Step 1 – Meet the Basic State Requirements
The first item on your checklist should be to make sure you meet Pennsylvania’s basic notarial requirements. Are you at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. citizen? Are you able to read and write English? Here’s a checklist to make sure you are eligible:
Notarial Requirements in Pennsylvania
A commission term in Pennsylvania is valid for four years. Residents (which includes Delaware or New York residents who are employed in Pennsylvania) wishing to become eligible in the PA notary public commission must first meet the following four requirements:
- Must be U.S. citizen or have gained legal citizenship
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must be able to read and write English
- Must agree to adhere to any other guidelines set forth by the PA notary public commission
In addition to these, character is also a consideration. To become a notary in PA, you must not be disqualified under section 323 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, which lists general disqualifying actions like lying on your state application. Many states won’t approve prospective notaries with a felony on their record. You will also be ineligible if you’ve previously had your commission revoked.
Step 2 – Complete the State-Approved Notary Public Education Course
As of October 2017, all notaries in Pennsylvania – both new and reappointed – are required to complete a pre-approved, three-hour online training session. You must complete the notary public education course within the six-month period immediately preceding your application.
Our notary package provides this training to you fully online, in addition to simplifying the application process. Here’s how to get started:
- Complete all of the information requested here to start the application process. Keep in mind you will later need to enter your name on the state website the exact same way you did on Notaries.com.
- If you provide employment information (optional), your notary will be commissioned in the county you are employed in.
- If your business address is the same as your home address, you must include a letter to the Secretary of State explaining that your business is based at home.
- If you work in Pennsylvania but live elsewhere, you’ll need a letter from your employer stating how many hours per week you work in PA.
- After you complete the information above, you’ll next purchase your notary bond and customized notary stamp at Notaries.com. We’ll prompt you to provide information that will be later required for your state notary commission. Your notary bond and notary seal will not be issued or manufactured until the entire application process has been completed, which includes passing the notary exam and receiving your commission appointment from the state.
- Take the online education course at Notaries.com. Our course is interactive and can be accessed 24/7 on any web-based device, making it easy to work in your schedule.
Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll receive a notary education completion certificate that you’ll later upload to the state website.
Step 3 – Submit Official Pennsylvania State Notary Application
You must complete and submit the notary public application to become a notary in PA. When you purchase our application package with Notaries.com, we’ll provide you with a set of instructions to guide you through the application process at the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.
The application and reappointment form contain the information you need to become and remain state-approved.
We also provide you with additional helpful resources, including assistance checking your application status and information on the equipment you’ll need as a notary public in PA.
To become a notary in Pennsylvania, you’ll also be required to pay the state filing fee of $42. This fee is paid by you directly to the state.
Step 4 – Pass the Notary Exam
Once your application is submitted on the Pennsylvania state website and you’ve completed the approved education course, the state will give you directions for taking the official PA state notary exam. This exam costs $65 and is administered by third-party vendor Pearson Vue. A score of 75 is required to pass.
The process will look like this:
- You’ll receive an email from Pearson Vue with approval to test approximately two weeks after completing the application.
- Register to take the exam at a location near you.
- After you pass the exam, you’ll be issued your Notice of Appointee letter and a blank notary bond by the state. If you provided a business address on your application, the letter will be sent there.
Step 5 – Secure Commission Certificate and Notary Bond
A newly-appointed notary public is required to execute a notary bond of $10,000. As soon as you get your Notice of Appointee letter and bond from the state, it is critical that you mail them directly to Notaries.com, per our course instructions. The state only allows 45 days to complete the bond, take it to the Recorder of Deeds and get sworn in. If you don’t meet this deadline, your notary appointment will be voided and you’ll have to start from the beginning.
If you choose to have Notaries.com help you with your bond, we will complete your bond as part of your notary package and will send it to you along with your Notice of Appointee letter, customized notary stamp and record journal.
Another optional service to purchase is Notary Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance, which provides liability protection for notaries against claims of negligence or inaccurate work. E&O Insurance benefits can vary greatly depending on the policy, but it often covers court costs and the amount specified in the insurance contract.
Step 6 – Take the Oath of Office
Also within 45 days of your appointment, you must register your signature with a regulating notary official. Again, if you do not meet the requirements within the initial 45-day period, your appointment as a notary public is voided. When we send back your completed bond, letter and stamp, go to the Recorder of Deeds office of the county where your notary appointment is and get sworn in.
Once you have been sworn in and taken the oath of office, you are eligible as a notary public in PA.
If you need any additional notary supplies, you can order them from Notaries.com, including assorted sample forms, instruction manuals, seal wafers, ink bottles, self-inking stamps, a blacklight and a law dictionary. Many notary publics also buy a window decal to advertise their services around their community.