How to Become a Florida Notary
The Florida Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a Florida notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Florida notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The state appoints Florida notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Florida is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Florida notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- The process to become a Florida notary
- Who can become a Florida notary
- Basic Florida notary duties
Qualifications to become a notary in Florida:
To become a Florida notary public, a notary applicant must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a legal resident of Florida
- Be a permanent resident alien with proof of Declaration of Domicile
- Be able to read, write, and understand the English language
- If ever convicted of a felony, must have civil rights restored
The process to become a notary in Florida:
In order to become a Florida notary and receive a Florida notary commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the qualification requirements listed in the previous section.
- Satisfactorily complete a 3-hour notary educational course that includes electronic notarization within one year prior to submitting the Florida notary application and read Chapter 117 of the Florida Statutes. A notary applicant may satisfy this requirement by completing, at no cost, the notary course offered by the Florida Department of State and the Governor’s Office on the internet.
- Complete a notary application through a bonding agency that have been approved to electronically submit application information to the Division of Corporations and pay a $39 application fee.
Can a non-resident become a notary in Florida?
No. A notary applicant who is not a legal resident of Florida does not qualify for a Florida notary public commission.
Is a Florida notary bond required to become a notary in Florida?
Yes. A Florida notary bond in the amount of $7,500 is required for new and renewing notaries public. To purchase a Florida notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.floridanotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
Do I need a Florida notary errors & omission insurance?
Optional. Errors and Omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that resulted in financial damages to the public or a document signer. The American Association of Notaries recommends Florida notaries public to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability. For additional information, visit our website at www.floridanotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Florida?
To become a notary in Florida, an applicant must include a $39 filing fee when submitting his or her notary application for appointment or reappointment, plus the cost of the required notary bond and the official notary stamp. No commission fee is required from a veteran who has served in wartime service and who has a disability rating of 50%.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Florida?
The term of office of a Florida notary public is four years, commencing with the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void by resignation, death, revocation, or when the notary public ceases to reside in Florida.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Florida?
A Florida notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Florida. Likewise, a Florida notary public may not perform notarial acts in another state.
Who appoints Florida notaries public?
The Governor of Florida appoints Florida notaries public.
To contact the Notary Section of the Governor’s Office:
Executive Office of the Governor
The Capitol, Suite 209
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
To contact the Department of State:
Florida Department of State
Division of Corporations
2661 Executive Center Cir. (32301)
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
How do I renew my Florida notary commission?
The application process for reappointment is exactly the same as for a first-time appointment. The Department of State suggests that Florida renewing notaries submit their notary public commission applications approximately six months in advance of their current commission expiration date.
Are there any exams or notary course requirements?
A first-time applicant for a notary commission must submit proof that he or she has, within one year prior to the application, completed at least three hours of interactive or classroom instruction , which must have covered electronic notarization and the duties of the notary public.
A notary applicant may also satisfy this requirement by completing, at no cost, an online course offered by the Florida Department of State and the Governor’s Office. After completing the educational course, the notary applicant can download a certificate of completion which can be submitted with the application for appointment.
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Florida?
Florida law requires all notaries public to use a notary stamp with black ink color to authenticate all notarial acts. Section 117.05(3)(a) of the Florida Statutes provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary official seals.
Required Elements: The notary public stamp must include the following:
- The name of the notary public
- The date of expiration of the commission of the notary public
- The commission number assigned to the notary public
- The words "Notary Public"
- The words "State of Florida"
The dimensions of the notary stamp are not specified by the Florida statutes. No emblem or symbol is required or is prohibited. However, the use of the Great Seal of the State of Florida on the notary stamp is strictly prohibited.
Notaries may use a notary seal embosser in addition to the inked notary stamp seal, but the notary inked stamp is the official notary seal for use on paper documents; notaries cannot use a notary metal seal embosser by itself. For electronic notarization, a notary must affix the information contained in his or her notary seal but does not need to affix the image of the physical notary seal. See Florida Statutes, Section 117.021(3).
Is a notary journal required in Florida?
No. Florida law does not require a Florida notary public to record his or her notarial acts in a notary journal. However, the Governor’s Task Force on Notaries Public and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that Florida notaries record their notarial acts in a notary journal as a protective measure against liability. For Florida notary supplies, visit our website or call (800) 721-2663.
How much can a Florida notary charge for performing notarial acts?
Florida notary fees are set by statute. The maximum allowable fees that a Florida notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $10.00
- Oaths or affirmations - $10.00
- Jurats - $10.00
- Protests - $10.00
- Copy Certifications - $10.00
- Solemnizing a Marriage - $30.00
- Verifying a VIN - $20.00
What notarial acts can a Florida notary public perform?
