How to Become a Notary Public in California



How to Become a Notary Public in California

If you want to become a Notary Public in California, you’re going to have to meet a few requirements first. You must be at least 18 years or older. Have your fingerprints scanned at an official Live Scan site for your background check. Also, you cannot be convicted of a felony or a crime that conflicts with the duties of a Notary. Examples of such crimes include burglary, embezzlement, fraud, rape or tax evasion. 

How much does it cost to become a Notary in California?

To become a Notary Public in California, you will pay $40, which covers your application fee and exam fee in the state. Additional costs vary depending on the vendor chosen. Also, be aware of additional costs for the surety bond, passport photo, LIVE scan background check, county clerk bond, Notary supplies, and the oath of office fees. Therefore, the total cost always differs. 

How long does it take to become a Notary in California?

It can take between two weeks to six months to receive your commission. A California Notary commission lasts 4 years, and after those years expire, you will need to renew your commission.

Is training required?

Yes, the first time you apply, a six-hour training course from a state-approved vendor is required. You’ll also need to take a three-hour refresher course every time you renew your commission if you decide to renew before your current one expires. 

Must I take a Notary Public exam in California?

Yes, new and renewing applicants must pass an exam by Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS). All testing information is available on the CPS website or you can call them at (916) 263-3520 to learn more. 

What notarial supplies are required?

  • An ink stamp & journal. Every notarization performed must be recorded in a journal as it serves as a reference for you and proof of your duties in the event that you’re involved in a law suit. Official stamps shouldn’t bleed. This might make county officials toss it out. 
  • A certificate from the Secretary of State authorizing you to buy your seal from a state-approved vendor.

What is a surety bond?

A surety bond is a contract that means you agree to pay anyone harmed if you fail to discharge your responsibilities as a Notary Public. Any damages paid from the bond cover a signer’s losses and you must pay back the surety company. California law also requires you to take a $15,000 bond from an authorized surety company. 


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