How to Become a Notary in Ohio

A notary public is a person who is appointed by the state to serve as an impartial witness to the signing of documents. If you’re interested in becoming a notary public in Ohio, here’s what you need to know.

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Anyone who is a resident of Ohio and over the age of 18 can become a notary public. You must be of good moral character and have no felony convictions. You must also complete a six-hour training course and pass a written exam.

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is 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-preventive acts related to the signing of important documents. These acts are often referred to as notarizations, or notarial acts. Notaries are commissioned for a period of four years in Ohio.

Notaries prevent fraud by ensuring that signers of documents are who they say they are, and that they understand the contents of those documents. The primary duty of a Notary is to administer oaths and affirmations. An oath is a solemn declaration made under penalty of perjury that the statements contained therein are true. An affirmation is similar to an oath but does not require the signer to swear to the truthfulness of his or her statements — only to affirm them as true under penalty of perjury. Notaries also take signatures, apply stamps and seals called “notarial seals,” and sometimes certify copies of certain types of documents.

The Notary Public Commission

The Notary Public Commission is the first step to becoming a notary in Ohio. The Secretary of State’s office grants this commission to those who meet the qualifications and submit a completed application. The commission is valid for four years.

To qualify, you must:
-Be at least 18 years old
-Be a resident of Ohio, or an employee of the state who works in Ohio
-Complete a six-hour notary public education course approved by the Secretary of State’s office
-Submit a completed Notary Public Application, which includes:
*An affidavit of character witness forms
*A certificate of completion for the required education course
*A $50 filing fee

You will also need to pass a criminal background check and have your fingerprints taken at a law enforcement agency.


In order to become a notary in Ohio, you must meet the following qualifications:
-Be a resident of Ohio or a resident of a bordering state with a valid driver’s license or state ID
-Be at least 18 years old
-Complete a notary training course approved by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office
-Pass a written exam administered by the Secretary of State’s office
-Submit an application to the Secretary of State’s office
-Pay a $75 fee

If you meet the qualifications listed above, you can begin the process of becoming a notary in Ohio. The first step is to complete a notary training course. You can find a list of approved courses on the Secretary of State’s website. Once you have completed the course, you will need to pass a written exam administered by the Secretary of State’s office. After you have passed the exam, you will need to submit an application to the Secretary of State’s office along with a $75 fee.

Applying for a Notary Public Commission

Applying for a notary public commission in Ohio is a two-step process. First, you must pass an exam administered by the Ohio Department of Insurance. Second, you must submit a completed application to the department.

You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Ohio to apply for a notary public commission. You must also have no felony convictions.

The examination consists of 25 multiple-choice questions about Ohio notary laws and procedures. You must score at least 80% on the exam to pass.

The exam is offered in English and Spanish. It is given on computers at testing locations around the state.

To find a testing location, date and time that works for you, visit the Ohio Department of Insurance website or call (614) 466-4143.

Taking the Oath of Office

After you receive your commission certificate from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, you must take the Oath of Office before a current Notary Public or other individual authorized by law to administer oaths. The person administering the oath will likely ask to see your commission certificate and identification. After taking the Oath of Office, that person will sign the section on the certificate labeled “Oath of Notary” and return the original certificate to you.

Recording the Commission

After you have completed the requirements for becoming a notary in Ohio, you must record your commission with the county recorder in the county where you reside or maintain a principal place of business. The commission must be recorded within 30 days of the date on which it was issued.

Notary Public Duties

A notary public is an impartial witness who upholds the law by certifying documents and administering oaths. In Ohio, there are three types of notaries:
-A general notary can certify signatures on documents, take acknowledgments, administer oaths and affirmations, and take depositions.
-A judicial notary can certify signatures on documents and take acknowledge-ments.
-A trade notary can certify signatures on shipping documents only.
The duties of a notary are governed by the Revised Code of Ohio and the Ohio Notary Commission.

Notarizing Documents

In order to notarize a document, the signer must appear before the notary public and declare that the document is his or hers and that he or she signed it willingly. The notary public will then sign and stamp the document.

There are certain types of documents that cannot be notarized. These include wills, trusts, birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses. In addition, a notary public cannot provide legal advice or prepare legal documents.

Notary Public Fees

A notary public in Ohio must charge a fee of at least $6 for each notarization, which must be clearly posted in the notary public’s office. The notary public may charge more than the minimum fee, but may not charge less.

Notary Public Records

In Ohio, a notary must keep a journal of all official acts and keep it in the notary’s possession at all times while the notary’s commission is active. The journal must be available for public inspection during business hours. If a notary leaves office before the end of the notary’s 4-year commission, the journal must be delivered to the new notary.

Notary Public Expiration and Renewal

To renew your notary public commission in Ohio, you must complete a notary public education program approved by the Secretary of State’s office. The program must be completed within 90 days prior to the expiration of your current commission.

You will need to submit the following items to our office:
-A completed Notary Public Renewal Application
-The $50 renewal fee
-Proof of completion of an approved notary public education program

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