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How to Become a Notary Public in Montana

If you want to apply to become a Montana Notary, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state's requirements (see below).
  2. Complete four hours of Notary training approved by the Secretary of State or the commission of continuing legal education. A certificate of completion will be available to download after each course.
  3. Take and pass the Montana Notary Exam online. An exam certificate will be available to download.
  4. Get a $25,000 surety bond.
  5. Take your bond form to a Notary. They will administer your oath of office and notarize your signature. Make sure your name and signature on the bond and application are an exact match.
  6. Log in to the Secretary of State's Online Notary Portal to complete the Montana Notary Public Online Application.
  7. You'll need to upload your training certificates of completion, exam certificate and notarized surety bond form with your oath of office as well as payment for the non-refundable $25 filing fee.
  8. Receive approval via email and download your commission certificate online.
  9. Buy your Notary seal and journal.
  10. Get E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Montana Notary Process | MT Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Montana Notary Process

Here is more information about applying for an MT Notary Public commission.

How much does it cost?

There is a $25 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. The exam is free. Additional costs for your surety bond and Notary supplies vary depending on the vendor(s) you choose to work with.

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.

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

It will take four hours to fulfill the Notary education requirement, one hour to take the exam, a couple of hours to get your bond and an hour to submit the application form. The Secretary of State's Office knows there are a lot of steps to complete and recommends planning for more than a few days to get everything done.

Once you pass the exam, you'll have 90 days to complete the process. Once you buy your surety bond, you'll only have 30 days to submit your application package. You may want to plan on a 30-day window of time from start to finish so you don't miss deadlines.

How long does a Montana Notary commission last?

The term of a Montana Notary commission is four years.

Requirements to be a Notary in Montana

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

Who can become a Notary?

If you're applying to be a Notary Public in Montana, you must meet the following requirements. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Be a resident, an employee or licensed to do business or practice in Montana, or the spouse or legal dependent of an active duty military person stationed in MT
  • Be free from any disqualifying offenses listed in 1-5-621 MCA

What kind of training will I need?

All Notary applicants must take four hours of Notary training approved by the Secretary of State or the commission of continuing legal education. The National Notary Association also offers a state approved education course.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes. All applicants, new or renewing, must take and pass an exam. You'll have one hour to complete the 50-question test. You must get a score of at least 80% to pass.

You have three attempts to pass. Afterward, you'll need to wait three months before trying again.

What kind of supplies will I need?

Montana Notaries must use an official seal and maintain a record of all notarial acts in an official journal. The seal must be a blue or black ink stamp and contain the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public for the State of Montana"
  • Your city of residence
  • Your commission expiration date
  • Other information required by the Secretary of State

It must be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached. 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.

The journal may be electronic or paper-based and must be tamper-evident to deter fraud. 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.

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.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

Montana Notaries are required to buy a $25,000 surety bond to protect signers against financial damages resulting from the Notary's negligence or misconduct. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that the Notary will fulfill their obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public and not the Notary. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover any signer's losses and must be paid back to the surety company by you.

Notaries can insure themselves against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Though not required by law, an E&O policy covers a Notary's legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy.

General Notary Public Information

Here, we answer the most common questions about Notaries in Montana.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Montana Office of the Secretary of State, Notary and Certification Services Division, located in Helena, MT, issues Notary Public commissions.

May I become a Montana Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become a Montana Notary Public. If you're not a citizen, you must be a permanent legal resident of the United States, and you must meet all other application requirements.

Where will I be able to notarize?

A Montana Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state's borders, or in North Dakota or Wyoming, which are bordering states that permit Montana Notaries to act in their jurisdictions. Even when in North Dakota or Wyoming, Montana Notaries must always follow the laws and rules of Montana when notarizing.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization. You may notarize for your spouse or other family members as long as you're not named in, or a direct beneficiary of, the transaction referenced in the document being signed.

How much can MT Notaries charge for their services?

Montana Notaries can charge $10 per notarial act. Additional fees may be charged for electronic notarization or communication technology. You may charge an additional fee for travel at the rate authorized by the Internal Revenue Service.

What should I do if I move or change my name?

You must notify the Secretary of State's Office within 30 days of any change to your address, name, contact information or employment information. To update your information, log into the Online Notary Portal and select "File and Amendment." If you move to a different city, the Secretary will issue you an amended commission certificate, which you must use to buy a new stamp.

For name changes, you'll need to request a name change rider from your insurance agent or bonding company. Sign the rider with your new signature and scan it onto your computer. Log into the Online Notary Portal, select "Update/Renew/Resign Your Commission," make the changes to your name and upload the rider. You'll receive an email notifying you when your commission certificate is available at which point you'll need to order a new stamp.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

To renew your Notary commission, you'll need to have completed at least four hours of Notary continuing education within 12 months of your expiration date. Alternatively, you'll need to have completed two hours of Notary continuing education in each of the previous three years of your term.

After meeting the education requirement, the process of renewing your commission is the same as if you’re applying for a new commission. You can start the renewal process online 30 days prior to your current commission expiration date.

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

As of October 1, 2019, remote online notarization (RON) is allowed in MT. As soon as you're commissioned as a traditional Notary Public, you can take the steps in this guide to become an MT remote Notary.

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: Nov 7, 2022

Take the next step

Get everything you need with a full Montana Notary Supply Package.