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How to Become a Notary Public in Washington

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Washington, this practical guide will answer many commonly asked questions. Learn about notarial duties in your state, and find out how you can apply for a Notary commission certificate. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a Washington notary or renewing your Washington commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Washington Notary Process

Requirements to be a Notary in Washington

General Notary Public Information

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Washington State Notary Process

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

  1. Make sure you meet the state's qualifications (see requirements below).
  2. Get your state-required surety bond.
  3. Complete a Notary application, which includes your oath.
  4. Submit your application, a copy of your surety bond and $30 application fee to the Washington State Department of Licensing.
  5. Buy your state-required Notary journal.
  6. Order your state-required seal stamp after receiving your Notary certificate.
  7. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  8. Consider taking a Notary training course if you want additional guidance.

How long does it take to become a Washington Notary?

The state typically takes 2-4 weeks to send your Notary certificate, although it may take longer if there are mistakes on your application.

How long does a Notary commission last in WA?

The term of a Washington Notary commission is four (4) years.

How much does it cost?

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

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Requirements to be a Notary in Washington

Who can become a Notary?

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

  • Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • Live 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 exam or training is required, but the Washington State Department of Licensing does recommend taking a Notary education course from their list of approved education providers.

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 & 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’ll need both an official seal and a journal that meet state law requirements as of July 1, 2018.

You must provide your Washington Notary certificate from the state to the vendor you choose to produce your seal. 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.

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 during your commission and for 10 years after the last notarization recorded.

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.

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. You don't need a new surety bond. It’s very important to note that you must have this endorsement before doing any electronic notarization work. Additionally, remote notarization is not allowed in Washington State.

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General Notary Public Information

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Department of Licensing is responsible for commissioning Notaries Public in Washington.

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, whether signing for yourself or for a corporation.

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 Secretary of State does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does the Secretary endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training.

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.

Once my current commission expires, will it be automatically renewed?

No, you must meet the state’s requirements and reapply for a new Notary commission.

What is the process to 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.

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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.

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