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How to Become a Notary Public in Pennsylvania

If you’re interested in becoming a Notary Public in Pennsylvania, this practical guide answers many common questions about the process you’ll go through. Learn about notarial duties and find out how you can receive a Notary commission in PA. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a Pennsylvania notary or renewing your Pennsylvania commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Pennsylvania Notary Process | Requirements to be a Notary in PA | General Notary Public Information

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Pennsylvania Notary Process

To become a Notary Public in Pennsylvania, applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet the requirements to become a Notary (see below).
  2. Take a 3-hour approved education course.
  3. Complete the online application form. You’ll need to attach your training certificate and pay the $42 fee.
  4. In about 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll get an email from Pearson VUE with details about the $65 exam.
  5. Follow the testing instructions carefully. If you pass, your score will be sent to the state.
  6. Receive your Notice of Appointee letter.
  7. Get your $10,000 surety bond. Choose a bonding company authorized to do business in Pennsylvania.
  8. Take your oath of office and file your bond with your county recorder of deeds.
  9. Register your signature with the prothonotary of your county within 45 days.
  10. Receive your commission certificate and a wallet card from the recorder of deeds.
  11. Buy your Notary seal and journal.
  12. Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure.

How long does it take to receive my Notary commission?

The Pennsylvania Department of State recommends allowing four to six weeks for processing of a Notary Public commission application. It could take several additional weeks depending on when you pass the exam and finish the rest of the application process.

How long does a Pennsylvania Notary commission last?

The term of a Pennsylvania Notary commission is four years.

How much does it cost to become a Notary in PA?

There is a $42 application fee and a $65 exam fee. There are county fees for filing your bond, signature and commission.

Additional costs for bonds, Notary supplies and education courses vary depending on the vendor(s) you choose. Be sure to check the fine print and product quality before buying your supplies. Some vendors may package items with additional or hidden fees – processing fees for example.

What kind of training will I need?

You have to complete a three-hour pre-approved Notary Public education course within the six months prior to submitting your application. The NNA offers a state-approved online training course that makes it easy for new and renewing Notaries to fulfill Pennsylvania's education requirement.

You may want to take additional education courses for training and guidance above and beyond the state required course, but additional training is optional.

Do I need to take a Notary exam?

Yes, new Notaries must pass an exam that covers state statutes, regulations, procedures and ethics. It is administered by Pearson VUE and you’ll need to carefully follow all of their testing instructions.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

Yes. Notaries in Pennsylvania are required to have a $10,000, four-year surety bond from a company qualified to write bonds in the state.

A bond is not insurance. A bond is a financial guarantee from a bonding company to those who rely on a Notary, and experience financial damages because a Notary intentionally or unintentionally violated a law. If damages are paid out from the bond, you will need to repay your surety company.

Since a surety bond does not protect the Notary, many Notaries choose to purchase optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies to protect themselves from legal expenses. E&O insurance is not a requirement in Pennsylvania.

What kind of supplies will I need?

You’ll need a Notary seal stamp, journal and certificates. An embosser is optional.

Stamps should not bleed during or after use. Ask the vendor you choose about product guarantees because quality and durability can vary greatly.

When you’re deciding which journal to buy, look for security features like tamper-proof sewn binding. You must keep your journal safe and secure.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Pennsylvania

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in Pennsylvania must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
  • Be a resident of, or be employed at a physical address within, the Commonwealth.
  • Be able to read and write in English.
  • Complete all steps in the Notary process (see above).
  • Not be disqualified under section 323.
  • Must comply with other requirements the Department may establish.

Who can't be a Notary?

You cannot be a Notary Public if you:

  • Are a member of the U.S. Congress.
  • Receive money or special perks for holding a federal government office or appointment.
  • Are a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.

View the steps to become a Notary Public as an infographic, or download the file if you'd like to print it out.


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General Notary Public Information

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Pennsylvania Department of State, Division of Legislation and Notaries, Harrisburg, PA.

Can anyone help me become a Notary?

Yes. Several companies, including the NNA, offer Notary training, supplies, bonds, insurance and assistance with the entire application process. Also, the Secretary of State’s website has the application with submission details, educational materials and a training video if you want to get the process started on your own.

Where will I be able to notarize?

A Pennsylvania Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state’s borders.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for any member of the public who presents acceptable identification, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization.

May I become a Pennsylvania Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. In addition to U.S. citizens, Pennsylvania allows permanent legal residents of the Commonwealth to become Notaries.

How do I renew my Pennsylvania Notary commission?

To renew your commission, you must meet the requirements to become a Notary and complete the application process. This includes the education requirement but excludes the exam. If your commission lapses, even for one day, you will be required to pass the exam.

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If you're not quite ready yet, we have additional resources where you can learn what a Notary is, what they do and why you should become a commissioned Notary.

Are you ready to get started?

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