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How to Become a Notary Public in New York

If you’re interested in becoming a Notary Public in New York, this practical guide answers many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, the NYS Notary exam and more. Once you’re ready to begin the process of becoming a New York notary or renewing your New York commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

New York Notary Process | Requirements to be a Notary in New York | General Notary Public Information

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New York Notary Process

  1. Meet the state’s eligibility requirements (see below).
  2. Learn New York’s Notary Public License Law.
  3. Review test center policies. Bring your ID, the $15 fee and provide your thumbprints.
  4. Pass the one-hour NYS Notary Exam.
  5. Receive your test “pass slip” in the mail.
  6. Complete the state application. It includes your oath of office that must be notarized.
  7. Submit your notarized application. Include the $60 application fee and your original pass slip.
  8. Receive your I.D. card from the state.

How long does the commissioning process take?

It takes about 4-6 weeks for your Notary application to be received and approved, per the Division of Licensing Services.

The entire process may take longer depending on how much time you need to study for the exam, which you must pass before applying to become a Notary.

How much does it cost to become a Notary in New York?

The application costs $60 and the written exam is $15. Prices for optional items such as education, an E&O insurance policy and Notary seals vary depending on the Notary vendor you choose.

How long does a NY Notary commission last?

The commission term for a New York Notary is four years.

What kind of training will I need?

New York Notaries are not required to take any specific training courses. It’s your responsibility to understand the Notary Public License Law, which is available on the website of the New York Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services.

Even though it's not required, where can I get training?

You can find many Notary Public training options online, including the NNA's New York Notary Exam training course and Notary Essentials.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes. You must pass a one-hour, closed-book, proctored exam. The multiple-choice test is based on the Notary Public License Law. Current members of the New York State Bar Association or court clerks of the Unified Court System who have passed the civil service promotional exam are exempt.

Where can I take the Notary Public exam in NY?

Exams are administered at various locations throughout the state and are provided regularly in the following cities: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Franklin Square, Hauppauge, New York City, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica.

Testing schedules and complete instructions are posted on the Division of Licensing Services website. Seating is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Registering for the NYS Notary exam, providing thumbprints and the $15 fee are handled on the day of the exam.

What is a surety bond? Do I need one?

A surety bond is a promise to pay anyone harmed if you fail to honestly, diligently and faithfully discharge your responsibilities as a Notary. New York does not require a surety bond.

You may choose to get an optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to protect yourself from legal liability if your notarial acts are ever called into question.

What kind of supplies will I need?

While New York doesn’t require a Notary stamp or journal, using both are considered industry best practices and are extremely helpful if you’re ever named in a lawsuit.

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. When you’re deciding which journal to buy, look for security features like tamper-proof sewn binding.

If you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you’re constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

Training courses, books and live expert assistance are often must-haves for new Notaries who are learning how to perform their duties.

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Requirements to be a Notary in New York

Who can become a New York Notary?

Every New York Notary applicant must meet the following requirements. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a person of good moral character.
  • Reside within the state or maintain a business office in New York.
  • Have the equivalent of a “common school education.”
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
  • Complete the application process.
  • Not be convicted of a crime unless the Secretary of State finds that the crime committed doesn't bar you from commission.

Who is ineligible to become a NY Notary?

The Secretary of State has latitude to determine whether or not an applicant should be disqualified for a crime.

Sheriffs cannot be Notaries because they are barred from holding another public office.

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General Notary Public Information

Which state government office handles Notaries?

New York Department of State, Division of Licensing Services. When the Secretary of State approves you as a Notary Public applicant, your commission, original oath and signature are forwarded to the appropriate county clerk so the public can access and verify your commission.

If I live in another state but work in New York, may I become a New York Notary?

Yes. If you have an office or a place of business in the state, you may become commissioned as a Notary in New York.

Where will I be able to notarize?

Anywhere within the New York state borders. New York Notaries cannot perform notarizations in other states.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public who presents acceptable identification, excluding yourself. Although the law doesn’t specifically prohibit Notaries from notarizing documents for family members, it could be challenged if the Notary is found to have an interest in, or benefit from, the transaction.

How do I renew my New York Notary commission?

Renewing your Notary commission is handled through your local county clerk. A renewal form will be mailed about 12 weeks prior to the end of your current commission. Six to eight weeks after the county clerk receives your renewal form and $60 fee, you will receive your replacement identification card. In certain cases, if you apply before your current commission expires, or within six months after, the exam requirement may be waived (Executive Law § 130).

Do I need a background screening?

If you choose to become a Notary Signing Agent, you must pass an annual background screening. The office of court administration charges $95 for the service.

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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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