Frequently asked questions: Notaries public

For notaries

How long will it take to get my notary certificate?
Allow at least 2 weeks (we don’t have expedited service). Keep in mind that your certificate may be delayed if your application isn’t completed correctly. We’ll contact you if we need additional information. Then, you’ll have a specific amount of time to respond before you’ll have to submit a new application and fee.
I was convicted of a crime in the past. Does this disqualify me from becoming a notary?
You could be disqualified if you’ve been convicted within the past 10 years of any felony or gross misdemeanor relating to the practice of a notary (for example, a theft conviction). We look at each case on an individual basis.
Will I have to take a training class before I can become a notary?
No, a training class isn’t required in the state of Washington. However, your role as a notary public is extremely important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. In order to clearly understand the laws, duties, and responsibilities of being a notary public, we strongly urge you to take a class. For a list available courses, see Approved education providers.
Will I have to take a test before I can become a notary?
No, testing isn’t required in the state of Washington.
Where do I go to get a bond and how much will it cost?
You can get a 4-year term, $10,000 bond from any insurance or bonding company licensed to do surety in the state of Washington. You might check with your insurance agent for help, check in the yellow pages, or search online. The cost will vary from company to company. Our office doesn’t regulate how much the bonding company charges.
How can I get another copy of my notary certificate?
  1. Send us a letter requesting a duplicate certificate, and include:
    • Your name, as it appears on your notary certificate.
    • Your date of birth (as an additional identifier).
    • A check or money order for the certificate fee of $15 (payable to the Department of Licensing).
  2. Mail your letter and fee to:
    Notary Public Program
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 35001
    Seattle, WA 98124-3401
  3. If you have a different address from the last one you gave us, include it and we’ll update your record. Otherwise we’ll mail your certificate to the address we have on file.
Can my former employer keep my notary seal/stamp, certificate, and bond?
No, these are the exclusive property of the notary public. They can’t be used by any other person and shouldn’t be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment, regardless of whether the employer paid for the seal/stamp, certificate, or bond.

For consumers

How can I check to see if a person is really an active notary?
You can Search business and professional licenses online to look up his or her license information.
How can I get contact information for a specific notary?
Call our office at 360.664.1550, press 4 and then 3, and a customer service representative will be happy to help you.
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