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How to Become a Notary Public in Arkansas

If you would like to become an Arkansas Notary, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state's requirements (see below).
  2. Read the Arkansas Notary handbook. You may want to consider additional training or education (optional but recommended).
  3. Buy a $7,500 surety bond for your county. Your name and county must be exact matches for the following steps.
  4. Create an account on the Arkansas Secretary of State's website to take the online exam.
  5. When you pass it, you'll be able to access the application form.
  6. Complete the application form. To access the application at a later time, you'll have to re-take the exam.
  7. Print and take your form to a Notary. They will complete the affidavit on the application.
  8. Submit the application, a copy of your bond and the $20 fee to the Secretary of State's office. Processing time is 2 - 4 weeks.
  9. If your application is approved, the Secretary will issue 2 oath of commission certificates.
  10. Take both to the recorder of deeds. They will administer your oath of office and complete both certificates.
  11. Return one copy to the Secretary of State so they can issue your certificate of commission and Notary Public identification card.
  12. Buy your Notary seal.
  13. Get a Notary journal and E&O insurance (optional but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Arkansas Notary Process | AR Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Arkansas Notary Process

Here is some more information on applying for an AR Notary Public commission.

How much does it cost?

There is a $20 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors.

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?

It can take 2- 4 weeks for the Secretary of State to process your Notary application. Your oath of commission certificates will be delivered by the United States Postal System, which can take 7 - 10 business days. After that, you'll need to allow time to complete the rest of the application process.

How long does an Arkansas Notary commission last?

The term of an Arkansas Notary commission is 10 years.

Requirements to be a Notary in Arkansas

Wondering if you qualify to become a Notary in the Land of Opportunity? Read on below.

Who can become a Notary?

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

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.
  • Be a legal resident of Arkansas, or a resident of a bordering state and working in Arkansas, or a nonresident spouse of a U.S. military service member employed or operating a business in Arkansas
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Not have had a Notary commission revoked in the past 10 years
  • Never have been convicted of a felony

Permanent resident aliens must file a recorded Declaration of Domicile with their application. As of July 25, 2019, nonresident spouses of U.S. military service members employed or operating a business in Arkansas may apply for an Arkansas Notary commission. These applicants must provide certain U.S. Department of Defense papers as part of the application.

What kind of training will I need?

A training course is not required, but the Secretary of State has a free online course on its website. You can also review the Arkansas Notary Public and eNotary Handbook to prepare for the state-required exam. You'll need to demonstrate you know Arkansas Notary laws and the duties Notaries swear to uphold.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes. Passing the exam is a requirement for all Notary applicants. You must complete a 30-question multiple-choice exam to access the Notary Public application. A score of 80% or higher is required to pass.

What kind of supplies will I need?

Arkansas Notaries must have an official seal of office, which may be in the form of an inked rubber stamp or embosser that is in either blue or black ink. Your seal must contain the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The county in which your bond was filed
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The word "Arkansas"
  • Your commission expiration date
  • Your commission number issued by the Secretary of State, if any

Notary seals must not include the Seal of the State of Arkansas or an outline of the state. 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.

Though not required, state officials recommend that Arkansas Notaries keep a record of all traditional notarial acts in an official journal. 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.

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?

Arkansas Notaries are required to purchase a $7,500 10-year surety bond 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.

General Notary Public Information

Below are answers to the most common questions about being a Notary in Arkansas.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Arkansas Office of the Secretary of State, Business and Commercial Services Division, located in Little Rock, AR, issues Notary Public commissions.

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

Yes, but you must be a permanent legal resident and meet all other state requirements. In addition, you must file a recorded Declaration of Domicile with your application.

Can anyone help me become a Notary?

Yes. Several companies offer Notary training, supplies, insurance and assistance with the entire application process. Also, the Secretary of State's website has the application with submission details, if you want to get the process started on your own.

Where will I be able to notarize?

An Arkansas 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. You're prohibited from notarizing your own signature or any document in which you would gain direct or indirect financial benefit.

How much can Arkansas Notaries charge per notarial act?

Arkansas does not set a maximum fee Notaries can charge per notarization, but they allow Notaries to charge a reasonable fee. Any fees you charge must be agreed upon by the signer in advance. Remember to keep your fees reasonable as overcharging for your services can be punishable by a fine of no less than $10 per offense (ACA 21-6-309[b]) and may also be a cause for the revocation or denial of your commission (ACA 21-14-112[a][6]).

What happens if I move or change my name?

Any changes to your address, name or contact information must be reported to the Secretary of State through the online system within 30 days of the change. If you move, you'll need to update your information in your online account where you'll be able to print the completed amendment form. Submit this form to the Secretary.

If you move to a different county, or if you're an out-of-state resident whose place of employment moves to a different county, the Secretary will issue you a certificate that must be presented to the circuit clerk in your original county of commission. The circuit clerk will return your original bond, which must be filed with the circuit clerk in your new county of commission. A certified copy of the original bond is also acceptable. The Secretary will issue you a new identification card reflecting the change in county of commission, which you'll use to get a new seal.

For name changes, you'll need to complete the amendment form and submit it with a certified copy of the documentation evidencing the name change to the Secretary. You'll also need to get a new seal with your new name after the Secretary issues you a new identification card.

What is the process to renew my commission as an Arkansas Notary?

The renewal process is the same as the application process above. The earliest you can begin the renewal process is 60 days before your current commission expires.

How do I become an electronic Notary in Arkansas?

Electronic notarizations are in-person notarizations that involve digital documents and electronic signatures. AR Notaries with an active commission and are in good standing as a traditional Notary Public can register to become an electronic Notary.

To register, you must complete the online application for Electronic Notary Commission and pay the $25 application fee. You'll receive a notification of acceptance at which point you'll need to complete an approved training course provided by the Secretary of State and pass an exam. After you pass the exam, you'll need to register with an approved solution provider of your choice.

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

Effective April 29, 2021, Arkansas Notaries can register to perform remote online notarization (RON). There are additional requirements to become a remote Notary before you can provide your services remotely including taking a course, passing an exam, and acquiring a journal. Learn how you can become a remote online Notary in Arkansas in this guide.

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: Dec 5, 2023

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