Ohio Notary FAQs

What are the requirements to become a notary in Ohio?

Notary applicants in Ohio must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a legal Ohio resident (or an attorney admitted to practice law in Ohio with a primary practice in the state)
  • Have no convictions or guilty pleas to a disqualifying offense
  • Complete an education program and pass a test

Do I need to include a background check with my application?

Yes. Non-attorney applicants must obtain an Ohio criminal records check — also known as a Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) report — that is no more than six months old and include it with their notary application.

Get your BCI report by finding an authorized agent of the BCI near you. Make sure the BCI report lists 147 022 as the reason code so the proper search is conducted. It may take up to 40 days to receive the BCI report, so plan accordingly.

What kind of training do I need to become a notary?

Notary applicants must complete a three-hour training course that is approved by the Secretary of State . The course covers topics like what constitutes a legal notarial act, acknowledgments, jurats, identification verification and electronic notarizations.

After completing the course and passing the test, applicants will receive a certificate of completion that must be included with the application.

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

Yes. A final exam is included in the required training course. You must pass to receive the certificate of completion required for your application.

Where can I take the notary public exam in OH?

Exams must be administered by a Secretary of State-approved provider. View the list of approved providers here.

What do I need to know about remote online notarization in the state?

Remote online notarizations are allowed if an Ohio notary is authorized by the Secretary of State’s Office.

If you’d like to become authorized, you must:

Authorized notaries must be legal residents of Ohio and may only perform online notarizations when they are located in Ohio. The signer can be outside of Ohio or outside of the United States at the time of the act.

What kind of supplies will I need?

Common supplies notaries will need include a stamp with their official seal, extra ink for their stamp and a notary record-keeping journal. While a record-keeping journal is only required for online notarizations in Ohio, we recommend one for all notaries.

If you’re interested in other supplies like gold foil labels or sworn affidavit stamps, check out our supplies store.

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

A surety bond is the notary’s promise to uphold the notarial law. It protects clients who may be harmed by a notary's negligent act, whether intentional or by mistake.

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 Ohio.

While a bond is not required, we recommend considering errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. E&O insurance protects the notary from liability. If a notary commits a negligent act or makes an error, E&O insurance can cover losses resulting from a claim — including legal fees.

How do I renew an Ohio notary commission?

In Ohio, non-attorney notary commissions are valid for five years.

To renew your commission, you must submit an online renewal application within the three-month window prior to your commission’s expiration date.

The renewal application process is similar to the initial application. You must:

  • Obtain another criminal background check within six months of the renewal application
  • Log into notary.ohiosos.gov
  • Select Notary Commission Renewal Application
  • Complete a one-hour continuing education course — select the renewal course during checkout when you purchase supplies from us
  • Submit your application and pay the filing fee

If your commission expires, there is no grace period. You must file a new application for a notary commission, which requires additional training and testing.