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How to Renew as a Notary

If you're interested in renewing your commission as a Notary Public, this practical guide will answer the most commonly asked questions.

What is the process to renew as a Notary Public?

While procedures differ from state to state, the general process to renew your Notary appointment includes:

  1. Complete any state-required training or testing
  2. Fill out and submit a Notary application
  3. Purchase and file your bond (and take and file your oath, where required)
  4. Take your oath of office
  5. Receive your commission from the state
  6. Order your Notary seal, journal and other supplies
  7. Begin performing Notary duties

State-Specific Notary Renewal Process

Select your state to renew your Notary commission.

How much does it cost to renew my Notary commission?

Depending on the state, the Notary renewal cost can be less than $100 or up to a few hundred dollars. The total amount will be close to what you paid to get your first commission.

Do I have to take Notary training courses or tests to renew?

It depends. Several states have education and/or testing requirements. Some of those only require training and/or testing for first-time applicants. Some states keep but reduce the requirements. California, for example, has 6-hour training for new Notary applicants and only requires 3-hours when a Notary renews their commission.

Where can I get training if my state doesn’t require it?

A number of organizations offer Notary training. You can check your Secretary of State’s website if it has a list of education providers, or look up “Notary education” using your preferred search tool.

What kind of supplies will I need?

You will likely need a new Notary seal. You can continue using the same Notary journal you had with your previous commission.

Will I need a Notary bond or insurance?

If your state requires a surety bond, you will need to purchase a new bond for your new commission. Depending on the state, the bond amount can be as little as $500 or as much as $25,000.

The cost to buy your bond is a small fraction of the total bond amount. If a claim is paid out, you would be responsible for repaying the bond company. That’s why it’s generally a good idea to have an optional Notary errors and omissions insurance policy to protect yourself if you make notarization mistakes.

How long does it take to renew as a Notary?

The time it takes to renew your commission varies greatly from state to state. Some states can process renewal applications in a matter of days or weeks. Others can take up to six months or longer.

Any number of factors can impact the renewal process, including agency staff levels, application volume, budget cuts and how many steps you have to go through. So it’s a good idea to check with your state’s commissioning authority several months before your current commission expires to find out what you need to do and when.

What happens if my Notary commission expires before my new one is ready?

First, you will not be able to notarize documents until your new commission takes effect. In most states, the renewal process is similar to -- if not the same as -- what it was for your first commission. Some states require training and passing a test if you wait too long to renew and would have a gap between your commission expiration and renewal dates.

Can anyone help me with the process?

Yes, several organizations including the NNA can help you navigate the renewal process.

Where can I go if I have more questions?

You should start with your state commissioning authority, typically the Secretary of State's Office. They should be able to answer your questions. If you'd like help from the NNA, please reach out to our Customer Care Team at 800-876-6827.

Are you ready to get started?

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