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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
What can I do with my Virginia Commission?
Additional Information


BECOME a Notary


Virginia Notary Process


How to become a Notary in Virginia
  1. Make sure you meet all qualifications under Virginia state law, including:
    1. Be at least 18 years old
    2. Able to read and write the English language
    3. Be a legal resident of the United States
    4. Live or work in the Commonwealth of Virginia
    5. 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 such person has had his/her rights restored.
  2. Order your state-required seal.
  3. Complete and print an application, using the online Notary Application Wizard. A $45 application fee applies, and may be paid online. If you choose to pay online, the barcode on the printed application must match the invoice number found on your payment receipt to ensure proper payment. If you do not pay online, you may pay by check or money order (payable to the Treasurer of Virginia).
  4. Have your signature on Part 3 of the application notarized.
  5. Mail the completed, notarized application and payment receipt (or application fee) to:

Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Notary Public Division
P.O. Box 1795
Richmond, VA 23218-1795

  1. Allow 2 ½ to 3 weeks for application approval. Upon approval, notice is sent to both you and the Circuit Court clerk.
  2. Contact the Circuit Court to arrange to take your oath, which you must do within 60 days of the commission issue date. A $10 fee must be paid at that time. (If you do not claim your commission within 60 days, it becomes invalid; a new application and new fee must be submitted.)
  3. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  4. Begin performing notarizations for the public.
  5. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance.
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.

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.

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

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

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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:

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 such person has had his/her rights 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 equipment 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. The seal must include the Notary’s name, “Notary Public”, “Commonwealth of Virginia”, “My commission expires (DATE)” and the commission number.

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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What Can I Do With My Virginia Commission?


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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Virginia Notary Additional Information


What is a Notary Public?

A traditional (paper) Virginia Notary is a public official who acts as an unbiased witness to the identity and signature of the person who comes before the Notary for a specific purpose. The person may be taking an oath, giving oral or written testimony, or signing or acknowledging his or her signature on a legal document. In each case, the notary attests that certain formalities have been observed. Notaries employed by financial institutions may also perform protests of commercial paper in the course of their employment.

The state of Virginia also offers an eNotary commission, which allows for the Notary to notarize documents electronically. You must be a traditional Notary Public before applying to become an eNotary, and certain guidelines must be met.

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.

Why become a Notary?

Many employees of financial institutions, law firms, corporations and other businesses are asked to become Notaries to provide services for customers signing important documents.

Small business owners often find it helpful to offer notarization services — for example, many tax preparers and mailbox rental services have Notaries on staff.

If you’re employed in a job that requires documents to be signed on a regular basis, or wish to go into business for yourself in a field that involves essential document transactions such as real estate or finance, a Notary commission may be of help to you. Some people also become Notaries as a part-time or full-time business for themselves, traveling to a signer’s home or place of business to notarize documents for a fee.

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.

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