How to Get a Background Screening as a Notary

A notary's primary responsibility is fraud prevention. A notarized legal document signifies that there was an impartial witness and that all signers were properly identified and understood what they were signing. As a government-appointed official, sometimes a notary public needs a background check to inspire public confidence that they will perform their duties honestly.

This page describes criminal history check requirements, the available options, and how to get a screening.

Why Are They Important?

Notaries mainly deal with legal documents like wills, real estate deeds, powers of attorney, and trusts. Since these documents contain sensitive information, these kinds of checks are required or recommended.

There is no national background verification requirement for notaries. Qualifications vary and are usually set by secretaries of state. Even if not required by the state, some employers require screenings for their customers' benefit.

Some states, like California and Ohio, require a criminal record check. While most states do not require applicants to undergo a screening process, past criminal convictions usually disqualify them.

Easily check state requirements by selecting one from the upper right-hand corner and clicking the How to Become a Notary button.

Notary Signing Agents

Signing agents are notaries who complete additional training to work with complex loan documents like mortgages. Because loans contain personal and financial information, most employers — especially in the real estate industry — require that their signing agents get vetted annually.

The Process: Explained

Screening methods depend on the state's requirements. For example, California notaries must find and use specific fingerprinting providers in their county.

Online services make the screening process easy for signing agents and notaries with no in-person requirements. Applicants simply provide their personal data and contact information.

Once a service has that information, they can check the following:

  • Social Security number trace
  • National criminal database
  • County criminal court search
  • Sex offender registry search
  • Employment verification

DISA (Crimcheck)

DISA, formerly Crimcheck, offers online screenings for notaries. They take three to five business days to process, with results emailed directly to the user.

Our level one background check service uses DISA to ensure accuracy and a quick turnaround time.