How to Become a Notary in Florida

Becoming a Florida Notary

The Florida Notary Service provides an easy and efficient way to meet your notary requirements online and renew your notary commission. We will certify your notary commission with the state and give you an all-inclusive notary package that helps you complete the application. Keep reading to learn what is included in our notary package and what steps to take in order to become a notary public in Florida.

What Is Included in Our Florida Notary Service Package?

When you apply to become a notary with the Florida Notary Service, you receive the following benefits in our all-in-one package:

  • Covered state filing fee
  • Official Notary Commission Certificate
  • $7,500 Notary Bond
  • Self-inking Notary Stamp
  • Journal for Notary Recording
  • Online access to notary course and reference material
  • Certified Notary Commission with the State

How to Become a Notary in Florida

Whether you’re applying to be a Florida notary for the first time or renewing your application, follow these seven simple steps:

Step 1: Read Chapter 117 in the Florida Statutes on how to become a Florida Notary Public

Step 2: Take the Florida notary education course

Step 3: Contact the Florida Notary Service

Step 4: Complete the notary application online

Step 5: Gather the required documentation

Step 6: Place a notary stamp or seal on your application

Step 7: Submit your application

If you are a first-time applicant for a Florida notary commission, you must submit proof that you have completed at least three hours of a notary education course within one year prior to the application to become a notary in FL.

The Florida Notary Service offers an online notary course in conjunction with our registration package. You will receive a course completion certificate at the end of the course that needs to be signed and returned to us with your notary application materials.

Below you will find a more detailed explanation of each step required to becoming a notary.

Step 1: Read Chapter 117 in the Florida Statutes on how to become a Notary Public in Florida

Reading Chapter 117 in the Florida Statutes in its entirety is a requirement before submitting your notary application.

In this FL statute, you will find information on:

  • The appointment, application, suspension and revocation process of a notary
  • Electronic notarization
  • Administration of oaths
  • Acknowledgements
  • Marriages
  • Use of notary commission
  • Validity of acts prior to April 1, 1903
  • Law enforcement and correctional officers (administration of oath)
  • Certification of notary’s authority by Secretary of State
  • False or fraudulent acknowledgements and associated penalties
  • Prohibited acts
  • Validity of acts, seals, and certificates prior to January 1, 1995

Step 2: Take the Florida Notary Education Course

If you are a first-time applicant for a FL notary commission, you must submit proof that you have completed a three-hour notary education course within one year prior to the application. The American Safety Council provides this course free of charge.

Upon completing the course, you must submit a signed Certificate of Course Completion to the American Association of Notaries.

If you are renewing your notary application, you may skip this step and continue with the next step.

Step 3: Contact the Florida Notary Service

The state of Florida does not give out notary applications; however, bonding agencies, like the Florida Notary Service, do. With one payment, you will receive the application while we pay your state fees, write your notary bond and supply your notary seal.

Step 4: Complete the Notary Application

When filling out our online notary application, you will be requested to provide the following:

  • Personal information, like your name, age and contact information.
  • Employer information, like the name of your employer and how long you’ve been working.
  • Character affidavit—This is a statement from a person who knows you personally, but cannot be related to you, swearing that you are of good character.
  • Oath of Office
  • Bond—The State of Florida requires all notaries to carry a minimum of a 4-year $7,500 bond. This bond does not protect the notary, but is put in place to protect against damages a notary may cause. The state filing fee for this bond is a state-mandated $39. This is also included in your notary package.

If there is any information missing, your application will be returned to the Florida Notary Service until all necessary materials have been submitted.

If you have been convicted of a felony, had adjudication withheld or are on probation, you must submit the following documents:

  1. A written statement regarding the nature and circumstances of the felony charges
  2. A copy of the Judgment and Sentencing Order
  3. If convicted, a copy of the Certification of Restoration of Civil Rights (or pardon)

Step 5: Gather Required Documentation

To prove that you meet the state residency and age requirements for becoming a Florida notary, you will have to provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of residency—this can be a Florida driver license, car registration or voter registration
  • Age requirement—this can be a birth certificate or state-issued identification

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must file and complete a Declaration of Domicile. This must be obtained and filed at your county seat.

Step 6: Place a Notary Stamp or Seal on Your Application

Each document of a Florida notary must be marked with an approved rubber stamp using black ink. This stamp or seal should include your name and commission number, along with the words “Notary Public State of Florida.” Our Notary Package provides you with a self-inking notary stamp.

Step 7: Submit Your Application

Submitting your Florida Notary application through our website is easy and simple—after you complete the application, we will submit it to the state for further review. This process usually takes two to three weeks from when we receive your materials. Once your application is approved and the state issues you a notary commission, we will send you your official notary supplies and materials.

elderly woman signing a document at the office with managers

Requirements to Become a Notary in Florida

You may become a notary in Florida if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You are a legal resident of Florida.
  • You can read, write and understand the English language.
  • You are not a convicted felon (unless you have had your civil rights restored).

How Do I Renew My Notary Commission?

