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Requirements to Become a Notary Public


Many occupations in the public service and legal fields may require you to become a Notary Public. In order to become a Notary Public, you must meet certain requirements. Requirements vary on a state-by-state basis.

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a public servant who acts as a witness to the signing of important documents, and who can verify the authenticity of signatures. Common documents that require notarized signatures are deeds, wills, and Power of Attorney. Notary Publics may also administer certain oaths, and Notaries are appointed by the state government. Notaries are also allowed to assess a small fee for their services.  

General Requirements to be a Notary Public

The following criteria are generally used in every state or territory:

  • You must be 18 years old. 
  • You must be a resident of the state or county where you are applying, or you must primarily work in the state or county where you are applying to work.
  • You must be of good moral characte.
  • You cannot have been convicted of any felony crimes in the state where you are applying, or in any other state (unless you have been pardoned, and an executive order has been issued restoring your rights). 

Other Criteria

In addition to the general requirements, certain states may have the following additional requirements:

  • In addition to felony offenses, certain misdemeanor offenses may disqualify an applicant.
  • Applicants must have received a common general education.
  • You must be able to read and write in English.
  • You must be able to properly execute the duties of a Notary Public.
  • You must legally reside in the U.S.
  • Your Notary commission or license must not have been revoked within the last 10 years.
  • You must not have had another professional license revoked.
  • You must be familiar with state specific Notary laws.
  • You must not have a lucrative public office appointment or government position in the U.S.
  • You must not be disqualified from voting due to conviction or mental incompetence.
  • You must not be currently incarcerated, currently on probation, or currently on parole.
  • You must not be under a court order declaring that you are incompetent.

Contact your state government, or visit your state's website, to confirm the Notary Public criteria that your state requires. 

Notary Public Classes

Certain states or territories may also require that applicants take Notary Public classes, and then take a state Notary Public exam. It is essential to contact your state government to determine whether your state has these requirements. If your state government requires Notary classes, there are many resources available so that you can take online classes and tutorials. It is important to research whether online classes are state approved. Websites should state whether their services, classes, and award certificates are accredited. You should always double check website claims with your government. 

If your occupation requires that you become a Notary Public, you must make sure that you meet the requirements of this public service position. While there are commonly accepted general requirements to become a Notary Public, there are also state specific requirements that should be verified based on your location.

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