Notary Public Application
The first step to becoming a Notary Public is to investigate your state’s application process. For many states, the application is completed and sent with a fee before commissioning. In the few states that require an examination, the application may be sent with the passing score as is the case in New York State.
The application is not to be taken lightly. Along with the usual name, address, date of birth, state of residency is other information that must be completed accurately. In Texas, Virginia and Oregon, a notary application is not accepted from a person with a felony conviction. Colorado adds to the felony prohibition that an applicant cannot have a misdemeanor conviction involving dishonesty that occurred in the last five years.
Answering questions honestly on the application can qualify or disqualify a notary candidate. The application also defines whether a non-resident can apply for notary public commission in that state. Rules vary from state to state on non-resident applicants.
To validate US citizenship, a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate or current passport may be requested along with the application. For states that commission resident aliens, a copy of a current, valid Green Card may be attached to the application. States that require proof of residency may also want to see a copy of a valid state driver’s license.
Because the Notary Public’s work demands high standards of ethical conduct, the application for each state is designed to eliminate candidates who may not maintain that standard. To make certain the applicant is truthful, notary applications contain an oath. The oath may be sworn before a licensed Notary Public when the application is signed or the oath can be part of the commissioning process.
The minimum age to apply for a Notary Public commission is 18 years old. This is definitely a position of adult responsibility. Information included with the application or found at the Department of State office for your state explains any additional requirements. For example, New York, Utah, Ohio, District of Columbia, Maine and North Carolina require an examination at a state approved testing site. Other states recommend additional training as continuing education. Read the application carefully to learn the requirement for your state.
Bonding agents make the process even easier by providing a download of the application for states in which they do business. They want to build a relationship with future customers and start by helping you get the correct application without wandering around the state web site. After completing the application and the process for earning a notary commission, the bonding agents hope you will reward their helpfulness by purchasing your notary bond from them.
Information included with the application will identify the governing law for notaries. The state may have an official handbook of notary procedures or merely a copy of the statute. Whether knowledge of these rules are tested by examination or not, a commissioned notary public is expected to know the law and act accordingly in all transactions.