How to become a notary public

Requirements

To become a notary public, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be able to read and write English.
  • Live in Washington State, or live in Idaho or Oregon while employed regularly in Washington or doing business in Washington.
  • Have a $10,000 surety bond from an insurance company or bonding company.
    • This bond is required to protect the public. If you like, you may also get Errors and Omissions Insurance from your bonding company to protect yourself (not required).
    • We can disclose a copy of your bond because it is a public record.
    • If your bonding company pays someone who was harmed as a result of your notary act, you must repay that amount to the bonding company.

How to apply

  1. Complete a Notary Public Appointment or Reappointment Application.
  2. Get a $10,000 surety bond from any insurance company qualified to write surety bonds in Washington.
    • The surety bond must cover your 4-year notary public term.
    • The name on the surety bond should be identical to your name and signature on the application form.
  3. Send us all of the following:
    • Your completed, signed application.
    • A copy of your surety bond. (Please don’t send us your errors and omissions policy.)
    • A check or money order for the $30 fee, payable to the Department of Licensing.

Please allow about 2 weeks for us to process your application.

How to get your stamp or seal

After you get your certificate, check with your bonding company to see if they provide stamps or seals. If they don’t, check with stamp providers such as office supply stores, or search in the phone book and online.

  • By law, the vendor must see a copy of your notary certificate before producing your stamp or seal.
  • There is no requirement for the color of your stamp, but it must meet the size and content requirements of RCW 42.44.050 and WAC 308-30-010.

Recommendations for new notaries

After you have your certificate, bond, and stamp, we recommend that you:

  • Keep a journal. It’s not required by law, but it will protect you and the signers.
  • Read the notary public laws and rules.
  • Take a notary education class. For a list of available educators, see Approved education providers.
  • Join our LISTSERV® to get email updates.
  • Always notarize according to the law. Refuse any notary act that doesn’t seem correct, and don’t let anyone else talk you into doing it. You can be sanctioned, sued, or criminally convicted for performing an incorrect notary act.
  • Notify us if your address changes — it’s the law. See How to change your name or address to learn how.
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