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New California Notary application form required starting February 1, 2024

California symbol with new Notary application form

Beginning February 1, 2024, all applicants for a California Notary Public commission will be required to complete and submit a new version of the application form. Both first-time and renewing Notaries must use the new form. Older versions of the application may not be used after January 31, 2024.             

While the new application form contains substantially the same information as the prior version, there are some important changes.

Changes to the California Notary application form

First, the application and supporting instructions are five pages instead of four. Second, the application uses checkboxes for certain information. For example, the first line of the application requires applicants to check a box indicating if they are providing either their Social Security (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

There are additional checkboxes for items such as an applicant indicating they have no middle name (“NMN”), are self-employed, actions taken against the applicant’s professional licenses, and a new question regarding the status of child support payments.

Other notable changes include the following:

  • Applicants now must include a “direct” or “best” email address in addition to their phone number.
  • Applicants with a legal last name that includes a suffix (I, II, III, IV, Jr. Sr.) must include the suffix if it appears on their driver’s license or state identification card, and the suffix must be part of the last name chosen for their commission name.
  • Using a middle name as part of the applicant’s chosen commission name is optional, and applicants now may choose to use only their middle name or middle initial as their commission first name.
  • The applicant’s business location address must be a “physical” address. In addition to not using a Post Office Box number, applicants cannot use a commercial mailbox.
  • The passport photograph attached to page 2 of the application must be “taken recently prior to the date of application” and “the applicant must be recognizable in the photo.”
  • An additional page for reporting convictions has been added to the new form as well.

A final small but significant change appears in the penalty of perjury clause each applicant must sign and date at the bottom of page 1. The prior application required the applicant to state under penalty of perjury that the “foregoing is true and correct” — meaning that all application statements on page 1 are accurate. Now the statement reads, “foregoing and attachments are true and correct,” which means the applicant’s certification now extends to the page 2 passport photo and the additional information regarding convictions provided on page 3.

Tips when completing the new California application form

The new California Notary application form is available on the California Secretary of State’s website starting February 1, 2024. When filling out this new form, applicants must ensure they have checked the applicable or correct boxes or their application could be deemed incomplete.

For this reason, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete it using a computer with PDF software instead of by hand. The electronic application has form fields, drop-down lists, and other enhancements to make completing and processing the application easier and more efficient.

As was the case with the old version of the application, the individual pages may not be printed double-sided. Finally, the fee for a commission remains $40. 

For more information about becoming a California Notary or guidance to renew your commission, visit our Notary Knowledge Center.

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

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6 Comments

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S. F. Brown

05 Feb 2024

With ongoing and recent thefts of mail from stand alone mailboxes, porches and postal delivery persons being robbed of master keys, a 'commercial' address OR a post office box should be considered.

Barbara Morgan

05 Feb 2024

Where do I get the app.

National Notary Association

06 Feb 2024

Hello. The new application formm is available online from the CA Secretary of State's office here: https://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-app.pdf

Elroy Glasgow

06 Feb 2024

Please send me the Notary application. Thank you

National Notary Association

06 Feb 2024

Hello. The new application formm is available online from the CA Secretary of State's office here: https://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-app.pdf

Charlotte MItchell

14 Feb 2024

So now a notary applicant can have a long list of prior convictions (enough to require an attached page) and still be accepted? Traditionally a notary, as a representative of the State, was considered to be an honest, trustworthy person of integrity. To me, a long list of convictions should automatically disqualify the applicant.

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