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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. Buy a $5,000 surety bond. Choose a bonding company authorized to do business in Illinois and have them fill out the bond section of your Notary application.
  3. Complete the entire application to become an Illinois Notary. Use our application wizard to avoid errors.
  4. Take your oath of office. You'll need to bring your application to a Notary who will administer the oath and notarize your application.
  5. Photocopy the front and back of your driver's license or state ID card.
  6. Submit your application with a copy of your ID.
  7. Buy your Notary seal and other supplies.
  8. You will receive a notification from your county clerk to appear within 30 days or request your commission by mail.
  9. Receive and record your commission with the county clerk and pay the $5 fee if done in person or the $10 fee if done by mail.

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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 $10. The cost of your bond, seal and journal will vary based on the vendor you choose. 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.

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. The Secretary of State will forward it to your county clerk who will notify you to appear at their office to receive your commission. You can request to receive it by mail too.

How long does an Illinois Notary commission last?

The term of an Illinois Notary commission is four years.

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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 a citizen of or lawful permanent resident in the U.S.
  • Be a resident of the state of Illinois, or employed in the state and reside in a qualifying border state, for 30 days
  • Provide your date of birth
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Not be convicted of a felony
  • Not have a previous Notary commission revoked or suspended in the last 10 years

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.

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.

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:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Official Seal"
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The words "State of Illinois"
  • 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 if you charge fees for your services. It's recommended as a best practice to record all notarizations in your journal. 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.

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.

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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 $1.

What happens if I move or change my name?

If you change the county in which you reside or your name, your commission ceases to be in effect, and you'll be required to apply for a new commission to continue serving as a Notary Public.

If you move within the same county, complete the Notary Public Change of Address or Employer form and submit it to the Secretary of State.

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?

About 60 days prior to your commission expiration date, the state will mail you a notice with a new application and bond form. You must maintain your $5,000 surety bond and buy a new Notary seal with your updated commission expiration date.

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

Illinois does not allow remote online notarization (RON). However, there are 24 states that have permanent remote online notarization laws. If you're curious as to what RONs are and how they work, check out this article.

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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