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How To Become A Notary Public In South Carolina

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in South Carolina, this practical guide will answer many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, and find out how you can become a commissioned Notary. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a South Carolina notary or renewing your South Carolina commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

South Carolina Notary Process | Requirements to be a Notary in SC | General Notary Public Information

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South Carolina Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public?

  1. Make sure you meet all of your state’s qualifications.
  2. Complete and submit an application form and $25 fee. Send the application form to your appropriate county delegation for signatures and forwarding to the Secretary of State’s office. (A list of county delegations is available on the application form.)
  3. Purchase your Notary seal.
  4. Purchase your journal (optional).
  5. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  6. File your commission certificate with the county clerk and pay the $10 fee.
  7. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance.

How long does a South Carolina Notary commission last?

The term of a South Carolina Notary commission is 10 years.

How long does it take?

The Secretary of State’s office estimates approximately two to six weeks to process a Notary commission application.

How much does it cost?

There is a $25 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors.

Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more “how-to” assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees — processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

What kind of training will I need?

A training course is not required.

Do I need to take an exam?

No, an exam is not required.

What kind of supplies will I need?

South Carolina Notaries must have an official seal of office, which may be in the form of an ink stamp or embosser.

Though not required, state officials recommend that South Carolina Notaries keep a record of all notarial acts in an official journal.

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal — they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you are constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

When purchasing a journal, there are a few important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you’re ever named in a lawsuit.

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

South Carolina Notaries are not required to purchase a surety bond to protect signers against financial damages resulting from the Notary’s negligence or misconduct. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that the Notary will fulfill his or her obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public, not the Notary. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover any signer’s losses and must be paid back to the surety company by you.

Notaries can insure themselves against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Though not required by law, an E&O policy covers a Notary’s legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy.

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Requirements to be a Notary in South Carolina 

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in South Carolina must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a resident of South Carolina
  • Must be a registered voter in South Carolina
  • Must be able to read and write the English language
  • Must not be under a court order declaring mental incompetence
  • Must not be serving a term of imprisonment for conviction of a crime
  • Must never have been convicted of a felony or offense against election laws or, if previously convicted, have served full sentence or received a pardon.

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General Notary Public Information

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The South Carolina Office of the Secretary of State, Notary Public Division, located in Columbia.

May I become an South Carolina Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

No, South Carolina Notaries are required to be registered voters in the state. You must be a U.S. citizen to vote.

Where will I be able to notarize?

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

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

Renewal process is the same as the application process above. The Secretary of State recommends submitting your renewal application at least 8 to 12  weeks before your current commission expires.

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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?

Get everything you need with a full South Carolina Notary Supply Package.