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How to Become a Notary Public in Maine

If you want to become a Notary in Maine, complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state's qualifications (see below).
  2. Complete the application which includes the open-book exam.
  3. Submit your application.
  4. Include $50 commission fee payable to: Treasurer, State of Maine.
  5. Receive your Certificate of Office and Certificate of Qualification in the mail from the state.
  6. Within 30 days of receipt, appear before a Dedimus Justice for your Oath of Office.
  7. Within 45 days return the completed certificate to the Secretary of State.
  8. Buy a Notary journal.
  9. Buy a Notary seal and get E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  10. Take continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Maine Notary Process | ME Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Maine Notary Process

Here is some more information about the process of becoming an ME Notary Public.

Where can I find a Dedimus Justice?

Dedimus Justices can be located on the Secretary of State's website or in the "Maine Register" in most town offices and libraries.

How much does it cost?

There is a $50 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for bonds, Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors.

Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more how-to assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees — processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

How long does it take?

It can take four to six weeks to become commissioned as a Notary Public in Maine. This depends on your availability and the time the Secretary of State needs to process your application and send you the required documents.

How long does a Maine Notary commission last?

The term of a Maine Notary commission is seven years.

Requirements to be a Notary in Maine

Wondering what it takes to be a Notary in the Pine Tree State? Read on below.

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in Maine must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of Maine or have a place of employment or practice in Maine
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English
  • Not have had a Notary commission revoked or suspended for official misconduct in Maine or any other jurisdiction in the past five years prior to application
  • Not have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more, or of a lesser offense incompatible with the duties of a Notary, in the past 10 years prior to application

What kind of training will I need?

A training course is not required to apply for a Maine Notary commission. However, the training course covers what will be on the exam. The Secretary of State offers an optional training course. Other vendors, including the NNA, offers a course to help you prep for the exam.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes, anyone applying for a Notary commission in Maine is required to pass an exam. The open-book test is included on the application form.

What kind of supplies will I need?

Though not required by law, Maine Notaries may choose to use a rubber stamp inking seal or an embosser for all paper notarial acts. The following information must be on the seal:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The phrase "State of Maine" or "Maine"
  • Your commission expiration date

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging. A second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced, and an embosser can help add an additional layer of fraud prevention security.

Effective July 1, 2023, an official Notary stamp is required on all electronic records.

When purchasing a journal, there are a few important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you're ever named in a lawsuit. Simple notebooks or glue-bound journals are not acceptable in Maine.

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal — they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

As a Maine Notary, you are not required to purchase a surety bond to protect signers against financial damages resulting from your negligence or misconduct. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that you will fulfill your obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This specifically protects the public and not you. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover any signer's losses and must be paid back to the surety company by you.

You can insure yourself against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Though not required by law, an E&O policy would cover your legal fees and damages, up to the amount of the policy.

General Notary Public Information

Have more questions about being an ME Notary? We have your answers.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State, Notary Public Section, located in Augusta, ME, is responsible for issuing Notary Public commissions.

Can Maine Notaries perform weddings?

Maine enacted a new law where Notaries are not authorized to perform marriages as a Notarial act, however, the state automatically issues a wedding officiant license unless they chose to opt out.

Maine Notaries are required to keep a record of any marriages they perform. The Secretary of State also strongly recommends that Notaries maintain a record of all notarial acts in a bound, consecutively numbered journal. However, Notarial officers are required to maintain a journal for all electronic and remote notarizations.

May I become a Maine Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become a Maine Notary Public. You must, however, meet all other application requirements.

Where will I be able to notarize?

A Maine Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state's borders.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization, excluding yourself, your in-laws, and step or half relatives. You may not notarize any documents in which you have a financial gain or beneficial interest. Unless you're solemnizing a marriage, you're prohibited from notarizing for a spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, spouse's parent, spouse's sibling, spouse's child or child's spouse.

How much can Maine Notaries charge for their services?

Maine Notaries may charge a reasonable fee per notarial act. The state strongly recommends informing signers of your fees in advance to avoid any confusion.

What should I do if I move or change my name?

You must report any changes to your address or name to the Secretary of State within 30 days of the change. You can update your information at any time free of charge through the Secretary of State's website.

For name changes, you'll need to provide a copy of the documentation evidencing the name of change (marriage license, divorce decree or probate court document). A new Certificate of Office is generally not issued, but you may request one by submitting a copy of your current Certificate of Office with your written request. If you use an ink seal or embosser, you must replace it with a new one bearing your new name.

What is the process to renew my commission as a Maine Notary?

Before starting the renewal process, be sure you still meet the qualifications to become a Notary. You'll need to complete the online renewal process available on the Secretary of State's website, including a 30-question exam and pay the $50 renewal application fee.

Once the process is complete, you will be provided with the Certificate of Qualification and additional instructions to download. You must (a) have the municipal clerk or registrar of voters validate the application for residency, (b) have the form notarized, (c) appear before a Dedimus Justice to take the oath of office, and (d) return the application and Certificate of Qualification (oath of office) to the Secretary of State's office by the deadline.

What do I need to know about remote online notarization in Maine?

Permanent remote online notarization (RON) laws took effect in Maine in 2023. Here's a step-by-step guide on becoming a remote online Notary in Maine.

If you're not quite ready yet, we have additional resources where you can learn what a Notary is, what they do and why you should become a commissioned Notary.

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Last updated: May 15, 2024

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