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Let us be the connection between you, the notary, and the California Secretary of State.

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 Steps to Becoming a Notary Public?

Steps to Becoming a Notary Public

There are six easy steps to becoming a notary public.

  1. Register and complete an approved Notary Course.
    • The 6-hr course is for first-time Notaries, returning notaries who wish a better understating of the latest notary laws, and notaries whose Commission has lapsed.
    • The 3-hr course is for returning Notaries whose commission has not had a lapsed.
      • Note: The 3-hour course must be completed, notary application submitted, and pass the state exam prior to the current commission expiration date.
  2. Take the Notary State Exam proctored by the CPS
    • Applicants must submit:
      • a current valid photo identification
      • a notary application
      • a Proof of Completion Certificate for the required course of study
      • a 2x2 color Passport Photo
      • a check in the amount of $40 made payable to the Secretary of State
      • retakes $20
    • Test results are received 15 business days after testing
    • To pass a minimum score of 70 is required.
  3. Live Scan/fingerprinting for the background check
    • Complete background check as close to the exam date as possible
    • Commissions will not be approved without the background check
  4. It takes 4-12 weeks for the Secretary of State to commission notary applicants.
  5. Once the applicant is commissioned by the Secretary of State, he/she will receive by US mail:
    • a 9x12 manila envelope that containing:
      • the Notary Commission
      • two copies of the Oath of Office
      • information about obtaining a 15k Surety Bond, and the
      • Authorization to Manufacture a Notary Public Seal/Stamp.
  6. Upon receiving the Commission
    • Purchase:
      • the 15K Surety Bond
      • the stamp/seal, and
      • a journal, if applicable (returning notaries may continue using the old journal)
    • Notaries have 30-calendar days from the date listed on the Commission (no late submissions will be accepted) to:
      • go to county clerk/recorder office of the principal place of business as recorded on the Notary application
      • take both copies of the Oath of Office and
      • the 15k surety bond to the
      • at the county clerk/recorder’s office, the notary will take, subscribe, and file the Oath of Office and 15k Surety Bond.
      • Once completed notaries may begin to notarize signatures.

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