How to Become a California Notary

Here is a step-by-step guide to become a notary in California. Notaries.com handles all of these requirements through our easy application, so rest-assured you have everything you need to become a notary!

1) Instructions for Completing Your Application:

  • Read all instructions and information carefully.
  • Complete the Notary Public Application in full.
  • Only your official signature should be written, and all other information should be typed or printed legibly in blue or black ink.
  • Attach to the application a 2" x 2" color passport photograph of yourself.
  • Attach to the application the proof of completion certificate (3-hour or 6-hour) received from the notary public education course provider.

2) Notary Education

The state requires all notaries applying for a new or renewal commission to complete a Notary Course as a prerequisite to taking the Notary exam.

3) Take the California Notary Exam

To be recommissioned or commissioned as a Notary Public, you must pass this exam with a 70% or higher. The day of the exam you must bring your state required $40 exam fee and your Notary application. To register for an exam, please visit: http://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/checklist/registration/

4) Submit Your Live Scan Fingerprints

Once you have received your letter in the mail stating that you have passed your California Notary exam, you must submit your Live Scan fingerprints to your county and undergo a background check. Fees for fingerprinting vary from county to county. To find a center near you visit: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations

5) Await Your Commission Packet

The notary public commission packet will be mailed once your application has been approved and after you have passed the background check.

The notary public commission packet includes:

  • A cover letter with instructions
  • Filing instructions
  • A notary public commission certificate
  • Two Notary Public Oath and Certificate of Filing forms
  • A Certificate of Authorization to Manufacture Notary Public Seals; and
  • A list of Authorized Manufacturers of Notary Public Seals

Renewals: If you took the exam at least six weeks prior to the expiration date on your current notary public commission, your new notary public commission will not be sent to you more than 30 days before the expiration date.

Once the notary public commission packet has been received, the next step is to provide notaries.com with a copy of your commission certificate and original letter of authorization so we can create your bond and notary supplies.

6) Notary Public Bond Filing

The notary public bond you will receive from notaries.com has to be filed with the county clerk's office in the county where your principal place of business is located within 30 calendar days from the commencement date of the commission. (Government Code section 8213.) The 30-day period cannot be extended. It should be noted that the county processes documents in chronological order, but not necessarily on the date received due to the volume of documents. The oath and bond may be submitted to the county clerk prior to the commencement date of the commission and must be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the commencement date of the commission. It is recommended that the oath and bond be submitted in person to guarantee timely filing.

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