Depending on the state you currently reside in becoming a notary can be a little bit tricky. In order to become a notary, all states appear to have a few of the same requirements, although some states have far stricter policies than others.
The minimal requirements of becoming a notary public are:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must be a resident of that state (but NOT a US RESIDENT)
- Have no Convictions on file (This will vary in the time frame from state to state. For example, NH requires no annulled conviction or criminal history for the last 5 years.
Who Can Become a Notary?
Provided you meet the above presented requirements there may still be further requirements as assigned by your state. Using New Hampshire as an example, and one of the more relaxed states in regards to statutes and laws, the only other requirement is a background check via the State Police Records Form.
In short, any person of legal age, with a valid proof of residence, and no criminal history is a good candidate for becoming a notary public.
How to Become a Notary
The National Notary Association offers a comprehensive checklist for every state. The basic steps to become a notary public are described below:
- Education & Research all requirements to become a notary.
1a. Take the required courses and exams
- Pay Commission fee and send the application to address outlined on NNA Checklist
- Receive Acceptance Documentation Wait for correspondence from your state with further documentation to file. This may include your index card to file with your local district court, State Police Records Check form, and Oath to return to the Attorney General.
- Purchase Notary Supplies and Accessories to get Started. The minimum required equipment seems to be an embosser with the Notaries Seal and a Rubber Stamp with the Commission expiration date.
How Much Will it Cost?
The costs associated with becoming a Notary Public vary so greatly from state to state it is impossible to give a direct price for the process. For example, the state of New Hampshire grants a five-year commission per accepted notary application. The commission fee is $75.00. California, on the other hand, offers a commission minimum or $15,000.
Basically, you’ll pay the commission fees plus any fees for the required materials and insurances. You can expect to purchase:
– Embosser Seal with State Requirements
– Rubber Stamp with State Requirements
– Notary Journal (Not required but highly recommended to save your skin against lawsuits)
– Security and Privacy Supplies such as a page protection mat and anti-fraud UV lights.
– Errors & Omissions Insurance – up to 5 years of protection.
Start-up costs will be around $500-$1000 in the more lax states and upward of $20,000 for California residents.
Things to Remember when Becoming a Notary Public
It is important to remember that the requirements of each state will differ and it is important to do your research before jumping in. There is a wealth of information on the internet and the National Notary Association to help you get started on your journey to becoming a Notary.
Knowing your scope of work, the current laws, and listening to your gut can help you develop this side hustle into a substantial side income. Notaries can freelance their services to an extent and offer services to large corporations and small businesses.
This is not a simple or quick position to obtain. It will take up to 10 weeks or more to receive your commission certificates and complete the courses. It is, however, an excellent source of side income and great [valuable] skill to add to your resume.