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How to Become a Notary Public in Illinois

To become a Notary in Illinois, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements in Illinois (see below).
  2. Read the Illinois Notary Public Handbook and Illinois Notary Laws.
  3. Take a Notary training class and pass an exam (requirement starts on 1/1/24).
  4. Fill out the top portion of the application to become an Illinois Notary
  5. Take your oath of office. You'll need to work with a currently commissioned Illinois Notary for this step.
  6. Buy a $5,000* surety bond. Choose a bonding company authorized to do business in Illinois and have them complete the bond section of your Notary application.
  7. Photocopy the front and back of your driver's license or state ID card.
  8. Submit your application with a copy of your ID, and the $15 application fee.
  9. Receive your commission from the state.
  10. Buy your Notary seal, journal and other supplies.
*The application form includes a yes-or-no question about your intention to provide remote notarization services. If you choose yes, the bond amount is $30,000.

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In This Guide: Illinois Notary Process | IL Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Illinois Notary Process

Learn the cost and length of an IL Notary Public commission below.

How much does it cost?

The filing fee for an Illinois Notary application is $15. The cost of your bond, seal and journal will vary based on the services you provide to the public and the vendor you choose to buy your supplies from. Be sure to check the fine print and product quality before buying your supplies. Some vendors may package items with additional or hidden fees — processing fees for example.

Starting on January 1, 2024, there are some additional expenses to consider including the 3-hour state-required Notary class, exam and journal. New Notaries may need more assistance than experienced Notaries. Training courses, books and live expert assistance are often must-haves for new Notaries who are learning how to perform their duties.

How long does it take to become a Notary in Illinois?

It can take five to eight weeks for the state to issue your Notary commission.

How long does an Illinois Notary commission last?

The term of an Illinois Notary commission is four years.

Requirements to be a Notary in Illinois

Wondering if you have what it takes to become a Notary in the Prairie State? Read on below.

Who can become a Notary?

There are several qualifications for a person to become an Illinois Notary. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen of or lawful permanent resident in the U.S.
  • Live or work in Illinois for a minimum of 30 days prior to applying
  • Be able to read and write in English
  • Not be convicted of a felony
  • Not have a previous Notary commission revoked

What kind of training will I need?

Training is not required for Illinois Notaries but, as with anything new and unfamiliar, it's a good idea to take a course that will help you fully understand how to properly perform your important duties.

Effective January 1, 2024, anyone applying for commission in Illinois is required to take a 3-hour Notary Training Course. You'll be required to submit a proof of completion certificate.

Do I need to take a Notary exam in Illinois?

No, applicants do not need to take an exam to become a Notary Public in Illinois.

Effective January 1, 2024, anyone applying for commission in Illinois is required to pass a 50-question exam with a score of at least 85%.

What kind of supplies will I need?

In Illinois, Notaries are required to use a Notary seal stamp. The seal should be in a rectangular form no larger than 1" in height by 2.5" in length with a serrated or milled edge border. The following information should be within the border:

  • The words "Official Seal"
  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public, State of Illinois"
  • The words "Commission No. _________(your number)"
  • The words "My Commission Expires _______ (date)"

Stamps should not bleed during or after use. Ask the vendor you choose about product guarantees because quality and durability can vary greatly.

A Notary journal or record book is required. It's recommended as a best practice to record all notarizations in your journal. The journal may be paper or electronic, and more than one journal may be used. When you're deciding which journal to buy, look for security features like tamper-proof sewn binding.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

Notaries in Illinois are required by law to purchase a $5,000 four-year surety bond from a company qualified to write bonds in the state. A bond is not insurance. A bond is a financial guarantee from a bonding company to those who rely on a Notary and experience financial damages because a Notary intentionally or unintentionally violated a law. If damages are paid out from the bond, you will need to repay your surety company.

Notaries in Illinois who perform remote notarization will need a $30,000 four-year surety bond from a company qualified to write bonds in the state.

Since a surety bond does not protect the Notary, many Notaries 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 Illinois.

General Notary Public Information

Below, we answer the most common questions about being an Illinois Notary Public.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Illinois Secretary of State, located in Springfield, IL, issues Notary Public commissions.

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

You can find several Notary Public training options online, including the NNA's Notary Essentials course. Online training can be convenient and can do an excellent job of preparing you for your new responsibilities. It's important to thoroughly review any company you plan to work with, as some have courses developed by on-staff Notary experts and some simply consist of information pulled from other, more authoritative, sources.

Where will I be able to notarize?

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

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize documents for everyone who presents acceptable identification, excluding yourself.

Illinois law doesn't specifically prohibit notarizing for family members, but you can't notarize documents you are named in or would benefit from. You can't notarize for someone you know is adjudged mentally ill or for a blind person unless you read the document to them. You can't notarize for people who don't understand English unless the document being notarized is translated into a language they do understand.

What fees can Illinois Notaries charge per notarization?

Illinois sets the maximum fee Notaries can charge per notarial act at $5.

What happens if I move or change my name?

If you change your name, email address or if you move to a new place within the same county, complete the Notary Public Change of Address or Employer form and submit it to the Secretary of State within 30 days.

If you change the county in which you reside you'll need to apply for a new commission to continue serving as a Notary Public.

What are the most common errors made by Notaries?

Failing to properly identify a person, failing to administer an oath or affirmation, and failing to affix the Notary seal are the most common oversights made by both new and experienced Notaries.

How much legal risk will I face?

It depends. Even the most careful and detail-oriented people can make mistakes. As a Notary Public, you handle documents that are central to important transactions. Any mistake you make or misconduct you engage in could be very costly for everyone involved. But you can be sued even if you've done nothing wrong, and lawsuits can be expensive. If you are diligent in following the law and keep thorough records, you'll be better prepared for any legal action that comes your way.

How do I renew my Notary commission in Illinois?

Prior to your commission expiration date, the state will mail you a notice with a new application and bond form. You must maintain your surety bond and buy a new Notary seal with your updated commission expiration date. It's strongly recommended that you begin the process 30 to 60 days ahead of time to avoid gaps in your commission.

How can I become an electronic Notary?

While the new laws took effect June 5, 2023, you won't be able to apply for an Electronic Notary Public commission until the Secretary creates an application process, the training, an exam, and approves notarization technology providers. The rules say that this will happen on January 1, 2024. We'll also update this information as we learn more.

You'll need to buy a $25,000 surety bond, take the required course, pass an exam, and purchase your digital Notary supplies like your eSeal and digital certificate.

Notaries may buy a single bond in the amount of $30,000 to satisfy the $5,000 bond requirement for traditional notarizations and the $25,000 bond requirement for electronic notarizations.

What do I need to know about remote notarization in Illinois?

Illinois Notaries with an active commission may perform remote notarization on tangible documents. While there's no formal registration process, we'll provide a guide soon that will detail what you need to know about electronic and remote notarization in Illinois.

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: July 7, 2023

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