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How to Become a Notary Public in Wisconsin

If you want to become a Notary in Wisconsin, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet the state's requirements (see below).
  2. Pass the Notary Tutorial Exam and print your certificate.
  3. Buy your $500 surety bond and official Notary seal (required for the application).
  4. Complete the Wisconsin Notary Online Application.
  5. Submit your application, exam certificate, bond form, oath of office and the $20 fee to the Notary Records Section of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions by email or mail.
  6. If your application is approved, you'll get a notice from the Department of Financial Institutions.
  7. Get E&O insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  8. Take continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance (optional, but strongly recommended).

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In This Guide: Wisconsin Notary Process | WI Notary Requirements | General Notary Public Information

More Details About the Wisconsin Notary Process

Below, you'll find more information on applying for a WI Notary Public commission.

How much does it cost?

The filing fee is $20. The cost of the surety bond, seal and other supplies will vary based upon the vendor chosen.

How long does it take to become a Notary?

The timing can vary. Most Notaries will be approved within two weeks of submitting all of the required documents, but the commissioning process will be faster if you submit your application and payment online.

How long does a Wisconsin Notary commission last?

The Notary commission in Wisconsin is valid for four years. If you're a U.S. resident who is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, you can apply to receive a permanent commission.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Wisconsin

Learn how you can qualify for a Notary commission in the Badger State.

Who can become a Notary?

Applicants must meet the following requirements to become a Notary in Wisconsin:

  • Be a resident of the U.S.
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least the equivalent of an eighth-grade education
  • Be familiar with the duties and responsibilities of being a Notary Public
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor violating the public trust unless the conviction has been expunged or pardoned

Is training or an exam required to become a Notary?

Notaries in Wisconsin are required to take a tutorial and pass a final assessment exam with a score of 90% or better. You can take the exam an unlimited amount of times until you pass. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate, which will need to be submitted to the Department of Financial Institutions.

What kind of supplies will I need?

In Wisconsin, you're required to have an engraved official seal or a rubber stamp. The seal must be capable of being copied with the record to which it is attached and contain the following information:

  • Your name as it appears on your commission
  • Your jurisdiction
  • Any other information required by the Department of Financial Institutions
  • Your commission expiration date (optional)

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.

Keeping a journal is not required in Wisconsin, but is recommended by the state. A journal can protect you if a notarization performed is ever questioned, and should be kept in a safe, locked area.

Do I need a surety bond or insurance?

A $500 surety bond is required to become a Notary in Wisconsin. The bond protects the public from financial damage if the Notary fails in their duties.

The bond can be purchased from an insurance agency that is qualified to write surety bonds in Wisconsin. If the bond form is supplied by the agency, it must be in a format that has previously been approved by the Department of Financial Institutions.

If you are sued for misconduct or neglect, any damages awarded over $500 are not covered by your bond, and the bonding company may require you to pay back the damages paid out. Many Notaries choose to get errors and omissions (E&O) insurance for extra protection. An E&O policy will cover your legal fees and awarded damages up to the coverage you select if you make an unintentional mistake or a false claim is filed against you.

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General Notary Public Information

Have more questions about Notaries Public? We have your answers here.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

In Wisconsin, the Department of Financial Institutions, located in Madison, WI, appoints Notaries.

Where will I be able to notarize?

A Wisconsin Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state's borders.

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 or any documents for your spouse or domestic partner. The Department of Financial Institutions prohibits Notaries from performing notarial acts in which you or your spouse have a direct beneficial interest.

How much can WI Notaries charge for their services?

Wisconsin Notaries may charge a maximum fee of $5 per notarial act.

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

In Wisconsin, you must complete the Notary Public Change of Address/Name/Seal form and submit it to the Department of Financial Institutions within 10 days of an address change.

If you change your name, the state strongly suggests that you purchase a new seal in addition to submitting the change of name form. You must receive confirmation prior to using your new name and seal. When notarizing, your signature must match the name used on the seal.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?

The renewal process in Wisconsin is the same process as it is to become a Notary. You'll receive a notice from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions at least 30 days before your expiration date with a renewal code.

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

Wisconsin became the 23rd state to authorize remote online notarizations (RONs) on May 1, 2020. Remote Notaries can notarize for signers in any location as long as the Notaries are physically located within the state at the time of notarization. Learn how you can become a WI remote Notary in this guide.

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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