How To Work as a Public Notary

A public notary is someone who attests to the authenticity of a signature on many different types of documents.  This is instrumental in ensuring that the person signing such a document is indeed the individual who should be and is doing so of their own free will.  

A public notary is, in essence, someone who ensures the legality of signed documents in the event there is a dispute.  For their services, a notary will generally receive a fee that is set by the state.

In order to become a notary , a candidate must follow a list of steps for application and bonding.  Outlined below are general steps on how to become a notary, though some states' requirements may differ slightly.

  1. Age and residency requirements:  In order to become a notary public, a person must be at least 18 years of age and have permanent and physical residence in the state for which they would like to become a notary.
  2. Download and complete an application:  Visit either the webpage for the state in which you are applying or the National Notary Association's website for an application.  Complete the application and submit to your state.  Before submitting your application, research your state's requirements for becoming a notary public to ensure that you are qualified.
  3. Get a bond:  A Public Notary must be bondable.  Bonding requirements are set forth by the state in which you are applying to become a notary.  Make sure that you can obtain a bond before applying for a notary commission.  Many insurance agencies can assist with getting a bond within your state's requirements.
  4. Take your oath:  After being notified of your application acceptance, you must take an oath in front of a public notary.
  5. Purchase your seal and business cards:  Being a notary means that you can offer your services to a number of businesses in one of the many industries that require such work, including banks, lawyers and insurance companies.  You will be required to pay taxes on the fees you receive, but will not be subjected to self employment taxes.

Becoming a public notary is a great way to supplement your income.  Also know that a notary can perform some civil services, like marriage, in certain states; this has the potential to increase your earnings.  Don't forget to reapply, as a notary public does have a fixed term and must periodically renew his appointment to continue serving.


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