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How to Renew as a Notary

If you are interested in renewing your Notary Public appointment/commission, this practical guide will answer many common questions.

What is the process to renew as a Notary Public?

While procedures differ from state to state, the general process to renew your Notary appointment includes:

  1. Complete any state-required training or testing
  2. Fill out and submit a Notary application
  3. Purchase and file your bond (and take and file your oath, where required)
  4. Receive your commission
  5. Order your Notary seal and supplies
  6. Begin performing Notary duties

How much does it cost to renew my Notary commission?

Depending on the state, the cost can be less than $100 or as much as several hundred dollars. The total amount will be close to what you paid to get your first commission.

Do I have to take any courses to renew?

It depends. Several states have education and/or testing requirements. Some of those only require training and testing for first-time applicants.

Where can I get training if my state doesn’t require it?

A number of organizations offer Notary training. You can check with your Secretary of State’s office to see if it has a list of education vendors, or do an online search for “Notary education.”

What kind of supplies will I need?

You will likely need a new Notary seal. You can continue using the same Notary journal you had with your previous commission.

Will I need a bond or insurance?

If your state requires a surety bond, you will need to purchase a new bond for your new commission. The bond protects consumers who may be harmed by a mistake or misconduct on the part of the Notary by paying damages up to the amount of the bond. Depending on the state, the bond can be as little as $500 or as much as $25,000. If a claim is paid out, you would be responsible for repaying the bond company. That’s why it’s generally a good idea to also maintain an optional Notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. An E&O policy protects you against errors you make in performing notarizations.

How long does it take?

The time it takes to renew your commission varies greatly from state to state. Some states can process renewal applications in a matter of days or weeks. Others can take up to six months or longer. Any number of factors can affect how long it takes to renew, including agency staff levels, application volume, budget cuts and how many steps you have to go through. So it’s a good idea to check with your state’s commissioning authority well in advance of the expiration of your current commission.

When should I begin my renewal process?

The renewal process varies greatly from state to state, so it’s always a good idea to start thinking about it at least six months prior to the expiration of your current commission. You can check with your state’s commissioning authority to find out what you need to do and when.

What happens if I have breaks in my appointment/commission?

First, you will not be able to notarize documents until your new commission takes effect. In most states, the renewal process is the same as it is for your first commission. Some states require first-time Notary applicants to go through a training course and/or pass a test. In some of those states you might have to attend training and pass a test if you wait too long to renew. A typical grace period might last up to a year.

Can anyone help me with the process?

Yes, there are organizations that can help you navigate the renewal process. You can check on your commissioning agency’s website or do an Internet search.

Where can I go if I have more questions?

You should start with your state commissioning authority. They should be able to answer your questions. We are another good resource. You can reach out to our Customer Care Team at 800-876-6827.

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