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How to Become a Notary Public in North Dakota

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

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state’s requirements (see below).
  2. Complete an application form.
  3. Bring the form to a commissioned Notary. They will administer your oath of office and notarize your signature on the requirements affidavit section.
  4. Buy a $7,500 surety bond and complete the Notary Bond form.
  5. Submit your application, bond and $36 fee to the Secretary of State.
  6. Receive your Certificate of Authorization and Verification of Notary Stamping Device Form from the Secretary of State.
  7. Buy an official Notary seal. You'll need to present your authorization to your stamp vendor.
  8. Place an impression of the stamp on the Verification Form. Return it to the Secretary of State on or before the date on the form.
  9. If approved, the Secretary of State will issue your Notary commission.
  10. Get a Notary journal (optional, but strongly recommended).
  11. Get E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: North Dakota Notary Process | ND Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the North Dakota Notary Process

Here, you’ll find more information about the Notary Public application process.

How much does it cost?

There is a $36 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for your surety bond will vary depending on the vendor you choose to work with.

Supply package prices also vary among vendors and some may come with hidden fees. 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.

How long does it take?

It can take four to six weeks to become commissioned as a traditional Notary Public depending on your availability and the time the Secretary of State needs to process your application.

How long does a North Dakota Notary commission last?

The term of a Notary commission in North Dakota is four years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in North Dakota

Find out if you qualify for a Notary commission in the Peace Garden State.

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in North Dakota 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 of the state, or an employee in or resident of a border county that extends reciprocity to Notaries

Do I need to take Notary training or pass an exam?

No, Notary training is not required. Passing a test is not required to apply for a North Dakota Notary commission.

What kind of supplies will I need?

North Dakota Notaries must use a photographically reproducible stamp that is designed to leave a clear impression for all notarial acts on paper documents. The stamp must be either up to or equal to 1 5/8” in diameter for circular designs or be up to or equal to 2 5/8” x 7/8” for rectangular designs. The following information must be surrounded by a border on the seal:

  • Your name as it appears on the authorization
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The words “State of North Dakota”
  • Your commission expiration date

You cannot include any other words, numbers, symbols or reproduction of the great seal of North Dakota on your stamp.

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.

While not required by law, the state strongly recommends that Notaries maintain a permanently bound record of all traditional notarial acts in a journal. When purchasing a hardcopy 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, which becomes extremely helpful if you are 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?

North Dakota Notaries are required to have a $7,500 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.

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General Notary Public Information

Have more questions about being a Notary Public? Read on below.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Secretary of State, located in Bismarck, ND, is responsible for commissioning Notaries Public in North Dakota.

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

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become a North Dakota Notary Public. You must, however, be a permanent legal U.S. resident and meet all other application requirements.

Where will I be able to notarize?

A North Dakota Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state’s borders.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization. You may not notarize a document if you or your spouse will directly benefit from the transaction. While it’s not prohibited by law, the state strongly recommends against notarizing documents for close family members as it can become an ethical issue.

What fees can North Dakota Notaries charge per notarial act?

North Dakota Notaries can charge $5 per notarial act. An additional travel fee can be charged but only if the signer and Notary agree to it in advance.

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

You must notify the Secretary of State if you move or change your name within 60 days of the change. To update your address, complete and submit a Notary Change of Address form. A letter notifying the SOS of the change is also acceptable.

For name changes, you must complete the Notary Name Change/Notary Seal/Stamp Change form and submit it with a rider to your surety bond. The rider must state both your previous and new name and the effective date of the name change. You’ll need to pay a $10 filing fee, receive a certificate of authorization to get a new stamping device, affix an impression of the seal on the certificate and return the document to the SOS. A commission with your new name will be issued.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

The renewal process is the same as the process you completed for your initial commission. The Secretary of State will notify you at least 30 days before your commission expires.

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

As of August 1, 2019, remote online notarization (RON) is allowed in ND and Notaries must keep a journal of all RON acts performed. Once you get your traditional Notary Public commission, follow the steps in this guide to become a 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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