Getting Your Notary Public Commission

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You have found your way to this page if you don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed.

First of all, take a deep breath.

I was in your shoes and am pleased to say I made it out to the other side. Getting your notary commission in California is possible, and it’s not as tough as you might think it is.

The main reason I decided to make this page for you.

It will be a place that will link to all the steps required to complete your notary journey.


A Few Important Reminders

Before we start, I want to ensure you know a few things. The notary commission cost will be approximately $250-$450 (I completed my training and exam at the end of 2021) and will take around two to three months.

The cost is that nothing is free, especially in California. Every step you take, from the required training, passport photo, and exam to filling your oath of office, will cost something.

Getting your commission will take less time than it took me.

I will share with you some ideas to shorten the time. I started my process at the end of September 2021 and received my commission and all required supplies in the middle of December, which was just under three months.


Outline for What To Do

Let’s get to the good stuff—the steps you need to take to get your commission.

I want to address this one more time. These are the steps to take if you live in the state of California. All states have different rules and what is required.

  1. Determine if this is something you want to do. You should also confirm you meet the basic requirements.
  2. Take the six-hour California required training.
  3. I suggest reading the Notary Public Handbook too, and it will help for the exam.
  4. Sign up for the California exam.
  5. Complete the required training and print out the certificate of completion (you will take this to the exam).
  6. Fill out and print the Notary Public Application.
  7. Ensure you have everything you need for the exam (such as the application, certificate of completion, check for the exam fee, and a passport photo, to name a few). Click here for the current required documents.
  8. Take the state exam, don’t forget to bring the required documents.
    • When you go to the exam, a few things to remember, you should bring two #2 pencils and turn your phone off (don’t use it at any time once in the testing room).
    • Check COVID restrictions. When I took the exam, a face mask was required.
    • The testing staff doesn’t provide anything.
  9. Wait for your exam results. You will find out at the test but plan for two weeks.
  10. Submit fingerprints for a background check.
  11. Wait for your commission packet.
  12. Get a bond—a notary requirement for the state of California. Don’t purchase anything until you receive your commission.
  13. You should also order the minimum supplies needed to perform notarial acts.
  14. Take the required paperwork (commission packet and the bond you know have) to your county recorder to be filed.

This one is optional, but I would suggest taking some extra training. I ended up finding and completing the Notary Essentials class from the NNA.

Next Steps

After completing the above steps, you might want to know what else to do.

One thing that I found necessary is to get E&O insurance, which is in addition to the bond you must have on file.

These, again, are the basic things you need to have with your notary. There are supplies, but I will cover that in another post.

I will go into it later, but something else to consider is that you don’t just have to do the general $15 notarial signings. There are ways to make more money, which I will get into later. Stay tuned to learn more about my journey.

More Questions?

If you have any questions about preparing for the notary exam, let me know in the comments below.

I remember I had difficulty figuring out all the steps in the process. And I don’t want you to go through what I did.

Looking at the above list, you might think it’s a lot of work. And it is, but if you take each step one at a time, you will have your notary commission before you know it.

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