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How to Become a Notary Public in Alabama

The probate judges of each Alabama county set application rules and procedures for the commissioning of Notaries. Here are step-by-step instructions for Alabama residents who are interested in becoming a Notary Public:

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state's qualifications (see below).
  2. Complete an application form.
  3. Get a $25,000 surety bond.
  4. Submit your application and bond for approval by the county probate judge. They may charge a $10 fee.
  5. The county will send your commission information to the Secretary of State.
  6. Buy your Notary seal (inking stamp or embosser).
  7. Get a Notary journal and E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  8. Take continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Alabama Notary Process | AL Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Alabama Notary Process

Here is more information on the application process for an AL Notary Public commission.

How much does it cost?

There is a $10 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for bonds, Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors. There are county fees for filing your bond, signature and commission.

The cost of commissioning can differ depending on whether you are a new or renewing Notary. 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?

The Alabama Department of State recommends allowing four to six weeks for the processing of a Notary Public commission application.

How long does an Alabama Notary commission last?

The term of an Alabama Notary commission is four years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Alabama

Learn how you can qualify to become a Notary in the Yellowhammer State.

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in Alabama must meet the following requirements:

  • Possess all legal requirements to be an officer in the state
  • Be a resident of the county of application
  • Not have been convicted of a felony unless your civil and political rights have been restored

A resident of another U.S. state, who works in Alabama, may not apply for an AL Notary commission.

What kind of training will I need?

Whether an applicant for a Notary appointment must pass a qualifying course is at the discretion of the appointing county probate judge. (NOTE: For self-education, video highlights of the Alabama Secretary of State's 2009 and 2010 Notary Public Conferences — including a session on "Notary Best Practices" by National Notary Association executive and expert William Anderson — are available to all on the Secretary's website. Conference presentation slides and other materials may be downloaded as well.)

Do I need to take an exam?

There is no state-proctored exam required in Alabama, though an appointing judge may ask a Notary to pass a test at the judge's discretion.

What kind of supplies will I need?

Alabama Notaries must use a rubber stamp ink seal or an embosser for all notarial acts for paper documents. The seal may be in a square design at 2" x 2" or in a circular design no smaller than 1" in diameter and must include the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The word "Alabama"
  • The words "State at Large"

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.

Though no longer required by law, every Alabama Notary may keep a permanently bound journal of his or her notarial acts containing numbered pages. When purchasing a journal, there are features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with 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 Alabama.

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 why do I need one?

Alabama Notaries are required to purchase a $25,000 surety bond from an authorized company to protect signers against financial damages resulting from the Notary's negligence or misconduct. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that the Notary will fulfill their obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public and not the Notary. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover any signer's losses and must be paid back to the surety company by you.

Notaries can insure themselves 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 covers a Notary's legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy.

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General Notary Public Information

Have more questions about being a Notary in Alabama? Read on below.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Alabama Office of Secretary of State, Administrative Services, located in Montgomery, AL, holds all records of Notaries Public that are available to be viewed by the general public. However, the county probate judges appoint and commission Notaries.

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

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become an Alabama Notary Public. You must, however, be a legal resident of the state and meet all other application requirements.

Where will I be able to notarize?

An Alabama 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. The law does not prohibit Notaries from notarizing the signature of their relatives or spouse, but it's a best practice to refrain from such transactions to eliminate any conflicts of interest.

What fees can Alabama Notaries charge for their services?

In Alabama, Notaries are authorized to charge $5 per notarial act.

What happens if I move or change my name?

There are no statutory requirements for the county probate judge to amend or issue you a new commission should you change counties or your name. However, you may apply for a new commission to reflect the change in address and/or name.

How do I renew my Alabama Notary commission?

The commission renewal process may vary depending on your county. Check with your county probate judge to learn how you can renew your Notary Public term.

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

Alabama does not allow remote online notarization (RON), but there are 24 states that do have permanent RON laws. If you’re curious about how RONs work, check out this article that covers the basics of remote notarizations.

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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