A notary public is someone who acts as a witness to the identity of a person who needs to get an official document signed. Notary publics must be commissioned or licensed in their county of residence, but they have statewide jurisdiction so they can notarize within any county in their state.
Ready to become a California notary? First you’ll need to get your California Notary Public License and California Notary Bond.
How to Become a California Notary Public
Step #1: Meet Initial Requirements and Know What is Expected
- Must be 18 years or older
- Must be a California Resident
- Must complete a course of study approved by the Secretary of State
- Must finish and pass the California Notary Exam given by the Secretary of State (Exam and Duty Preparation)
- Must pass a background check and be fingerprinted
- Must not have committed any felonies within the last 10 years of finishing probation
- Must comply with family or child support orders. Being non-compliant after you receive your commission will get your commission suspended or revoked.
For a complete list of qualification guidelines, check out the California Secretary of State qualifications page.
Step #2: Complete the California Notary Public Application
Step #3: Complete the Check List
Step #4: Submit fingerprints
Before submitting fingerprints via Live Scan, you must first take and pass the notary public exam. Applicants who fail the exam will not be required to have their fingerprints taken until passing the exam. The fingerprint scan is done so the department can run a background check.
Here are Live Scan Business Hours and Locations.
Take with you to the live scan the following:
- A completed Request for Live Scan Service
- A current photo identification
- Once you have the scan, the Department of Justice will receive your fingerprints electronically.
If you have a prior conviction, you still might be able to be approved for your commission. Learn more here.
Step #4: Await a Decision from the Secretary of State
Upon acceptance and clearance of your background check, the Secretary of State will mail you the notary public commission packet. You will receive in your packet:
- A cover letter with instructions
- Filing instructions
- A notary public commission certificate
- Two Notary Public Oath and Certificate of Filing forms
- A Certificate of Authorization to Manufacture Notary Public Seals
- A list of Authorized Manufacturers of Notary Public Seals
Step #5: Purchase a $15,000 California Notary Bond
Once you have received the notary public packet, you must purchase a California Notary Bond. A Notary Bond serves as a guarantee of a notary’s faithful performance of duty. The bond is mandated by law and protects customers from loss as a result of your negligence or misconduct.
The bond amount is set at $15,000.
The actual price you'll pay for your bond is a small percentage of the bond amount.
Most people pay around $40-50 to get their bond.
Surety Solutions, A Gallagher Company does not issue Notary Bonds
Step #6: Purchase Notary Public Journal and Seal
Select a professional, high-quality notary supplier like the Anchor Rubber Stamp. Anchor Rubber Stamp specializes in notary supplies (California) such as notary journals, notary seals, notary stamps and notary products of all types. Purchase all your notary supplies at: https://www.anchorstamp.com/
Step #7: File Notary Public Oath and Notary Bond
Notary publics are required to file a notary public oath and California Notary Bond with the county clerk’s office within 30 days of the commencement date of the commission. Although you can mail these items, it is recommended that you submit the oath and notary bond in person to ensure no setbacks in the process.
Questions? Visit the California Notary FAQ page.