Learning the steps on how to become a notary is the key to being successful at it – just like any other job out there. Being knowledgeable about the profession will help you overcome challenges along the way.
Becoming a notary public can be a very rewarding side or a full-time job. How much you will make and how worthwhile it can get depends on how much time you are willing to spend being a notary public.
Some people thought becoming a notary is quite difficult, but actually, it is not as tough as you thought – for as long as you have your heart and passion in it. Yes, just like in anything that a person wants to pursue in this world, for as long as you are so into it, you will eventually get it.
It also important than when you re pursuing something, you are well-aware of or well-informed about it. In this case, if you want to pursue becoming a notary, you have to be fully knowledgeable about the profession. Being educated also helps fire up the passion and the willingness to succeed in this field (or in any other fields).
With that said, today, we are going to discuss some of the common questions asked by people especially women who want to get into notary public. In particular, we are going to talk about the following:
- What is a notary public?
- What is the job of a notary public?
- Why is notary necessary?
- How does a notary know the identity of a signer?
- Where to find a notary public?
- What a notary is not?
- How to become a notary public?
- How much does a notary public make?
Let us begin with —
WHAT IS A NOTARY PUBLIC?
First and foremost, what is a notary public?
According to the National Notary Association (NNA), notary refers to “an official of integrity appointed by state government —typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents.”
In another definition published in an article in The Street, the job of a person who is serving as a notary public is to “record the signing and state approval of key public documents, like mortgage documents, contracts, wills, deeds, powers of attorney and prenuptial agreements, among other important documents.”
The act of signing and recording such documents is then called notarization or notarial acts.
Furthermore, notaries are appointed as “ministerial” officials, which basically means that they are supposed to follow written rules without having to exercise substantial personal discretion, which is usually the case for “judicial” officials.
In the United States alone, the demand for public notaries is quite nigh. In fact, according to the report from The Street, studies have shown that there is only one notary public for every 72 American residents.
So, if you are thinking or considering pursuing a career in the notary public, we bet you, there is enough room for you with such high demand these days.
WHAT IS THE JOB OF A NOTARY PUBLIC?
Still, according to NNA, a notary public’s duty includes screening the signers of important documents, making sure that their identities are true and correct. Also, they are supposed to ensure that these signers are not intimidated or pressured in signing such documents. The notary public should also make sure that the people involved in signing documents or a document are fully aware of the contents of the document to be signed, as well as the transaction.
In some cases, there are notarizations that require the notary to “put the signer under an oath, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct”.
For your information, some examples of documents that commonly require a notary are the following:
- Property Deeds
- Powers of attorney
- Loan documents
As a notary, they are duty-bound, thus, they are expected not to act in any situation wherein they have a personal interest. Do note that the foundation of this profession is impartiality. As a notary, you are expected not to deal with anything that may be corrupted by self-interest.
In addition to that, as a notary public, you are in an oath to never refuse anyone because of reasons like religion, nationality, race, sexual orientation, status in life, or politics.
NNA says that a notary public is considered as an official representative of the state, thus, they are the ones to certify that there is “proper execution of many of the life-changing documents of private citizens — whether those diverse transactions convey real estate, grant powers of attorney, establish a prenuptial agreement, or perform the multitude of other activities that enable our civil society to function.”
To be more specific, below are some of the responsibilities of a notary public:
– They are responsible in taking affidavits and statutory declarations.
– They are the ones who acknowledge deeds and other transferences.
– They do protesting of notes and bills of exchange.
– They do provide notice of foreign drafts.
There are some cases wherein a notary public is mistaken for civil-law notaries. Please note that the notary public is basically referring to common-law notaries. Civil-law notaries, on the other hand, refers to lawyers or attorneys who have passed the bar exam.
WHY IS NOTARY NECESSARY?
By going through the process of notarization, notaries are able to prevent fraud practices. It also helps establish that the person or persons signing the document is/are fully aware of what the document they are signing is all about and that they are a willing participant in that particular transaction, which means they were not pressured or anything.
In this video by Mark Wills, a video blogger, he explains what a notary public is all about and how do you become one. If you are interested in becoming a notary public, this one’s a good watch:
HOW DOES A NOTARY KNOW THE IDENTITY OF A SIGNER?
When it comes to the identification of the signer, a notary will simply ask a current, and if possible, government-issued identification card that bears the signer’s physical description, photo, as well as his or her signature. While there are a lot of acceptable IDs, the most commonly asked of all is either the driver’s license or his or her passport.
WHERE TO FIND A NOTARY PUBLIC?
For people in need of notary services, you basically have to look for a notary public either through referrals or online, and go travel to where the notary is located. Yes, it may sound a little inconvenient, but that is how it normally goes.
However, thanks to the digital era, notarization kept up with the change. Websites like Notarize.com are shaking up the status quo by allowing notarization to take place via online. It is not surprising if, in the coming years, notarization will eventually become all-digital.
WHAT A NOTARY IS NOT?
We mentioned a while ago that some people often mistook notary public with civil-law notary. Just to set the record straight, a notary public in the United States is not a lawyer or an attorney, a judge or a high-ranking official. A U.S. Notary Public is also different from a Notario Publico. Thatis why it is highly recommended that the notary public in the US have to be very clear with what they can and cannot do to avoid issues like notario.
Also, as someone who needs notary public services, we suggest that you also do your research and make sure what you really need to avoid confusion and certain issues.
Now, for those who want to get into the notary public, you also have to be aware of these as early as now. You have to know your limitations as a notary public and make sure you make it clear to your clients every time.
HOW TO BECOME A NOTARY PUBLIC?
