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How to Become a Notary Public in Ohio

To become an Ohio Notary, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet all of the state's requirements (see below).
  2. Go to an approved Webcheck® provider to get a criminal records check. When you get your BCI report, make sure there are no disqualifying offenses.
  3. Choose a state-approved education and testing vendor.
  4. Take the required three-hour Notary education course and pass the exam.
  5. Create a user account on the Secretary of State's website.
  6. Complete the Notary application form online using the account created.
  7. Upload a PDF copy of your criminal records check, your course and test certificates, and an image of your signature.
  8. Pay the $15 submission fee.
  9. Receive your commission via email. The email will include instructions from the Secretary of State regarding your oath of office.
  10. Buy your official Ohio Notary stamp.

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In This Guide: Ohio Notary Process | OH Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Ohio Notary Process

Learn more about the Notary Public application process in the Buckeye State.

How much does it cost to become an OH Notary?

The initial application fee if you're not an attorney is $130. You'll pay that fee directly to the state-approved education and testing vendor of your choice.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) criminal records check cost varies and the Webcheck® code you'll need to request your report is 147.022. The approximate price range is $35 to $50, according to Webcheck® vendors listed on the Ohio Attorney General's website.

The application submission fee is $15.

The cost of your Notary seal and other supplies will vary based on the vendor you choose.

How long does it take to become an Ohio Notary?

The timing can vary based on the vendors you choose to work with. But you need to complete all of the steps within six months of getting your criminal records check, or you'll have to start over from the beginning.

How long does an Ohio Notary commission last?

An Ohio Notary commission lasts for five years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Ohio

Read on below to learn how you can qualify to become an OH Notary.

Who can become an Ohio Notary?

To qualify to become a Notary in Ohio, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of Ohio or a non-resident attorney who practices law in Ohio and whose principal place of business or practice is in Ohio
  • Not have any disqualifying offenses on your record

Generally, disqualifying offenses are crimes of moral turpitude, fraud, theft, sexual and other violent crimes. In Ohio, the specific offenses are defined in section 4776.10 and Chapter 2913 of the Revised Code. The Secretary of State's website also has an overview chart of disqualifying offenses.

Is training required to become a Notary in Ohio?

Yes. New Ohio Notary applicants are required to take a three-hour education class from a state-approved education and testing provider.

Is an exam required to become a Notary in Ohio?

Yes. After finishing the Notary class, you'll need to take and pass an exam administered by the company you chose for your class. If you don't pass on your first try, you'll have to wait 30 days to retake it. If you fail a second time, you'll have to start the entire application process from the beginning.

Attorneys applying to become an Ohio Notary do not need to pass an exam.

What kind of Notary supplies will I need?

After you get your Notary commission, you'll need to buy an official Notary seal, which can be either a stamp or an embosser. The seal must contain the following information:

  • The coat of arms of the state within a circle that is at least ¾", but not larger than 1" in diameter
  • The words "Notary Public," "Notarial Seal" or words to that effect
  • Your name (you could also print, type or stamp your name near your signature instead of displaying it on your seal)
  • The words "State of Ohio"

When shopping for seals, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use because smudging may cause documents to be rejected. If you want to use an embosser, you'll also need an inker to make the impression of your seal visible when photocopied. Ask if your seal comes with a lifetime guarantee.

While using a Notary journal to keep track of your notarizations is recommended by the state, it's not required by law.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

A surety bond is not required in Ohio. Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is optional. Notary E&O insurance helps protect you if you make an unintentional mistake or a false claim is filed against you. Your E&O policy will cover your legal fees and awarded damages up to the coverage amount you select.

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General Notary Public Information

Wondering if you can notarize for a spouse or how much you can charge? Check out the answers below.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Notary Modernization Act transferred this responsibility from Ohio's 88 counties to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office, located in Columbus, OH. As of September 20, 2019, the Secretary of State handles Notary commissions as well as Online Notary Authorizations.

Can anyone help me become a Notary in Ohio?

There are several private organizations that offer Notary training courses and exams, including the NNA. The Secretary of State's website provides a list of approved providers.

Where will I be able to notarize?

Ohio Notaries can practice throughout the state.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for any member of the public who makes a reasonable request and meets all requirements for notarization, such as personally appearing before you and providing satisfactory proof of identity. You cannot notarize your own signature or perform a notarization if you have a conflict of interest.

How much can OH Notaries charge for their services?

Ohio Notaries can charge $5 per notarial act. A reasonable 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 inform the Ohio Secretary of State of any name or address or name changes within 30 days. You can do so by logging into your account, selecting "Begin application" and selecting "Amendment/Duplicate/Resignation." There, you'll be able to update your address or name. For name changes, you'll need to upload a copy of your new signature that must match your new name and pay a $2 fee. Your commission will be emailed to you.

If you change your name and address, you'll need to follow the steps online and pay the $2 fee for the name change.

How do I renew my Notary commission in Ohio?

The renewal process in Ohio is similar to the process to become a new Notary. The differences are that the education course is reduced to one hour, it only costs $45 and you aren't required to take another exam. You can start the process three months prior to your current commission's expiration date.

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

On September 22, 2019, Ohio became the 10th state to authorize remote online notarizations (RON). You must first hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public to qualify. As soon as you're commissioned, you can follow the steps in this guide to become an OH remote Notary.

If you're not quite ready to get started, 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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