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How to Become a Notary Public in Virginia

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Virginia, 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 Virginia notary or renewing your Virginia commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Virginia Notary Process | Requirements to be a Notary in Virginia | General Notary Public Information

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Virginia Notary Process

How to become a Notary in Virginia

The following steps briefly explain what you need to do if you want to become a Notary Public in Virginia.

  1. Make sure you meet all of the state's requirements (see below).
  2. Buy your state-required seal.
  3. Complete and print an application form, using the online Notary Application Wizard.
  4. Have your signature on Part 3 of the application notarized.
  5. Pay the $45 application fee.
  6. Mail your notarized application and online payment receipt to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  7. If you're approved, a notice is sent to both you and the Circuit Court clerk within 2 to 3 weeks.
  8. Within 60 days, contact the Circuit Court to take your oath of office and pay the $10 fee.
  9. Consider getting errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).

How long does a Virginia Notary commission last?

The Virginia Notary commission is valid for four (4) years, after which you will need to renew it to continue as a Notary. The commission expires on the last day of the month in which the Notary was born.

How long does it take to become a Notary?

Once the application is received by the state, the turnaround time is generally two to three weeks.

How much does it cost?

It costs $45 for applicants to file an application. Once the application has been approved, applicants will need to take their oath at the Circuit Court, at which point a $10 fee will apply.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Virginia

Who can become a Virginia Notary?

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

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Able to read and write the English language
  • Be a legal resident of the United States
  • Live or work in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Additionally, applicants must not have been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United State or in the Commonwealth of Virginia, or the laws of any other state, unless their rights are restored.

Is training or an exam required to become a Notary in Virginia?

No training or exam is required. Virginia is a “self-certifying” state.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

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

What kind of supplies will I need?

You will need a seal once you are commissioned. You can choose from either an inked stamp or an embosser. The law requires that the seal be sharp, legible, permanent and photographically reproducible.

When shopping for seals, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Ask if the seals carry a lifetime guarantee. In particular, stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging. If you choose to purchase an embosser, you will also need to purchase an embosser inker to satisfy the requirement that the impression is able to be photocopied.

A second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced.

A journal of official acts is recommended by the state. The journal not only provides important information if there’s any question about a notarization you performed, but also provides important proof that you performed your duties properly.

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General Notary Public Information

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

No, you must meet the requirements and reapply for a new commission.

How to renew your Notary commission in Virginia

The process to renew your commission is the same as if you were a new Notary. Start by completing your application using the Notary Application Wizard.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Secretary of Commonwealth is responsible for commissioning Notaries Public in Virginia. The state offers a free download of the Virginia Notary Handbook.

May I become a Virginia Notary if I don’t live in the Commonwealth?

Yes. You do not have to be a resident of Virginia to become a Virginia Notary Public if you are regularly employed in the state and perform Notary services in connection with your employment.

Where will I be able to notarize

Virginia Notaries are authorized to notarize documents anywhere within the borders of 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 may enter into an agreement with your employer to have your employer pay for your commission and supplies. In exchange, the employer may limit your notarizations during business hours to transactions directly related to your employer’s business purposes. If you charge a fee for your service, you may also be required to surrender the fee to your employer.

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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 Virginia Notary Supply Package.