A notary public is an individual appointed by the state to serve the public as an impartial witness when important documents are signed. If you’re interested in becoming a notary public in California, here’s what you need to do.
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A notary public is an individual commissioned by the Secretary of State to serve the public as an impartial witness in taking acknowledgments, administering oaths, or attestations. Notaries are also authorized to perform certain ceremonies related to the execution of documents.
In order to become a notary public in California, you must:
1. Be 18 years of age or older.
2. Be a legal resident of California or a resident aliens authorized to work in the United States with a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (commonly referred to as a “green card”).
3. Complete a six-hour classroom instruction course approved by the Secretary of State’s office. The course must include, but is not limited to, information on California notary laws and procedures, and contain an examination approved by the Secretary of State’s office. (An examination is not required for renewals.) NOTE: Internet courses are NOT accepted for original appointments. For more information about courses, please call (916) 653-3595 or visit our website at www.sos.ca.gov/notary/.
4. Pass an open-book written examination administered by the instructor at the end of the course if you are applying for an original appointment . NOTE: If you have been a notary public in another state within the last 10 years and can submit a Certificate of Good Standing from that state dated within 90 days of your application date, you are exempt from taking the California examination. The Certificate of Good Standing must be submitted with your application packet. You may also submit a Notary Public License History Report dated within 90 days of your application date in lieu of the Certificate of Good Standing if your prior state does not issue certificates. The License History Report must indicate that your bond was active and In Force during your entire term as a notary public in that state . Exemptions from taking the examination do NOT apply to renewals; all notaries public must take and pass an open-book written examination administered by their instructor at each renewal period.(An examination is not required for renewals.)
What is a notary public?
A notary public is an individual appointed by the state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. Notaries public are sometimes referred to as “signing agents” or “mobile notaries” because they are often called upon to travel to different locations to notarize documents. In California, there are more than 20,000 notaries public.
Most states require that notaries public be at least 18 years old and have a clean criminal record. Some states also require that notaries public have a certain level of education or experience. California does not have any educational or experience requirements for notaries public. However, California does require that all notaries public complete a six-hour training course before they can begin their duties.
The training course must be approved by the California Secretary of State’s office and must cover the following topics:
-The duties and responsibilities of a notary public
-How to prevent fraud
-How to properly identify people who come to you for notarization
-How to properly fill out notarial certificates
-The penalties for violating the California Notary Public Code
The duties of a notary public
A notary public is an individual commissioned by the state to serve the public as an impartial witness in the witnessing or attesting of certain documents. In addition to taking acknowledgments, administering oaths and affirmations, and certifying copies of certain documents, a notary public also has the authority to Determine the identity of a document’s signer
Determine that the signer is willingly signing the document free of duress or coercion
Make sure that the signer understands the content of the document being signed.
The duties of a notary public may vary from state to state. For example, in California, a notary public is also authorized to certify that a copy of a specified document is true, as evidenced by the comparison of this copy with the original document.
Qualifications to become a notary in California
In order to become a notary public in California, you must:
-Be at least 18 years of age
-Be a legal resident of California
-Have no felony convictions
-Complete a six-hour Notary Public Education Course
-Submit an application to the California Secretary of State
-Pass a written exam
-Submit a bond
How to become a notary in California
In order to become a notary in the state of California, you must first complete a six-hour course approved by the Secretary of State. After you have completed the course, you must pass an examination administered by the California Notary Examining Committee. Once you have passed the examination, you will be able to apply for a notary bond and notary commission.
Complete a six-hour notary course
You must be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of California, and have no criminal record to become a notary in California. You must also complete a six-hour notary course from an approved provider and pass a written examination administered by the provider.
Pass the California Notary Exam
In order to become a California notary, you must first pass the California Notary Exam with a score of 70% or higher. The California Notary Exam is administered by the California Secretary of State.
Apply to the California Notary Commission
To become a notary public in California, you must:
1. Be at least 18 years of age.
2. Be a legal resident of California, or a resident of an adjoining state who maintains a principal place of business in California.
3. Be able to read and write in English.
4. Have no felony convictions.
5. Complete six hours of notary public education through an approved provider within one year before filing your application, unless you can show to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State that you have previously served as a notary public in another jurisdiction for at least five years immediately preceding your move to California, or have held office as a Judge of a court of record in any jurisdiction for at least five years immediately preceding your move to California, or are currently licensed as an attorney by the State Bar of California; or have completed an equivalent course approved by the Secretary within one year prior to submitting an application for membership on the commission (see section 12201 of the Business and Professions Code). The required course shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
A. The powers, duties, responsibilities, and limitations imposed by law on notaries public;
B. The procedures for performing legal weddings; C. The preparation and execution of acknowledgments; and D. The prevention of malpractice by notaries public.”
Once you have completed the online course, printed off and filled out the Notary public application, and gathered the required documents, you will then need to submit your application to the California Secretary of State’s office. After your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment for your notary public oath ceremony. At your oath ceremony, you will need to present your valid ID and original signed copy of the Notary public surety bond to the California Notary Public Program representative. After taking your oath, you will be officially sworn in as a notary public for the state of California.