How to Become a Notary in Florida
Notary Publics are authorized by the state government to act as official and impartial witnesses to verify identity and ensure that marriage certificates, deeds, wills, and other legal documents are signed according to law. Notary Publics can also administer oaths and bind the signer to a declaration that the information in the document is true and correct under penalty of perjury. Notaries are vital to the legal system and act as a first line of fraud-detection in many types of business transactions.
Preparing to Apply
Verify that you meet the age requirement.The state of Florida requires that you be at least 18 years old before you apply.You will need either a birth certificate or state-issued identification ready to present if you are asked to verify your age.
Verify that you meet the residency requirement.In order to become a notary, you must be a legal resident of Florida.Because of the number of part-time residents in the state, Florida requires you to swear or affirm that you are a legal resident on your application. This means that you physically reside in the state and treat it as your home. Examples of proof of residency include driver's license, Florida car registration, and Florida voter registration.
Document your citizenship status and domicile.It is not a requirement that you be a citizen of the United States to be a Notary Public. If you are a permanent resident alien, you must complete, file, and submit a Declaration of Domicile.This form is available at the courthouse in the county where you live. You must file it at your county seat, even if another courthouse is closer to your home. You will attach this form to your application.
Review your criminal and professional history.A criminal record is not an automatic bar to becoming a notary in Florida. The application requires that you first swear that you have not been disciplined by a regulatory or other licensing agency in the state. Examples of this includes the Bar Association for attorneys. You must disclose all professional disciplinary actions taken against you by the licensing authority, even if they were confidential and not part of your public record.If you have a prior conviction for a felony you must provide three documents:
- A written statement about your charges. You should include the date, the nature of the crime, and anything you want to say about the circumstances of the crime and your life since the conviction.
- A copy of the judgment and sentencing order (also called journal entries.) You must order a certified copy of this document from the court where you were sentenced, even if it is in another state or federal court. There may be a fee, so check with the court clerk.
- Documentation that your civil rights have been restored. Florida has a straight-forward process for applying for a certificate of Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR.)A minimum of five years must have elapsed since the completion of your sentence to be eligible for an RCR.
Select your character reference.The Florida State notary application includes an "Affidavit of Character."This person needs to know you personally, not be related to you, and willing to swear, under penalty of perjury, that you are of good character.
Read of the Florida statutes on being a Notary Public.When you sign the application, you are swearing that you have read the chapter and are aware of the "duties, responsibilities, limitations, and powers of a notary public."
Complete the three-hour education course required by Florida law.The Electronic Commerce Bill enacted by the Florida Legislature states that "a first time applicant for a notary commission must submit proof that the applicant has, within one year prior to the application, completed at least three hours of interactive or classroom instruction, including electronic notarization, and covering the duties of the notary public."The required course can be taken online or at a school approved by the State of Florida.
Applying to Become a Florida Notary
Fill out the Notary Public Commission Application.The is interactive and most of the information can be typed in using your computer. Print out the completed form, but do not sign it. You and your character reference will sign it in the presence of a notary. Blue ink is preferred because it will make it easier to distinguish the original from a copy..
Select a bonding company.Florida law requires that notaries carry a performance bond of at least ,500.Being "bonded" means that the public is protected from damages resulting from your actions as a notary. For example, if you notarize a deed without verifying the signer's identity and it turns out to be fraudulent, the buyer may be able to file a claim against the surety company. Note, this does not protect you from being sued by the bond issuer.The state maintains a list of approved surety bonding companies that will issue your bond and submit your completed and verified application to the state. Contact the companies for the scope and cost of this service.
Submit your notary application.Your complete application will be submitted electronically through the bonding company that you have selected. The package must include the following:
- The completed and verified application form with character affidavit.
- The stating that you have obtained the necessary bond.
- An official certificate stating that you completed at least 3 hours of notary education.
- Required back-up documents regarding your residency, domicile, and felony status.
- A .00 fee ( application fee, commission fee, and surcharge.) The commission fee may be waived for combat or disabled veterans.
Practicing as a Florida Notary
Receive your Notary Commission certificate.If your application is approved, you will receive your certificate from the state within two to three weeks. Keep your certificate in a safe place and be prepared to show it to customers if requested.
Purchase a notary seal.Your official notary seal is a rubber stamp with the words "Notary Public - State of Florida" along with your name, commission number, and your commission's expiration date. It must be purchased from your bonding company.
- You may choose to have an eagle or other symbol included on your stamp.
- Notary stamps should always be used with black ink.
Begin practicing as a notary.Offer your services as a notary public by placing a sign in the window of your business, advertising, or letting people know that you have received your commission. The state of Florida has set legal maximum fees of .00 per notarial service (legal documents, title transfers, etc.) and .00 for solemnizing a marriage ceremony.
Keep a notary journal.As you begin acting in service to your community as a notary, protect yourself by keeping a notary journal with a record of each act you perform. This is not mandatory in Florida, but it could protect you, especially since notaries are not authorized to keep copies of legal documents to prove their involvement.
Consider getting insurance coverage.You are legally responsible for every act you perform as a notary, and sometimes disagreements arise. Consider buying liability insurance to protect yourself in the event that you get sued.
QuestionMy bonding license expired in 2014, can I still renew or do I have to reapply?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can renew with no problem, just make sure you update your information. Reapplying is for those whose applications were denied.Thanks!
QuestionIf you live in Georgia, can you be a notary for Florida and Georgia?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you cannot be a notary in any state other than the one in which you reside.Thanks!
QuestionIf I am a Notary Public in my state, do I need to retake the exam if I move to Florida or is there a transfer process?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. A Notary License cannot be transferred from state to state. You must reapply.Thanks!
QuestionCan I do a notary service for a close relative?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you could.Thanks!
How can you transfer your notary license to another state?
Can you be a notary if you are a green card holder?
What would be the cost to get the extra liability insurance to be covered from someone trying to sue.
How many years do I need to renew the license to become a notary?
Where can I find a list of approved Bonding Companies? Also, is there is a list of Florida Notary Publics?
- The term for a notary is 4 years, after which the certificate must be renewed.
- You must report every change of address or name.
- If you want to stop being a notary, you must inform the state in writing.
- Keep your notary seal in a safe and secure place so it cannot be stolen or misused.
Video: HOW TO BECOME A FLORIDA NOTARY AARON NOTARY
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