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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 3-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 class 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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Ohio Notary Process | Requirements to be a Notary in Ohio | General Notary Public Information

More Ohio Notary Process Information

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 6 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 (5) years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Ohio

Who can become a 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;
  • Be a non-resident attorney who practices law in Ohio and whose principal place of business or practice is in Ohio
  • You must 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 3-hour education class from a vendor that the state has approved.

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.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

A surety bond is not required in Ohio. Errors & 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.

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. 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.

BecomeANotary_Infographic_OH.jpg

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General Notary Public Information

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. As of September 20, 2019, the Secretary of State handles Notary commissions as well as Online Notary Authorizations.

What is an Online Notary Authorization?

Getting an Online Notary Authorization means you'll be allowed to offer remote online Notary services for the rest of your commission term.

You must have a current Ohio Notary commission before you can apply for the Authorization. You'll have to take a 2-hour training class and pass a exam that focuses on the specifics of Online Notary rules and procedures.

The application process is done through the Secretary of State's website. You'll upload your completion certificates, determine the technology you intend to use, and pay the $20 filing fee.

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.

What should I do if I move or change my name?

You must inform the Ohio Secretary of the State of any name or address changes within 30 days by filling out a Commission Amendment Request form online.

Once my current commission expires, will I be automatically reappointed?

No, you must meet the requirements and apply to renew your commission.

How to renew your 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 is reduced to 1 hour, it only costs $45 and you aren't required to take another exam. You can start the process 3 months prior to your current commission's expiration date.

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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