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How to Become a Notary Public in Hawaii

Applicants who want to become an HI Notary Public must take the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of Hawaii's eligibility requirements (see below).
  2. Complete your application online.
  3. Pay the $20 filing fee to the State Director of Finance unless you are exempt.
  4. Submit your letter of justification and character.
  5. Receive your exam date, time and place. This is usually provided within a few weeks.
  6. Pass the exam and pay the $100 commission fee.
  7. Buy your Notary seal and journal.
  8. Buy a $1,000 four-year surety bond. It must be approved by a judge of the circuit court.
  9. File a copy of your commission, an imprint of your Notary seal and a specimen of your Notary signature with the clerk of the circuit court where you reside. You will be charged a fee to file this.
  10. Get E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure (optional, but strongly recommended).
  11. Take continuing education courses and consult Notary experts if you want additional training or guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Hawaii Notary Process | HI Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Hawaii Notary Process

Have more questions about applying for a Notary Public commission in the Aloha State? We've got you covered.

How much does it cost?

The state application filing fee is $20, the fee for issuing your commission is $100 and the fee to file your commission is $6. If you are a government Notary, there is no application fee. The cost of your bond, seal, journal, and Notary Public sign will vary based on the vendor you choose.

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 six to eight weeks to become commissioned as a Hawaii Notary Public. After submitting your application and requested documents online, you'll need to wait to receive the date you're scheduled to take the exam. The state will inform you if you have passed or failed the Notary exam within 30 days.

How long does a Hawaii Notary commission last?

The term of a Hawaii Notary Public commission is four years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Hawaii

Learn the training and supply requirements for Notaries in Hawaii below.

Who can become a Notary?

There are basic qualifications for a person to become a Notary in Hawaii. All applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of Hawaii
  • Be a citizen of, national of or permanent resident alien authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Be able to read, write, speak and understand English
  • Not be addicted to, dependent on or a habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, opium, cocaine, or other drugs or derivatives of a similar nature

What kind of training will I need?

Training is not required for Hawaii Notaries. However, you may want to review the Attorney General's Notary Public Manual, which you can download online for free or order a hard copy for $5 if sent by mail or $3 if picked up in person.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes, passing an exam is required to become a Notary in Hawaii. The exam is given on Oahu at least once a month and on other islands periodically. You'll schedule your exam online, once you've created an online account.

The exam is a written, closed-book test that you must score 80% or higher to pass. Failure to take the exam as scheduled will result in various fees and penalties depending on whether and when you gave notice of your inability to appear for the exam. If you fail the exam, a fee or a delay may be imposed before you can reapply for a commission.

What kind of supplies will I need?

A Notary seal and journal are required. Your Notary seal can be either a rubber inked stamp or an embosser, but not both. The shape of the seal must be circular no larger than 2" in diameter with a serrated or milled edge border. It must contain the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • Your commission number
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The words "State of Hawaii"

Note that your commission expiration date is not allowed on your seal. However, all Hawaii Notaries are required to put their commission expiration date on all notarized documents.

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 Notary journal is also required by law, which keeps a record of your notarizations performed. The journal must be softcover and not exceed 16.5" x 11" when fully opened. 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 simply do not offer the same level of security.

Unless you are a government Notary, you will also need to display a "NOTARY PUBLIC" sign, which must be no smaller than 3" x 5".

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.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

Yes. A $1,000 four-year bond is required for Hawaii Notaries. Additionally, many also choose to purchase optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies to protect themselves from legal expenses. E&O insurance is not a requirement in Hawaii.

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General Notary Public Information

Here, you'll find general information about being a Hawaii Notary Public.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Hawaii Attorney General of the Department of Attorney General in Honolulu, HI, issues Notary Public commissions.

Although Hawaii does not require training, where can I get it?

You can find several reputable Notary Public training providers with a quick online search. It's important to note that the Department of Attorney General does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does it endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training. Since the Department doesn't have jurisdiction to take action regarding a business that offers Notary training, make sure you thoroughly review any company you plan to work with.

Can anyone help me become a Notary?

Yes. Several companies offer Notary training, supplies, insurance and assistance with the entire application process. Also, the Department of Attorney General'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?

You will be able to notarize anywhere in the state of Hawaii.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for everyone, excluding yourself. You cannot notarize your own signature, nor can you notarize documents you are named in or would benefit from. Hawaii law allows Notaries to notarize for their spouses, but the Notary must not have a personal beneficial interest.

If you perform notarizations as part of your employment, your employer may limit the notarizations you perform during your work hours.

How much can Hawaii Notaries charge for notarial acts?

Hawaii Notaries may charge $5 per notarization. Additional fees for unofficial Notary services may be charged, but they must be charged separately from the official notarial act.

What happens if I move or change my name?

Any changes to your address, name or contact information must be reported to the Attorney General within 30 days of the change. If your employer, residential or business address changes, complete the Employment Change Form or Residence Change Form and submit a $10 fee.

For name changes, complete the Name Change Form and include a copy of the legal documentation for the change, new Notary signature and $10 fee. When you receive your new commission certificate, you must return your old seal or stamp and get a new one with your new name. Your new seal or stamp must be submitted to the circuit court clerk along with a bond bearing your new name.

How much legal risk will I face?

It depends. Even the most careful and detail-oriented people can make mistakes. As a Notary Public, any unintentional mistake you make or intentional misconduct you engage in could be very costly for everyone involved. Notaries have been sued for financial damages that signers incur, and lawsuits are expensive even if you're innocent. If you are diligent in following the law and keep thorough records, you'll be better prepared if any legal action does come your way.

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

The state will send you a renewal application two months before your commission expiration date. The process to renew is the same as the initial Notary commission. You may choose to get a new record book (journal) if your old one is full.

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

Hawaii does not allow remote online notarization (RON). However, there are 24 states that do. Check out this article to learn where RON is legal and how they work.

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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