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How to Become a Notary Public in New York

Applicants who want to become a New York Notary Public must take the following steps:

  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 and the $15 fee and provide your thumbprints.
  4. Pass the one-hour NYS Notary Public Examination.
  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 ID card from the Department of State in the mail.

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In This Guide: New York Notary Process | NY Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the New York Notary Process

Below is more information on applying for a Notary Public commission in the Empire State.

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 the commissioning process take?

It takes about four to six 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 long does a NY Notary commission last?

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

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Requirements to be a Notary in New York

Wondering how you can qualify to become an NY Notary? Read on below.

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 citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S.
  • 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 an 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.

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.

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. Examination schedules are posted on the Department's website in January and July of each year. 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 kind of supplies will I need?

While New York doesn' 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.

For a seal, you may include the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • The words "Notary Public for the State of New York"
  • The county in which you qualified for a commission (optional)
  • Your commission expiration date (optional)
  • The words "Certificate filed…County" (optional)

All of this information must be either printed, typewritten or stamped below your signature on every notarial certificate.

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.

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

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.

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General Notary Public Information

Have more questions about being a New York Notary? We've got you covered.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The New York Department of State, Division of Licensing Services, located in Albany, NY, handles Notaries. 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.

Although New York does not require training, where can I get it?

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

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. You're prohibited from notarizing a document in which you are a party to or directly and pecuniarily interested. 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 much can New York Notaries charge for their services?

NY Notaries can charge a maximum fee of $2 for most notarial acts.

What happens if I move or change my name?

If you change your address or name, you may notify the Division of Licensing Services of the change by completing a Change Notice form and submitting a $10 fee. The Division will correct your public record to reflect your new address and/or name.

For name changes, you can continue using your former name until your commission expires. When you renew your commission, you should use your new name to avoid any confusion. If you'd like to change your name on your current commission, you must provide proof of your name change (court order, marriage certificate, driver's license, non-driver's ID card, valid passport or immigration documents). There is no fee for name changes due to a change in marital status.

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.

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

Remote online notarization (RON) is not allowed in New York. However, there are 25 states that have passed permanent RON laws. For more information about how RONs 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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