Taking a side job as a Notary Public can be a great way to supplement your income, or even switch careers—all you need is the knowledge and motivation to start building your business.
Here are the basic requirements to becoming a Notary:
- Meet all of the qualifications according to your state. In most cases, if not all, you must:
- be at least 18 years of age
- be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
- reside in the state in which you are applying to be a Notary
- not have any prior legal convictions, or you must get special approval from the state in order to work as a Notary
- Submit an application and pay your state’s filing fee. This will take place at your county recorders office. Check with the Secretary of state to find out which office handles Notary commissions for your county. Also be sure to bring payment (for the filing fee) with you to the exam, along with two passport-sized photos.
- Get training! In some cases your training needs to be from an approved vendor, so be sure to check your state’s requirements before signing up for any classes. A quick Google search should generate results for Notary courses in your area. The National Notary Association (NNA) is a trusted vendor and a safe bet for any courses or supplies you will need.
- Pass the state-proctored exam. For first-time Notaries, most exams follow the mandatory six-hour course at the location you selected for training.
- Get fingerprinted and background checked. Fingerprinting and a criminal/DMV background check is done at a privately owned business. A local LiveScan company can let you know which background check you need to apply for.
- Receive your commission certificate from the state. This is essentially your license to be a Notary. Your commission lasts four years, meaning you will have to renew it every four years should you wish to continue working as a Notary Public.
- Get your surety bond. Surety bonds protect the public financially if a Notary were to make a mistake. This bond must be presented to the county recorder along with your commission certificate when you are sworn in as an official Notary. (Some states do not require surety bonds, so again, make certain you understand what your state requires of Notaries.)
- File your commission paperwork and bond with your Notary regulating official. (That is, the Secretary of State.)
- Buy your Notary supplies! Items you will need starting out: a Notary journal, a thumbprint pad and a reliable car with great MPG—mobile notaries do a lot of driving to their clients. When researching local Notary courses, you may see locations that offer packages that include your supplies (sans the car). You will have the option to purchase these online when you book your course.
If you have met all of these requirements, congratulations! You can now begin building your clientele!
More information can be found on nationalNotary.org—simply select your state from the drop down menu on this site.
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