- What is a Notary Public?
- The Duties of a Notary Public
- Qualifications to Become a Notary in Washington State
- How to Apply to Become a Notary in Washington State
- The Notary Commission
- The Notary Oath
- Notary Public Records
- Notary Public Fees
- Notary Public Renewal
- Notary Public Supplies
- Notary Public Errors and Omissions Insurance
- Notary Public Tips
If you want to become a notary in Washington State, you must follow these specific steps. First, you must purchase a notary bond. Second, you must complete a notary education course. Finally, you must pass a notary exam.
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Becoming a notary in Washington State is a two-step process. First, you must purchase a notary bond and submit it to the state. Second, you must file an application with the state Notary Commission. The following instructions will walk you through both of these process.
What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a public officer who is authorized to perform certain legal formalities, especially to administer oaths and affirmations, certify affidavits and other documents, and take acknowledgments of instruments in writing.
The office of notary public is one of the oldest in the history of civilization. The function of the notary is to authenticate or certify certain categories of documents which are then used in transactions involving parties who are not personally known to each other. The notary provides a measure of assurance that the transaction is legitimate and that the document is what it purports to be.
The Duties of a Notary Public
A notary public is an individual commissioned by the state to witness the signing of certain types of documents and to administer oaths. The office of notary public has its roots in ancient history, when scribes used their skills to copy and preserve official documents. In the United States, all states allow individuals to become notaries public, although the requirements and duties of the office vary from state to state.
In Washington State, the duties of a notary public are set forth in Revised Code of Washington 59.18. A notary public in Washington State must:
-Be at least 18 years old;
-Be a resident of the state of Washington;
-Have no felony convictions;
-Not have had a notary commission revoked in any jurisdiction;
-Complete an approved Notary Public Education Course; and
-Pass an examination administered by the Secretary of State.
Qualifications to Become a Notary in Washington State
In order to be commissioned as a Notary Public in the state of Washington, an individual must:
Be at least 18 years of age
Be a resident of the state of Washington, or employed in the state as a full-time employee
Possess a valid ID issued by the Department of Licensing or the Department of Motor Vehicles
Successfully complete a notary public education course approved by the Secretary of State
Submit an original Certificate of Completion for the education course with the Notary Public Application
Complete and submit the Notary Public Application to the address below
Include the $40 filing fee (check or money order only, payable to the Secretary of State)
How to Apply to Become a Notary in Washington State
You must file an application with the County Auditor in the county where you reside or have a business office. The application must be accompanied by a $40 fee and a bond in the amount of $7,500. The bond must be issued by a surety company licensed to do business in Washington state.
You will also need to provide proof of your identity and age (18 or older), and residency or business location in Washington state. The following documents are accepted as proof:
-A valid driver’s license or identification card issued by Washington state, another U.S. state, Canadian province, or Mexican state
-A valid U.S. Passport
-An identification card issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing
-A tribal identification card that meets the requirements of RCW 46.20.180
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must also provide proof of your legal status in the United States, such as:
-A valid Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
-An Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
-A foreign passport with a valid visa
The Notary Commission
A notary public is an individual commissioned by the state to serve the public as an impartial witness in the taking of acknowledgments, affirmations of fact, depositions, and oaths. The notary also certifies copies of certain original documents.
You must apply for a notary commission through the Washington State Business Licensing Service.
-Be 18 years of age or older.
-Be a resident of Washington state, or maintain a valid business location in Washington state if you reside in another state or country.
-Read and write English.
-Have no felony convictions within the last 10 years. A judge may grant you a waiver if you can show that your conviction does not affect your ability to perform your duties as a notary public with honesty, integrity, and competence.
-Not have had a notary commission revoked in any jurisdiction within the last 10 years.
-Complete a notary public education course approved by the Secretary of State’s Office, unless you can show proof that you have successfully completed an equivalent course within the last 10 years. If you are renewing your commission, you are exempt from this requirement if you have completed an approved course within the last six years.
The Notary Oath
A notary public is a person commissioned by the state to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent tasks related to the signing of important documents. Notaries are also empowered to administer oaths and affirmations, take acknowledgments of deeds, protests, and other instruments allowed by law.
