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What Are the Requirements to Become a Notary Public?

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    Function

    • The notary public witnesses signatures to prevent fraud and to ensure that certain documents, such as affidavits, deeds or powers of attorney, are legally binding. Notaries also administer oaths or affirmations.

    Eligibility

    • Requirements for becoming a notary public vary from state to state. In many states, a notary public must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. or state resident. Some states bar convicted felons from becoming notaries.

    First Steps

    • Fill out your state's notary public application, and enclose any required fees. A good source for information on applications is the National Notary Association.

    Tests

    • You might have to undergo a background check and take a test on notary public practices. Topics could include types of notarial acts, how to verify signers' identities and how to keep a notary journal.

    Final Steps

    • Once your application has been accepted--usually in one to two months--you will take an oath of office at your county clerk's or other government office.

    Considerations

    • You will have to purchase your own supplies, including special seals, stamps or embossers and a log book. Some notaries also buy liability insurance.

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