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How to Become a Notary Public in Washington

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

  1. Make sure you meet the state's qualifications (see below).
  2. Get your state-required $10,000 surety bond.
  3. Complete a Notary application, which includes your oath.
  4. Submit your application, a copy of your surety bond and a $30 application fee to the Washington State Department of Licensing online or by mail.
  5. Order your state-required stamp and journal after receiving your Notary certificate.
  6. Get E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  7. Take a Notary training course if you want additional guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Washington Notary Process | WA Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Washington State Notary Process

Here, we cover the cost and length of a Notary Public commission in the Evergreen State.

How much does it cost?

To become a Notary in Washington State, you must pay a $30 application fee and the cost of your $10,000 surety bond, Notary seal and journal. Prices for your surety bond, seal and journal will vary based on the vendor you choose.

How long does it take to become a Washington Notary?

The state asks for a minimum of four weeks to review your application, although it may take longer if there are mistakes on your application. If you submit your application online, you should receive your commission sooner.

How long does a Notary commission last in WA?

The term of a Washington Notary commission is four years.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Washington

Learn how you can qualify to become a WA Notary.

Who can become a Notary?

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

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.
  • Be a resident of or have a place of business in Washington State
  • Be able to read and write English

You can be disqualified for any act or omission that demonstrates a lack of honesty, integrity, competence or reliability necessary to act as a Notary Public.

Is training or an exam required to be a Washington State Notary?

No training or exam is required, but the Washington State Department of Licensing does recommend taking a Notary education course from their list of approved education providers.

What kind of supplies will I need?

You'll need both an official seal and a journal that meets state law requirements.

You must provide your Washington Notary certificate from the state to the vendor you choose to produce your seal. The seal may either by an inked rubber stamp or embosser. The seal shape may either be circular that is at least 1 5/8" in diameter or rectangular at 1" x 5/8". All type on the stamp must be at least 8-point type, and the following information must be included:

  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The words "State of Washington"
  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • Your commission expiration date
  • Your commission number
  • Any other information required by the director

The reproduction of the Washington State seal within the stamp or seal is prohibited.

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

In Washington, journals must be a permanent, bound book with numbered pages. Look for security features like tamper-proof sewn binding for another layer of protection. You must keep your journal in a locked, secured area during your commission and for 10 years after the last notarization recorded.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

Yes. Washington State requires all Notaries to get a $10,000 surety bond. If damages are paid out from the bond, you are required by law to pay back the company that issued the bond in addition to any legal fees incurred.

You do not need to purchase insurance, although you have the option of doing so. Errors and 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.

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General Notary Public Information

Have questions about being a Notary in Washington? Read on below.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Department of Licensing, located in Olympia, WA, is responsible for commissioning Notaries Public in Washington.

May I become a Washington Notary if I don't live in the state?

Yes. If you have a place of business in the state, you may become a Washington Notary.

Although Washington does not require training, where can I get it?

You can find several reputable Notary Public training providers with a quick online search. It's important to note that the DOL does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does it endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training.

Where will I be able to notarize?

Washington Notaries have statewide jurisdiction.

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. While Washington State allows Notaries to notarize for a family member outside of a spouse or partner so long as the Notary, spouse or partner do not have a direct benefit, it is not advised.

What fees can WA Notaries charge for their services?

Washington State allows Notaries to charge up to $10 per notarial act. Notaries may charge an additional fee for traveling as long as the signer agrees to it in advance.

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

You must notify the Department of Licensing of an address change either online, by email or by mail. For email or mail updates, send the DOL the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your Notary certificate
  • Your date of birth
  • Your previous address, phone or email
  • Your new address, phone or email

Send the information to notaries@dol.wa.gov or by mail to the Notary Public Program of the Department of Licensing.

To have your name changed, you can update it online or by mail. In both cases, you'll need to have a copy of your surety bond rider with your new name and payment for a non-refundable $15 fee. For mail updates, you must complete the Notary Public Name Change Application and send the form along with payment to the Notary Public Program of the Department of Licensing.

How do I renew my commission as a Washington Notary?

The process to renew your commission is the same as if you were a new Notary. Start by completing your application using the online application. You can renew your Notary Public commission 120 days before it expires.

How can I get an Electronic Records Notary Public Endorsement?

You can apply for an electronic records Notary Public endorsement at any time during your commission as a Washington Notary for $15. Or you can apply for the endorsement simultaneously with your regular application process, which costs $45.

You'll need to complete the Notary Public Electronic Notarization Endorsement Application and submit the form along with payment for a non-refundable $15 fee to the Department of Licensing online or by mail. Within 30 days after receiving your endorsement, you must provide the DOL the name of the electronic Notary software you intend to use. The DOL prohibits you from notarizing electronic documents until they've received the name of your chosen software. You don't need a new surety bond.

What do I need to know about remote online notarization in Washington?

Remote online notarization became legal in Washington on March 27, 2020. To perform RONs, you must hold both an existing traditional Notary Public commission and an active electronic records Notary endorsement. Follow the steps in this guide to learn how you can become a WA remote Notary.

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.

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