If you need to renew your notary commission, register with the Florida Notary Service and complete the information requested online. After filling out the application in its entirety, print your completed registration forms for signature and return them to our office for processing.

Notary Supplies and Services Provided by the Florida Notary Service

In addition to providing a comprehensive notary application package, the Florida Notary Service also offers the following supplies and services:

Notary Services

  • Name Change—If you applied to become a notary through the Florida Notary Service, you must contact one of our representatives for assistance with a notary commission name change. The cost for this service is $85 and includes filing your paperwork and the required state fee.
  • Address Change—If you need to change your address, change it on your Florida Notary Commission.
  • Lost Seal—If you applied to become a notary through the Florida Notary Service, contact one of our representatives to replace a lost seal.

Notary Supplies

  • Embosser—Our notary embosser is a necessity if you would like to have a raised seal on important legal documents. Even if a raised seal is not required on a document, you will find this embosser adds that extra touch many of your customers will be looking for.
  • Desk Sign—We offer personalized desk signs with your name and the title of “Notary Public.
  • Self-Inking Stamps—The Florida Notary Service offers three types of stamps: oath, acknowledgement and affidavit.
  • Notary Record Book—This item is ideally suited for a notary’s recordkeeping. You may document your notary activities, maintain records for tax purposes and document any other transaction you make. This record book is 66 pages and includes space for over 250 records.
  • Wedding Guide—Florida is one of the few states that authorize notaries public to perform marriage ceremonies. This guide provides information on performing marriages in Florida, your responsibilities and a step-by-step guide to a variety of marriage ceremonies.
  • Florida Business Guide—Whether you’re starting or operating a business in Florida, you will need to make sure all state and local business registration requirements have been met. This 75-page publication includes information for registering with the appropriate state regulatory authorities, contacting the Florida Department of Revenue to obtain the required tax information and applying for occupational licenses.

Commonly Asked Questions About Becoming a Notary in Florida

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is an official appointed by the state government—typically by the secretary of state—to serve the public by administering oaths, taking acknowledgements of deeds and other instruments, certifying certain documents and performing other duties specified by law. There are six basic duties that a Notary Public is required to perform:

  1. Administer oaths or affirmations
  2. Take acknowledgements
  3. Attest to photocopies of certain documents
  4. Solemnize marriages
  5. Verify vehicle identification numbers (VINs)
  6. Certify the contents of safe deposit boxes

How long does it take to become a notary in Florida?

The process to become a notary in Florida generally takes two to three weeks from the time your documents are submitted. Once they are processed internally by the American Safety Council, the state will issue your notary commission and you’ll receive your commission certificate, notary stamps and log book shortly after.

What is a notary bond?

A notary bond in the amount of $7,500 is required by law in Florida to be available in order to compensate an individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the notary. The bond protects a notary’s client.

Your notary bond is automatically included with your new or renewal notary commission package with the Florida Notary Service. The bonding agency for the Florida Notary Service is American Safety Council. All notary bonds are written through Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America.

What is E&O insurance?

E&O (Errors and Omissions), or Professional Liability Insurance, is an optional insurance that protects the Notary against claims for any negligent act, error or omission committed or alleged to have been committed when acting in capacity as a Notary Public, subject to all terms and conditions of the policy.

The expense of legal defense is also insured even if the suit is groundless, false, or fraudulent. Legal defense is included in the limit of liability.

At Florida Notary Service.com, our E&O insurance is underwritten by Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, an A+ rated company for your protection and peace of mind.

What happens if my application gets denied?

If your application is denied, it will not be subject to subsequent review. We encourage applicants who were denied a notary public commission to re-submit an application one year after the date the application was signed.

When re-applying, you are welcome to provide any supplemental materials that demonstrate your ability to serve in public office as a notary, such as letters of recommendation from professional contacts.

What happens if I lose my notary seal or stamp?

If your seal is misplaced or stolen, contact the Department of State or the Governor in writing.

Can I notarize documents belonging to me or my family?

No. Notaries must be impartial witnesses to any transactions. While most states don’t have a specific ban on notaries notarizing documents for family members, notaries are cautioned against notarizing for family members related by blood or marriage because they are forbidden to notarize any document, or participate in any notarial procedure, from which they may profit or gain a financial benefit.

How long does a Florida Notary Commission last?

A Florida Notary Commission lasts for four years. After four years, you will have to renew your commission by reapplying.

Benefits of Becoming a Notary in Florida

Becoming a notary in Florida empowers you to enjoy multiple benefits, including:

  • The ability to make additional income
  • Power as a notary signing agent
  • Improvement of your resume and skill set
  • Flexible schedule
  • Ability to help your community

Apply to Become a Notary in Florida

Now that you know the necessary steps and requirements to becoming a notary in Florida, apply online as a first-time applicant or renew your current notary commission today.

Sources:

Florida Statutes: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0117/0117.html 

Notaries: https://www.notaries.com/downloads/notary-documents/FloridaNotaryAddressChangeForm.pdf 

Florida Senate Website Archive: http://archive.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0100-0199/0117/Sections/0117.05.html

FL Gov: http://www.flgov.com/notary_how_to/