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How to Become a Notary Public in Massachusetts

If you want to become a Massachusetts Notary Public, complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of Massachusetts's eligibility requirements (see below).
  2. Complete the application. Attach an up-to-date resume and a business card (if you have one). Do not include the fee in this step.
  3. Get your application notarized by a Notary Public and endorsed by four MA residents, one of whom must be an MA attorney in good standing.
  4. Pay the $60 commission fee upon notice from the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  5. Buy your Notary seal and journal.
  6. Get E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure (optional, but strongly recommended).
  7. Take continuing education and consult Notary experts if you believe you need additional training or guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Massachusetts Notary Process | MA Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Massachusetts Notary Process

Learn how much it cost and how long it takes to become an MA Notary Public.

How much does it cost?

The state commission fee is $60. The cost of your seal and journal 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?

The Governor's office and the Secretary of the Commonwealth estimate a processing time of up to 18 days.

How long does a Massachusetts Notary commission last?

The term of a Massachusetts Notary Public commission is seven years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Massachusetts

Find out how you can qualify for a Notary commission in the Bay State.

Who can become a Notary?

There are basic qualifications for a person to become a Notary in Massachusetts. Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a legal resident of or regularly conduct business in Massachusetts

Is there training or an exam required for Massachusetts Notaries?

No training or exam is required for Massachusetts Notaries, but you're required to read Chapter 222 of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 289 of the Acts of 2016. On the application, you'll be required to sign under penalty of perjury that you have read the chapter and agree to comply with all of its terms.

What kind of supplies will I need?

You'll need a Notary seal and journal for every notarization you perform. The Notary seal may either be a black-inked stamp or embosser, but must contain the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The words "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" or "Massachusetts"
  • The words "My commission expires _____ (date)"
  • The Great Seal of Commonwealth of Massachusetts

You may get a separate stamp with your expiration date, but it would need to be used with the Notary seal.

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 second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced, and an embosser can help add an additional layer of fraud prevention security.

A Notary journal is also required by law to keep a record of your notarizations. 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 do not offer the same level of security.

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?

No. A bond is not required for Massachusetts Notaries, but many 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 Massachusetts.

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General Notary Public Information

Have more questions about being a Massachusetts Notary? We have your answers.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Governor appoints Notaries Public while the Secretary of the Commonwealth, located in Boston, MA, maintains records of Notaries and authenticates their acts.

Although Massachusetts 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 Secretary of the Commonwealth does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does the Secretary endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training. Since the Secretary of the Commonwealth 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 Secretary of the Commonwealth'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 Massachusetts.

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. Massachusetts law prohibits you from notarizing for a spouse, domestic partner, parent, guardian, child or sibling, including in-laws, step relatives or half relatives. If you perform notarizations as part of your employment, your employer may limit the notarizations you perform during your work hours.

How much can Massachusetts Notaries charge per notarial act?

While Massachusetts does not set a maximum fee Notaries can charge, keep your notarial fees reasonable. As a best practice, inform signers of your fees ahead of the notarization to avoid any confusion. Excessive charges could result in complaints to the Governor's Council.

What happens if I move or change my name?

You must report any changes to your address or name to the Secretary of the Commonwealth within 10 days of the change. You must provide a signed notice of the change, including both the old and new information.

For name changes, you may continue to perform notarizations under your former name until your commission expires.

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 Massachusetts Notary?

You'll receive a renewal application five weeks before your commission expires. Renewal applications are not available online.

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

Massachusetts does not allow remote online notarization (RON), but there are 25 states that do. Check out this article on what you need to know about RON and how it works compared to electronic notarizations.

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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