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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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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.


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.


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.

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