To become a notary public in Washington State, you must:
-Be at least 18 years old
-Be a legal resident (or maintain employment) in the state of Washington
-Be able to read and write English fluently
-Not have been convicted of a felony
-Complete a notary training course OR demonstrate to the Secretary of State that you have 2 years experience as a licensed legal professional OR are currently licensed as a lawyer or paralegal in Washington
Notary Public Records
In Washington, notaries public are commissioned by the Secretary of State. Applicants must complete a notary public education program approved by the Secretary of State, submit an application, and take an oath of office. Once commissioned, a notary public must maintain a record of all official acts in a journal and must make the journal available for public inspection during normal business hours.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Washington State, and have no felony convictions. Notaries public must purchase a surety bond in the amount of $10,000 and maintain the bond throughout their commission. The surety bond protects the public from any financial losses resulting from improper Notary acts.
Notaries public are allowed to charge a maximum fee of $10 per notarial act.
Notary Public Fees
A notary public in Washington State may charge a maximum of $6 for each notarial act. A “notarial act” includes everything from administering an oath or affirmation to witnessing or attesting a signature.
Notary Public Renewal
If you are a notary public in Washington State and your commission is expiring, you may renew your commission by completing the following steps:
1. Read the information and instructions below.
2. Complete the attached renewal application form.
3. Have your employer or another notary public complete and sign the employer verification section of the renewal application form, or enclose a letter from your employer on company letterhead verifying that you are an active employee in good standing.
4. Enclose the correct renewal fee of $40, made payable to the Department of Licensing. Fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice.
5. Submit the required items to the Notary Public Program at the address below:
Department of LicensingNotary Public ProgramPO Box 9034Olympia, WA 98507-9034
Notary Public Supplies
In order to become a notary public in Washington state, you must purchase a notary public bond and supply kit from a licensed surety company. The cost of the bond and kit will vary depending on the surety company you choose.
Once you have your bond and kit, you will need to submit an application to the Washington State Notary Commission. The application must be signed by a licensed surety company representative and must include the following:
-Your full name and contact information
-The type of notary services you plan to provide
-The county or counties in which you plan to provide notary services
-The name of the surety company that issued your notary bond
-A copy of your notary bond
-A copy of your Certificate of Completion for the 6-hour Notary Public Education Course
Notary Public Errors and Omissions Insurance
As a Notary Public in Washington State, you are held to a high standard of ethical and professional conduct. You are responsible for making sure all documents are properly signed, witnessed and notarized. You are also responsible for the safekeeping of any documents entrusted to your care. In the event that you make a mistake or a document is lost or stolen, you could be held liable. Notary Public Errors and Omissions Insurance protects you from financial losses arising from these types of incidents.
To become a Notary Public in Washington State, you must:
Be at least 18 years old
Be a resident of Washington State or have a business in Washington State
Be able to read and write English
Have no felony convictions
Submit an application to the Washington State Secretary of State’s office
Pass a written exam administered by the Secretary of State’s office
Notary Public Tips
Anyone can become a notary public in Washington State, as long as they are at least 18 years old, a resident of the state, and can read and write English. You must also have no criminal convictions that would prevent you from being bonded.
Once you have met all the requirements, you need to file an application with the Washington State Department of Licensing. The application must be notarized and you will need to pay a $40 fee. You will also need to have your fingerprints taken at an approved fingerprinting site.
After your application has been processed, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment for your notary public exam. The exam consists of 20 questions about Washington state laws governing notaries public. You must answer at least 70% of the questions correctly to pass.
Once you have passed the exam, you will be sworn in as a notary public by a judge or other official authorized by the state. You will then need to purchase a surety bond in the amount of $5,000 and submit it to the Department of Licensing.
You will also need to purchase a seal or stamp with your name, title, and commission expiration date. Washington law requires that all documents notarized by you must be stamped with your official seal.
As a notary public, you are required to keep records of all documents that you Notarize. These records must be maintained for 10 years after the date of the notarization.