New York Notary FAQs

What are the requirements to become a notary in New York?

New York notary applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a New York resident or have an office or place of business in New York
  • Pass the New York State notary public examination. New York attorneys and court clerks of the Unified Court System are exempt from the exam.

How long is a commission term in NYS?

Notary public commissions in New York are valid for four years.

Can a person convicted of a criminal offense become a notary public?

Generally, convicted felons cannot be appointed as a notary public. Certain misdemeanors are also considered disqualifying. However, should a person convicted of any crime obtain an executive pardon, a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct from the parole board, they may be considered for appointment.

Do I need to take an exam to get my commission?

Yes, but there are a few exceptions. Only New York attorneys or a Unified Court System court clerk who passed the Civil Service promotional exam are exempt from the notary exam.

The exam is multiple choice, pass or fail, and has a one-hour time limit. Check the latest Walk-in Examination Schedule on the Department of State website to find a testing site near you.

What kind of supplies will I need?

Common supplies that notaries need include a stamp with their official seal, extra ink for their stamp and a notary record-keeping journal. If you're interested in other supplies like gold foil labels or sworn affidavit stamps, check out our supplies store.

Are New York notaries required to keep a journal?

Yes. As of January 2023, traditional and electronic notaries are required to keep a journal of all notarial acts performed, including the type of identification provided. These records must be maintained for 10 years.

Electronic notaries must also include an audio and video record of all electronic notarial acts performed.

Our complete notary supply package provides a record-keeping journal that meets New York specifications.

What is a surety bond, and do I need one?

A surety bond is the way a notary promises to uphold the notarial law. It protects individuals who may be financially or legally harmed by a notary's negligent act, whether intentional or accidental.

Notary bonds do not protect the notary. If there is a claim against the notary, then the notary is responsible for the financial repercussions up to the bond amount, which can range from $1,000 to $25,000.

Surety bonds are not required in New York.

Can you become a New York notary if you live in another state but work in New York?

Yes. Notary applicants who don't live in New York but have an office or place of business in the state can apply to become a New York notary.

Can I notarize a document for someone out of state?

Yes, but you must be an electronic notary. Licensed electronic notaries located in New York can perform notary services for clients located anywhere in the country.

How much can I charge for notary services in New York?

A notary may charge $2 for administering an oath or affirmation, taking an acknowledgment or taking proof of execution. Unless otherwise authorized by law, a notarial fee may not exceed this amount.

An electronic notary may charge up to $25 per electronic notarial act performed. The fee may be charged for each act performed during one electronic session.

Certificates of authenticity for any document created through an electronic notarial act are eligible for a $2 fee.

How do I renew my license?

You can renew your license 90 days before it expires by doing the following:

Once the state processes your application, it will send your notary commission card to the email address associated with your account. If there are problems with your renewal application, you'll get an email requesting additional information.

How do I change my name or address on my license?

To change your name or address, submit a Change Notice form. A $10 fee is required unless the individual name change is the result of a new marital status. You may also change your name when renewing your commission.

Proof of your name change is required. Examples include a copy of a:

  • Court order changing your name
  • Marriage certificate
  • Driver's license or anon-driver's ID card
  • Valid passport
  • Document related to immigration

Note: You must continue to notarize using the name under which you were commissioned throughout the remainder of your four-year term.

I'm currently a traditional notary but want to be an electronic notary. Can I change my commission type?

No, you cannot change your license type. You must be a notary public to be an electronic notary, which requires you to register the capability to perform electronic notarial acts and apply for an electronic notary public commission.

To apply for an electronic notary commission as a traditional notary:

Once your e-notary license is issued, your traditional notary license will automatically be canceled. You must use your new e-notary identification number on all notarizations performed.