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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 1999 9:52 pm

How Does One Become A Notary Public?

Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:59 am

I am very interested in finding out more about notaries public. I had to use their services for getting documentation verified during my imigration process (to the Czech Republic where I am now living), and find it interesting how their seal makes copies of documents etc officially recognizable.

How does one become a notary, can anyone get a license to be one, is it linked to any course, test etc or what is the general requirement and where does one go to apply to be recognized as a notary public?

Once you're accepted, is it for life?

Once a notary, can you notarize, for example, a copy of your own birth certificate?
Posts: 976
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2003 4:43 am

RE: How Does One Become A Notary Public?

Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:04 am

In the US, I believe it varies by state. My wife is one in the State of New Hampshire. All it took was filling out a couple forms, signing some stuff (and having it notarized) and sending it to the state capitol. And then buying the little gizmo for stamping stuff.

What a long strange trip it's been
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:55 pm

RE: How Does One Become A Notary Public?

Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:54 am

In the United States, certain requirements to become a Notary Public vary by state. However, every state requires that a Notary Public maintain a written record of persons served. Most states also require that a Notary Public be bonded for a certain amount and commissions are not for life. Here in Arizona, persons applying to become a Notary Public must file all applications with the Superior Court in the county in which they reside. They must have a bond of at least $15,000 if I remember correctly and are subject to screening.

Notaries essentially serve the same purpose as court clerks in that they certify that the instrument is true and correct. Main difference is that court clerks can only certify instruments that are copies of originals on file with the court of record whereas the Notary Public only maintains the written log of documents Notarized and not original documents.

As for notarizing one's own birth certificate copy, it may or may not be legal and could certainly raise ethics concerns. Also, in most cases you would have to request a certified copy from the court or agency of record anyways, so notarizing the copy would only be a waste of time and money. As a deputy court clerk, we constantly get request for copies of marriage licenses and other similar documents such as divorce decrees or Clerk's Certificate of no record of previous marriage. Those cannot be notarized since the Notary cannot prove that they are True and Correct copies of the originals on file with the court. Also, those documents must bear the Seal of the Superior Court and the signature of the certifying court officer (in my case, a deputy clerk).
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