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What should I do if I have to resign my Notary commission?

notary-resign-resized.jpgUpdated 1-18-23 with Pennsylvania information. Life happens. Jobs change. You might move to a new town, or finally retire. Circumstances come and go, and as result, you may need to resign your Notary Public commission. Here is what you need to know to resign your commission:

Who Do I Notify When I Resign?

When you make the decision to resign your Notary commission, you should notify the commissioning agency in your state — this is typically the Secretary of State. The notification should be in writing and sent via certified, return receipt, U.S. mail. Some states may allow or require the resignation to be sent through an online portal that has been established to administer Notary commissions.

In California, Notaries Public are required to notify the Secretary of State in writing, stating their intention to resign.

In Florida, a Notary Public who wishes to resign his or her commission must send a signed letter of resignation to the Governor and enclose his or her certificate of commission.

What Do I Do With My Notary Seal? 

Most states require you to render your Notary seal unusable. In the case of a rubber-stamp seal, a pen knife or other small-bladed knife can be used to cut up the rubberized portion of the seal. This will cause the stamp’s impression to be distorted.

When it comes to seal embossers, simply place a few drops of instant super glue on the molded portion, then close it. Because of the glue it will stay shut – but even if it’s pried open, the molded portion will be distorted, and no clear embossment can be made.

Some states, such as North Carolina, require that Notary seals be returned directly to the Secretary of State for destruction.

What Do I Do With My Notary Journals?

Requirements vary from state to state. For example, California and Texas require a Notary Public to deposit their journals with the county clerk’s office where the Notary’s oath and bond are on file.

Montana requires both current and former Notaries to retain their journals for 10 years after the performance of the last notarization chronicled in the journal.

In Arizona, Notaries must deliver their seals and any journals that contain public records to the Secretary of State within three months.

In Pennsylvania, resigning Notaries deliver their journal to the office of the recorder of deeds in the county where the Notary last maintained an office within 30 days of the commission resignation date. 

Know Your State’s Requirements

Some state laws do not specify what to do with your Notary supplies upon resignation. In these cases, the recommended best practice is to notify your Notary commissioning authority in writing or follow the practice standards of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility for disposing of your seal and retaining your journal. The Code directs Notaries to destroy all Notary seals and store all Notary journals for at least 10 years from the last entry in a journal.

If you have questions about what your state requires, or does not require, you can call the NNA Hotline for further guidance.

John Jacobson is a Notary Consultant with the Information Services team at the National Notary Association and regularly answers questions from Notaries on the NNA Hotline.

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18 Comments

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Christina Boonesup

19 Mar 2021

What do I do when county sends journals back.

National Notary Association

23 Mar 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Hannah

26 Oct 2022

If I resign my notary can I reapply later down the line for Florida? I recently relocated to New Hampshire and resigned my Notary due to the move but it's looking like I will be moving back to Florida shortly. Will this cause any issues getting recommissioned?

National Notary Association

10 Nov 2022

Hello. If you relocate back to Florida, you would need to apply for a new Notary commission and meet all state requirements for commission eligibility.

Jessica

30 Jun 2023

My commission expired in 2016. I had a baby in 2015 and simply never continued to work. I kept my seal and journal buried in the back of my closet which I just found. What do I do with everything? Do I need to send a letter? I'm in CA.

National Notary Association

07 Aug 2023

In the state of California you are required to surrender your journal to the county recorder’s office where your oath and bond are on file. Additionally, you must destroy your Notary seal(s). After your commission expires, there no need to sent a letter to the secretary of state.

gaabailey@aol.com

11 Oct 2023

I need to resign my commission as a Notary. It expires on October 12, 2023. I reside in Los Angeles County. Do I need to send a letter of resignation to the Secretary of State or do I just physically turn in my journal to the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office.

National Notary Association

12 Oct 2023

Hello. In California, “If you want to resign your commission, send a letter of resignation to the Secretary of State’s office; within 30 days deliver all of your notarial journals, records, and papers to the county clerk in which your current oath of office is on file; and destroy the seal” (Notary Public Handbook; see also GC 8209)

Alan C.

21 Oct 2023

I'm moving from NJ to TX so need to resign my commission. Do I need to send a letter to the NJ Dept of the Treasury and return my journal?

National Notary Association

26 Oct 2023

Hello. In New Jersey, “On resignation from, or the revocation or suspension of, a notary public’s commission, the notary public shall either: “1. Retain the journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the journal; or “2. Write to the State Treasurer at https://www.nj.gov/treasury/revenue/revgencode.shtml for instructions on how to send or transmit the journal securely to the Division” (NJAC 17:50-1.11[e]).

Dollie

29 Oct 2023

I moved from Indiana to Tennessee and need to resign my Indiana license. I can not find who to send my written letter, stamp to. The online portal is always down. I do not want to be penalized. What can I do?

National Notary Association

30 Oct 2023

Hello. Below is the contact information for the Notary Department Indiana Secretary of State's office. We would recommend calling them directly to request instructions. Office of Secretary of State Business Services Division Notary Department State House, Room 201 200 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204 Phone: 317-232-6542 Website: http://www.in.gov/sos/business/2378.htm

Mario

01 Nov 2023

Hello, I moved from CA to AZ few months after becoming a notary. I would like to resign on my CA notary commission to become a notary in AZ. I never conducted a notarial act in CA. I am preparing my letter to the Secretary of State to resign on my commission. Do I still need to return a “blank” journal?

National Notary Association

08 Dec 2023

Since you did not perform any transactions, there is no need to send your blank journal to the County Clerk's office.

Kate

28 Nov 2023

I am a resident in Illinois Originally the application that I sent is for resident in Illinois but the driver license that I submitted is Wisconsin because my Illinois identification ID is expired. They sent back the application and told me to apply for non-resident, so I did. My question is can I still apply for resident application even if I have an existing non-resident notary? or resign first?

National Notary Association

19 Jan 2024

Resident applicants must provide an Illinois ID or driver's license, as out-of-state licenses unfortunately cannot be accepted. Non-residents, on the other hand, are welcome to use a WI license. If the state issues a non-resident license, you must resign to be commissioned as a resident Notary.

Sylvia

11 Dec 2023

My notary license expired 7 years ago in CA Do I need to surrender my journal and seal?

National Notary Association

15 Dec 2023

Hello. In California, "If you want to resign your commission, send a letter of resignation to the Secretary of State’s office; within 30 days deliver all of your notarial journals, records, and papers to the county clerk in which your current oath of office is on file; and destroy the seal” (state Notary Public Handbook; see also GC 8209).

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