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Keep up to date on the latest California Notary laws!

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Our Blog offers frequently asked questions, answers, and updates from the California Secretary of State.

In addition, we give Best Practices Tips to help the notary.

Topics include steps to becoming a California notary, filing information, notary tools, and other requirements.

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What are the requirements for the notary application?

Application Prerequisites

  • To qualify to become a notary public or to renew your commission, the Secretary of State requires you to know and meet all of the following requirements: Government Code section 8201

The Secretary of State requires knowledgement all of the following qualifications:

  1. Be a legal resident of the State of California, unless appointed to serve on a military or naval reservation United States citizenship is required.
  2. Be at least 18 years of age
  3. Satisfactorily complete a six-hour course of study approved by the Secretary of State
  4. Pass a written, proctored, closed-book examination prescribed by the Secretary of State
  5. Complete an Application
  6. Submit a Photograph - a 2”x 2” color passport photo along with the application
  7. Pass a Background Check

In Addition:

  • A notary public may not use a commercial mail receiving agency or post office box as his or her principal place of business or residence.
  • The Secretary of State must determine that an applicant possesses the required honesty, credibility, truthfulness, and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the office of notary public. California Government Code section 8201.1(a)
    • The applicant must disclose all arrests for which trials are pending and all convictions on the application - Government Code section 8201.1
  • The Secretary of State’s office may deny an application for the failure to disclose any convictions (felonies or misdemeanors)
  • To determine the identity of an applicant and whether the applicant has been convicted of a disqualifying crime, state law requires all applicants to be fingerprinted as part of a thorough background check prior to being granted an appointment as a notary public
  • All notary public applicants (even returning notaries) shall submit fingerprints to the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of a background check - Government Code section 8201.1
  • You are required to disclose all arrests and convictions on your application.
    • Convictions dismissed must be disclosed - Penal Code Section 1203.4 or 1203.4a
    • If you have any questions concerning the disclosure of convictions or arrests, contact the Secretary of State prior to signing the application.
    • If you do not recall the specifics about your arrest(s) and or conviction(s), you can the California Department of Justice contact the at (916) 227-3849.

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