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How to Become a Notary Public in West Virginia

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

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

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West Virginia Notary Process

Individuals must complete the following steps to become a Notary in WV:

  1. Make sure you meet all of the state's requirements (see below).
  2. Complete a Notary application form.
  3. State or local government applicants must provide a letter from a supervisor requesting the appointment.
  4. Submit your application and $52 commission fee to the West Virginia Secretary of State's Notary Division.
  5. You'll receive your commission letter and Notary seal information after your application is processed. Check the information carefully to make sure it's correct.
  6. Buy your official Notary seal.
  7. Return the oath to the Secretary of State's office as soon as possible.
  8. Consider buying a journal (optional).
  9. Consider getting errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  10. Consider taking a Notary training class or seek out Notary experts for guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

How long does a West Virginia Notary commission last?

The term of a WV Notary commission is five (5) years.

How long does it take?

It takes approximately two (2) weeks to process a West Virginia Notary application.

How much does it cost to become a Notary in WV?

There is a $52 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission in West Virginia. Additional costs for Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors.

New Notaries may seek more “how-to” assistance than experienced Notaries, so the price of books, training and live expert assistance may factor into your overall cost.

Is Notary training required in West Virginia?

A training course is not required to apply for a WV Notary commission. However, the application does require you to sign an oath that you have read Chapter 39, Article 4, of the West Virginia Code regarding Notaries.

Do I need to take an exam?

No. An exam is not required to become a Notary Public in West Virginia.

What kind of supplies will I need?

West Virginia Notaries must use rubber stamp ink seal for all notarial acts for paper documents. An embosser may be used in addition to — but never as a substitute for — the inked seal. Notary stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging.

While not required by law, it is strongly recommended that Notaries maintain record of all notarial acts in a journal. 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.

If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations you perform can require different tools of the trade. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, a guide for checking identification documents 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.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

West Virginia Notaries are no longer required to purchase a $1,000 surety bond.

Notaries can insure themselves against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional Errors & 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 West Virginia 

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in West Virginia must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • Must be a resident of or have a place of employment in West Virginia
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Not be disqualified from a commission under WVC 39-4-23, which prohibits offering unauthorized legal advice and false advertising
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit or had a Notary commission suspended or revoked in another state

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General Notary Public Information

Which state government office handles Notaries?

While appointed by the Governor, Notaries are regulated by the West Virginia Office of the Secretary of State, Notary Division, located in Charleston.

May I become a West Virginia Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become a West Virginia Notary Public. You must, however, be a permanent legal U.S. resident and meet all other application requirements.

Where will I be able to notarize?

A West Virginia 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.

Although West Virginia 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. Since the Secretary of State doesn’t have jurisdiction to take action regarding a business that offers Notary training, make sure you thoroughly review any company you plan to work with.

The NNA offers state-specific training for WV Notaries who want to take an education course before beginning their notarial duties.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

The renewal process in West Virginia is the same as the process you completed for your initial commission. The Secretary of State sends out a reminder to Notaries whose commission is expiring, but it is the Notary’s responsibility to submit all required information and fees for commission renewal.

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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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