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Frequently asked questions: Notaries public

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For notaries

How long will it take to get my notary license?

Allow at least 30 days (we don't have expedited service). Keep in mind that your license 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 5 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 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 license?

Log in or sign up to print a copy of your notary license.

Am I required to keep a journal?

As of July 1, 2018, you're required to maintain a journal of notarial acts.

The journal must be:

  • A permanent, bound book with numbered pages.
    • You may also keep an electronic journal for your own records, but it can't replace the physical book.
  • Kept in a locked and secured area under your exclusive control.
  • Kept for 10 years after the last notarization recorded in the journal.

Journal entries must be made at the time of the notarization and must include:

  • The date and time of the notarization.
  • A description of the document or act being notarized.
  • Full name, address, and signature of each person for whom the notarization was performed.
  • Brief description of the identification method.

If you resign your commission, or if your commission is suspended or revoked, you must tell us where the journal is located.

Can my former employer keep my notary seal/stamp, license, 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, license, or bond.

How do I get a copy of my surety bond?

Contact the insurance or bond company that you purchased the surety bond from. They will supply you with a copy.

Why am I issued a 2-year license?

Notary Licenses are valid for 4 years. We base the expiration date for the license on the expiration date of the surety bond. You can purchase surety bonds for 4-year periods. If the surety bond purchased expires in 2 years, then the notary license would only be valid for 2 years.

How do I find a copy of my Notary certificate?

Log in or sign up for a Secure Acess Washington (SAW) account. You’ll be able to see your license number, view the license, and self-print a copy of your license.

When and how can I dispose of my notary stamp?

You can discard the notary stamp after the expiration date of your commission. We have no authority over how you dispose of your notary stamp.

Does my Errors and Omissions Policy cover the surety bond requirements?

No, you are required to submit a copy of the surety bond given/sent to you by the insurance or bond company.

Do I renew my bond first or my notary license?

Renew your bond first. You need to have a surety bond with an issue date and expiration date before you can renew your license. You must also submit a copy of your surety bond along with the renewal.

I went online to renew my notary license and did not finish renewing it and logged out. I went to log back in to complete the renewal and pay the fee and now it shows my fee as $0 amount instead of $42, what do I do?

Check to make sure you are using Google Chrome as your default browser. Turn off all pop-up blockers. If you followed these steps, an error occurred during processing. You’ll have to wait 2 hours before making another attempt to pay.

For consumers

How can I check to see if a person is really an active notary?

You can look up a license for more information.

How can I get contact information for a specific notary?

Visit the Request Public Records portal (nextrequest.com) to make your request.

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