How to Become a Notary
Take the notary education course. A first time applicant for a notary commission must submit proof that the applicant has, within one year prior to the application, completed at least three hours of interactive or classroom instruction. The Department of State’s Notary Education Program satisfies this requirement, and can be taken online, free of charge, at http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us. A list of other can be found at approved education providers.
If you are renewing your notary commission, you may proceed directly to the next step.
Contact a bonding agency. After successfully completing an education course, you must contact one of the bonding agencies that are approved to operate in Florida. Most of these companies provide “one-stop-shopping.” You make one payment to the company and they provide the application, pay the state fees, write your notary bond, and supply your notary seal. The bonding agencies provide the surety bond that is required for notaries public to obtain a commission. (Note that the bond is designed to protect the public against notarial misconduct or negligence, not the notary.) You can find a list of the approved bonding agencies.
We recommend that you check with several companies to compare services and prices. The state fees of $39 are fixed by law, but the bond premium and the notary seal are competitively priced. Please note that the State does not give out applications or provide notary seals.
Complete the application. Provide all of the information requested on the application form, which will be provided to you by the bonding agency you choose. If there is any information missing, your application will be returned to the bonding agency until all necessary materials have been submitted. If you have been convicted of a felony, had adjudication withheld, or are on probation, you must submit the following documents:
- A written statement regarding the nature and circumstances of the charges;
- A copy of the Judgment and Sentencing Order; and,
- If convicted, a copy of the Certification of Restoration of Civil Rights (or pardon). The name of this document may vary depending on the state where the conviction occurred.
Submit the application through your bonding agency. Once your application has been fully completed, you must submit your application to your bonding agency. They will forward your application to the State for review. To check the status of your application, please contact your bonding agency.
If your application is approved, you will receive your commission certificate and notary seal from your bonding agency. Please confirm that the information on the seal and certificate are correct; if so, you may proceed to perform your duties as notary public. If there is any error, please contact your bonding agency for assistance.
If you possess a notary seal from your current commission, please use your current seal until the commission expires. You may not use your new notary seal until the first day of your new commission. Destroy your old seal to prevent its misuse.
The decision to appoint a Florida notary public is a matter within the sole discretion of the Governor, and is not subject to subsequent review. We encourage applicants who were denied a notary public commission to re-submit an application one year after the date the application was signed.
When re-applying, you are welcome to provide any supplemental materials that demonstrate your fitness to serve in public office as a notary, such as letters of recommendation from professional contacts, but are not required to do so.