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New Illinois rules for traditional and electronic Notary commissions

Illinois flag with 'New Illinois Notary Laws' tag

Part 3 of our series on the new Illinois Notary laws and how they affect Notaries in the state. Previous articles can be found here:

Part 1: Illinois new Notary law overview

Part 2: Illinois new Notary journal rules

Not all Notaries are the same. Some may be “professional” Notaries who make their living from performing notarizations, Notary-employees who notarize only at their places of employment, and moonlighters who do both. No matter their career paths, all Notaries have one thing in common. Every Notary must qualify for and obtain a Notary commission in the same way. That’s why every Notary or anyone considering becoming a Notary should understand the new laws for Notary and Electronic Notary commissions in Illinois.

Illinois Notary Public commission changes

The new laws contain several changes for obtaining a Notary Public commission. Some rules — paying the increased $15 appointment fee and no longer having to record the commission with the county clerk — are already in effect. Others will take effect later, as is the case with the requirement effective January 1, 2024, that all applicants for a Notary Public and Electronic Notary Public commission take a 3-hour course of study and pass an exam.

The training and exam requirement is the most significant change to the commissioning process. Here are the particulars:

  • Applicants must take a course from a provider certified by the Secretary of State.
  • The course may be an in-person classroom or an interactive online course.
  • For in-person courses, students must identify themselves with a government-issued photo ID. For online classes, providers must have a process for identifying students and ensuring students are present during the entire course.
  • Students have a maximum of 30 days to complete the course.
  • A final exam must be administered after completion of the course.
  • The exam must contain 50 true/false or multiple-choice questions, but no more than 25 questions may be true/false.
  • A passing exam score is 85%.
  • Applicants must apply for a commission within 2 years of completing the exam.
  • Both new and renewing Notaries must take the course and pass the exam.

There are three other commission process changes to know about. First, commission applicants must provide their commission certificate to a seal vendor when they purchase a Notary seal.

Second, Notaries who change their residential or email address must notify the Secretary of State within 30 days as they do now for a name or business address change.

Finally, Notaries wanting to renew their commissions can reapply from 30-60 days before their current commissions expire. All Notaries are encouraged to reapply at least 30 days in advance to avoid a lapse in their commissions.

Illinois Electronic Notary commission requirements

Under the new laws, “electronic notarization” is a notarial act using electronic signatures and Notary seals when the Notary and signer are in different locations and appear before each other using audio-video communication. The Illinois Secretary of State has told the NNA that the term “electronic notarization” in Illinois refers to “in-person electronic notarizations” (IPEN) as well.

A Notary or first-time Notary applicant who wants to perform electronic notarizations must apply for an additional Electronic Notary commission. Applying for an Electronic Notary commission is optional. An individual can apply for both commissions simultaneously, or an existing Notary can apply for an Electronic Notary commission at any time during their current Notary Public commission term. Both Notary Public and Electronic Notary Public commissions have the same commission identification number and expiration date.

An Electronic Notary commission involves completing a separate application, paying a $25 appointment fee, submitting a $25,000 bond (if one is already a Notary) or a combined $30,000 bond (if the applicant is applying for both at the same time), and taking an oath of office.

An Electronic Notary commission authorizes a person to perform electronic notarial acts. Illinois also permits all Notaries to perform “remote notarizations” on paper documents using audio-video communication without applying for an Electronic Notary commission. When applying for a Notary Public commission, applicants will be asked if they will perform notarial acts using audio-video communication. If they answer yes, they must obtain a combined $30,000 bond. If they answer no, only the $5,000 Notary bond is required.

Like a traditional Notary Public commission, Electronic Notaries must wait until they receive their commission certificates before purchasing an electronic seal. Similarly, an Electronic Notary must inform the Secretary of State of any changes to the information submitted on their application for an Electronic Notary commission within 30 days.

An applicant for an Electronic Notary commission must inform the Secretary of State of the approved electronic notarization system provider or providers they intend to use and register with the Secretary each additional provider they add later.

An upcoming article in this series will discuss the rules and procedures for performing electronic and remote notarizations in Illinois.

Bill Anderson is Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Become an Illinois Notary

Renew as an Illinois Notary


Add your comment

Kathleen Jezowski

06 Jul 2023

The new change that you can not renew more then 60days is a problem for notaries who do international documents, some countries reject the notarizations with less then 6 months left in the current commission, is there any waiver to this 60 days?

C. Buetow

17 Jul 2023

I live in another state, but work in Illinois. At the request of my employer, I am commissioned as a Notary. However, I must renew my certificate, etc. every year. Will I have to complete the training course and take the test every year, too?

National Notary Association

19 Jul 2023

5 ILCS 312/2-101.5(a) requires any Notary who is renewing their commission to complete any course of study required by the SOS, including nonresident Notaries.

Bart S

18 Jul 2023

I seem unable to find any mention of fees specifically associated with the new course of study and examinations, but I may simply be overlooking relevant language. Assuming there will now be that additional cost for applications and renewals, will such fees be at the will of the certified providers, with no limits mandated by the SOS?

National Notary Association

19 Jul 2023

Illinois law does not set a maximum fee for the required course and exam, but it does require providers to inform students of the amount of all course and exam fees in advance. The state will review provider applications and approve Notary Public course providers. Notaries will be able to choose from approved providers which course is right for them.

Jacobie Dardy

22 Jul 2023

Love to connect with a contract.

Kelley Elwood

31 Jul 2023

I recently renewed my commission but need to add an electronic commission. How do I do that?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

Hello. Please see here for more information:

Nydia Mazon

11 Oct 2023

So in reading the new rules, IL definition of an electronic notarization refers to in-person electronic notarizations. Can IL commissioned notaries and loan signing agents become RON, where the notary and signer are in different locations and notarial act is being done via a video call? If so, where can I fine out the rules for RON and how to become one in IL?

National Notary Association

11 Oct 2023

Hello. Illinois Notaries will be able to apply to perform remote notarizations after Jan. 1, 2024. Please see here for more details:

Michelle K

23 Oct 2023

If you renew before January 1st, but your commission expires in the spring of 2024 and you do not do remote notarizations, are you still required to take the course and examination? If so, how/when are you supposed to find out the information on said course?

National Notary Association

08 Nov 2023

Hello. Please see this article for information about Illinois' new education and testing requirements:

Sam Bolen

07 Nov 2023

Have there been any courses approved by the Secretary of State yet? If so, what are the websites we can sign up?

National Notary Association

08 Nov 2023

Hello. Please see this article for information about Illinois' new education and testing requirements:

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