To become a notary public, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- be 18 years of age or older (there is no maximum age set by statute)
- be a legal California resident
- complete a course of study approved by the Secretary of State
- satisfactorily complete and pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State
- clear a background check
The following is a check list identifying the steps that must be completed to obtain a notary public commission:
- Complete Approved Education
- Register for the Exam
- Take the Exam
- Submit Fingerprints via Live Scan
- Await Commission Packet
- Purchase Notary Public Materials
- File Notary Public Oath & Bond
Applicants found to be non-compliant with child or family support orders will be issued temporary term notary public commissions. Notaries public found to be non-compliant after the notary public commission is issued may be subject to commission suspension or revocation. (Family Code section 17520.)
State law requires all applicants be fingerprinted as part of a background check prior to being granted an appointment as a notary public. Information concerning the fingerprinting requirement will be mailed to applicants who pass the examination.
All applicants are required to disclose on their application any arrests for which trial is pending and all convictions. Convictions dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4 or 1203.4a must be disclosed. If you have any questions concerning the disclosure of convictions or arrests, contact the Secretary of State prior to signing the application.
For specifics about your arrest(s) and or conviction(s), please contact the California Department of Justice at (916) 227-3849.
The Secretary of State will recommend denial of an application for the following reasons:
- Failure to disclose any arrest or conviction;
- Conviction of a felony where not less than 10 years have passed since the completion of probation;
- Conviction of a disqualifying misdemeanor where not less than 5 years have passed since the completion of probation; or
- A determination that the facts of a particular case warrant denial, such as the nature and severity of the act or the presence of aggravating factors.
For additional information, please review the Disciplinary Guidelines.