A Florida notary public is authorized to perform six notarial acts:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths or affirmations
- Attest to photocopies
- Solemnize marriages
- Verify vehicle identification numbers (VINs)
- Certify the contents of a safe-deposit box
Can I perform electronic notarization in Florida
The Florida Statutes, Title X, Chapter 117, Section 117.021 authorizes electronic notarizations. The Department of State adopted rules that established the definitions and notary signature for electronic notarizations. Any public key certificate or electronic notary system that is used to affix the notary’s electronic signature and seal information is issued at the third or higher level of assurance as defined by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-63 (NIST 800-63), Electronic Authentication Guideline Version 1.0.2, which is incorporated by referenced in Rule 1N-5.002. See Florida Administrative Code 1N-5.001 and 1N-5.002.
How do I change my address?
A Florida notary is required to notify the Department of State of any change of his or her business address, home telephone number, business telephone number, home address, or criminal record within 60 days after such change.
How do I change my name on my Florida notary commission?
A Florida notary who lawfully changes his or her name during the term of the commission must request an amended notary commission from one of the approved bonding agencies and submit (1) a completed notice of name change form (DS-DE 77A); (2) his or her current commission; (3) rider to current notary public bond; and (4) a $25 check or money order payable to Department of State. In addition, the notary must send a notice of name change to the Division via electronic transfer. To file a name change, visit the Department of State website. A Florida notary public may continue to perform notarial acts in his or her former name until the amended commission is received.
A Florida notary public or his or her representative is required to send a signed letter to the Governor’s office if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence in Florida during the entire term of appointment; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (3) is deceased; and (4) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Department of State’s revocation process. If any of the above-mentioned events take place, the notary or his or her representative must immediately destroy the notary’s official seal.
Prohibited Florida notarial acts
These notary’s conducts provide a basis for disciplinary action:
- Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving advice concerning legal documents
- Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
- Using the phrase “notario” or “notario publico” to advertise notary services
- Overcharging for notary services in excess of fees authorized by law
- Notarizing a document without the signer being present at the time of the notarization
- Using a facsimile signature stamp unless the notary has a physical disability
- Notarizing blank forms
- Providing notary services for a signer who has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated by a court
- Providing notary services for a signer who is mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the signing of such document
- Providing notary services to a signer who does not speak or understand the English language
- Changing anything in the document after it has been signed by anyone
- Amending the notarial certificate after the execution of the notarization
- Notarizing a signature on a document unless the notary personally knows the signer or has established the identity of the signer through satisfactory evidence of identification
- Attesting to the trueness of a photocopy of a recordable document
- Signing under any other name than his or her commissioned name
- Notarizing a document that is incomplete
- Notarizing a document that contains blank spaces with the intent to be completed later without the presence of the notary public
- Performing notarial acts for immediate family members
- Notarizing a document in which he or she has a financial or beneficial interest in or is named as a party to the transaction
- Notarizing his or her own signature
- Guaranteeing a signature with his or her notary seal
- Certifying the authenticity of objects, such as art or sports memorabilia
- Judging contests or certifying contest results
- Certifying a person’s residency or United States citizenship status
- Making a material false statement on the application for a notary public commission
- Providing misleading advertising relating to notary public services
- Failing to report a change in business or home address or telephone number
- Not providing documentation to amend his or her notary commission after a lawful name change within the specified period of time
- Committing fraud, misrepresentation, or any intentional violation of Chapter 117
- Taking the acknowledgment of a blind person without reading the document to the blind person
- Correcting mistakes in a notarial certificate after the performance of the notarial act and without the presence of the document signer
- Affixing his or her notary signature to a blank form of affidavit or certificate of acknowledgment and delivering that form to another person with the intent for it to be used as an affidavit acknowledgment
- Not maintaining the required notary surety bond
- Notarizing a document when the notary knew and suspected that the transaction was illegal, false, or deceptive
- Certifying a translation of a document
- Solemnizing a marriage without being licensed to perform marriages by law
Official notarial misconduct:
Florida notaries public, who commit official misconduct, may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, disciplinary action, and other official matters.
- No person shall obtain or use a notary public commission in other than his or her legal name, and it is unlawful for a notary public to notarize his or her own signature. Anyone who violates this provision is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
- Any person who acts as or impersonates a notary public while not lawfully appointed and commissioned to perform notarial acts is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
- Any person who unlawfully possesses a notary public official seal or any papers or copies relating to notarial acts is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
- Any notary public who knowingly acts as a notary public after his or her notary commission has expired is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
- A notary public who falsely or fraudulently takes an acknowledgment of an instrument as a notary public or who falsely or fraudulently makes a certificate as a notary public or who falsely takes or receives an acknowledgment of the signature on a written instrument is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
- A notary who notarizes the signature of a signer who is not in the presence of the notary at the time of the execution of the notarization is guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a penalty not exceeding $5,000.
Florida notary laws and regulations:
Florida Statutes, Title X, Chapter 117 (Notaries Public)
Florida Statutes, Title XL, Chapter 695 (Record of Conveyances of Real Estate)
Florida Administrative Code, Chapter: Electronic Notarization (IN-5.002)
The Governor’s Reference Manual for Notaries Public (Revised December 13, 2016)
Florida notarial certificates:
Click here to view Florida notarial certificates.
Revised: November 2017
Florida notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). Kal Tabbara is a licensed insurance agent in Florida.