Are you planning to pursue a notary public career or maybe considering it as a part-time job? Well, here’s what you should know first and foremost –
According to NNA, becoming a notary differs from one state to another. To be able to land in such a career, you have to be able to meet the eligibility requirements of the state where you belong, as well as ensure that you “follow the steps your state includes in their commissioning process.”
As we have said, the process of application or eligibility varies from one state to another. But generally, it involves the following:
– Filling out an application form
– Paying the application fee as stated by your state
– Taking a training course and/or passing an examination
– Filing a bond
– Taking the oath of office
– Buying your notary supplies
To be more thorough on the process, we have prepared a generic step-by-step guide below to give you an idea. Again, it varies in every state. We highly suggest that after checking down below steps, you also make a quick check on your state for their process of how to become a notary in your area.
Step-by-Step Guide On How To Become A Notary
Check the qualifications
Before you even begin processing any requirements, make sure to check first if you are qualified for the job. You have to ensure that you meet all of your state’s notary obligations.
Although the requirements and qualifications differ from one state to another, most U.S. states though require the following:
– Must be at least 18 years old
– Must be a legal resident of the state where you resides
– No criminal record (like fraud, etc.)
– Must be able to speak English
If you think you qualify from above generic qualifications, you may now need to complete the following items:
– Must have a valid driver’s license
– Must make your employment record available for review
– Must have a surety bond or also known as notary bond in place
Just so you know, a surety bond or notary bond is required to guard consumers against financial or legal damage just in case you make a notary mistake. When it comes to the cost of the bond, it also varies from state to state. However, for your reference, the bond usually ranges between $5,000 and $25,000.
Before you even panic and think of backing out, do not worry, it is not required that you pay the full amount. In fact, in Florida, for instance, a person applying for notary public is only required to pay $75 for a surety or notary bond amounting to $7,500.
Nevertheless, the point here is, if you really want to be a notary public, you have to make sure you have the money for the bond. Regardless of the cost.
Fill out the application form thoroughly, and pay the application fee.
As part of the process, you will have to thoroughly complete filling out the application form provided by your state. When filling out the form, and in many parts of the process, make sure to use your full legal name.
Once done filling out the form, along with the submission of the form, you will also need to pay the required application fee. Generally, the state notary application fees are available at your secretary of state’s office or it may also be posted on their website. The forms are also available in the said office or may also be downloadable through the website.
The application fee differs from one state to another, but to give you an idea, you may be expected to pay around $10 to $60. To give you an example, in New York, the application fee for a notary public is amounting to $60, while in Colorado, it amounts to $10.
Again, you better check the right office or website to have a full idea of how much you need to pay to process your application as a notary public.
Complete any required class or classes, and pass the notary public exam.
There are certain states that require anyone who is interested to be a notary public to go through or complete certain classes first.
A lot of states have now adopted the technology era, thus, allowing notary applicants to take those classes online. These classes particularly cover areas that you will need to master as a notary public under the notary laws of the state you belong to. In addition, in some states, the classes serve as a prerequisite to be able to take the notary exam, which you will need to pass.
To give you an idea, classes usually take 3 to 6-course hours, and you may expect to pay between $100 and $200 for the whole course training.
By now, you are already having an idea of how much you need in order to become a notary public. Yes, unfortunately, one of the things required on how to become a notary is to ensure you have money to pay for the fees and more.
Be willing to submit to a background check.
Again, it is a state-to-state basis. Not all states do a background check, however, there are any that do. This is not surprising though especially since being a notary public requires impartiality, trust, and credibility.
By doing a background check, it lets clients like companies, organizations, private citizens and government officials know that you are fully capable of doing the job and that you are free of any legal concerns or other issues that may put your notary application in jeopardy.
Normally, the background check is done by a third-part screener, and would usually take about one to two weeks to complete.
Take your oath, and pay your surety or notary bond.
Once you are done with all of the other processes we mentioned beforehand, and you passed the exam and the background check, automatically, you are now ready to take oath as a notary public.
Every notary public is required to take an oath of office, which is typically given by the local country clerk’s office. Taking an oath must be done in person. Although, if in case you are unable to do so, handwritten oaths and oaths via telephone, fax or email are also considered as legit. However, we highly suggest you verify with your secretary of state’s office first as like we mentioned for a couple of times already, the rules or processes differ in every state.
Once you are done taking an oath, you will then have to pay your surety or notary bond to the office of your county’s clerk. Once done, you are now officially a notary public, may already start performing your duties as one.
In addition, you will also need to acquire important tools of the trade, which include a journal you will use to record all your notary work, and a notary seal, which you will be used to stamp on any document you notarize. For these two, you will need about $30 to $50.
Just so you know, the whole process of becoming a notary public takes about six weeks to complete, which is quite reasonable, and in fact, not that long if you come to think of it.
By the way, the duration of your notary post may last for about four to ten years depending on your state.
HOW MUCH DOES A NOTARY PUBLIC MAKE?
Being a notary public offers really good pay. To give you an idea, most notaries charge $10 per signature plus other expenses like travel, business supplies, etc. when necessary. Notary public also charges higher for larger, more complex documents like contracts and mortgages.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO BECOME A NOTARY
Notary public is very in demand these days. No wonder why there are a lot of people checking out how to become a notary. But then again, just like in any profession or career, in order to succeed in this field, you have to be very interested, and you got to put your heart into it – regardless if you are looking at it as a part-time or a full-time job.
Are you interested in becoming a notary? Do you know now how to become a notary? How do you find it? Remember, for as long as you put your thoughts into it and you have your interested in this field, no matter how challenging how to become a notary is, you will surely succeed.