Florida Notary

Florida is one of several states to add an education requirement for first time applicants seeking a commission as a Notary Public. Since July 2000, applicants must complete an approved three hour training course. The training must be delivered in a classroom setting or if online it must be in an interactive format.

An applicant can get all the information needed to understand the process from the state web site, www.flgov.com/notary_education. A Notary Registration Packet is available for free download in either Word or Adobe format. Once the applicant downloads this information, it’s a matter of completing all requirements.

The training requirements are listed in detail. With the increased interest in electronic notarization processes, training for a Florida applicant must include electronic notarization as well as usual and customary duties of a notary. Any training source whether a college and university, bonding agency or for-profit education program is required to be registered for business in Florida and be approved as a training provider by the state. Signing up for training programs from a provider who is not listed as an approved provider on the Florida web site is a costly mistake for an applicant.

Notary training is under the Governor’s Office and representatives of that office can drop in unannounced on any notary training classes or monitor online classes to insure compliance with the Notary Education Statute. The training must include these overall categories: resources for notaries, fulfilling the office of notary public, duties of the notary, how to perform notarial acts, liability and recordkeeping, and electronic notarization. Another phase of training gives emphasis on notaries working in “special positions” such as law enforcement, military and government. Additional topics covered are how to notarize wills, when to refuse to notarize a document, how to advertise a notary practice, proper situations for acting as a witness and how to avoid actions or statements that might be considered practicing law without a license.

To avoid any misunderstanding by the public, any advertisements whether written or audio must contain a specific disclaimer making it clear that the notary is not able to give legal advice. Consult the statute or state web site for the exact wording for this disclaimer. The title Notary Public may not be translated into any other languages. And the notary seal is not to be used in an advertisement.

The essential knowledge requirements contained in the Florida law are not just for the application, but remain the important “how-to” guide for practicing notaries.. A free copy of the law can be downloaded from FL_GOV_NOTARY@eog.state.fl.us or by calling or call (850) 922-6400.

A notary public in Florida has the unique privilege of performing a marriage ceremony for a couple with a marriage license issued in Florida. Under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the state web site a sample ceremony is provided. Florida, Maine and South Carolina are the only other states that allow notaries to perform marriages.

With greater privileges comes greater responsibility and that higher level of service is what is expected of a Florida Notary Public.