Notary bond. Surety bond amounts vary, but this type of insurance protects both you and the consumers if you should happen to make a mistake that damages someone. It takes about seven to nine weeks to become a Notary, depending on your state’s laws. Certification and exam requirements also vary from state to state.
A standard notary term is four years, but many states have five or ten-year terms. Once you are deemed a Notary Public, you can generally notarize most documents that come across your desk. Some legal documents may be restricted, but most legal requests for notarization that are accompanied by acceptable forms of identification may be notarized by you once you are certified. You provide an essential civil service as a Notary Public.