Florida Notary Common Questions


What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a state public officer appointed and commissioned by the Governor whose function is to: administer oaths, take acknowledgments of deeds and other instruments, attest to or certify photocopies of certain documents, and perform other duties specified by law.  Notaries are authorized by law to perform six basic duties:

  1. Administer oaths or affirmations
  2. Take acknowledgements
  3. Attest to photocopies of certain documents
  4. Solemnize marriages
  5. Verify vehicle identification numbers (VINs)
  6. Certify the contents of safe deposit boxes

How do I become a Notary Public?

Register on this website and complete the information requested online.  Then print your completed registration forms for signature and return them to our office for processing.  New notaries will also be directed to the free online Notary Education Course. Your certificate of course completion provided at the end of the course must be signed and returned with your notary forms to our office.

What name should I use on my notary public commission application?

You must use your legal name.

Florida Statutes, Chapter 117.05  Use of notary commission; unlawful use; notary fee; seal; duties; employer liability; name change; advertising; photocopies; penalties.--

(1) 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. Any person applying for a notary public commission must submit proof of identity to the Department of State if so requested. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

What do I have to do in order to meet the Florida notary education requirement for new notaries?

A first-time applicant for a notary commission must submit proof that the applicant has, within 1 year prior to the application, completed at least 3 hours of interactive or classroom instruction, including electronic notarization, and covering the duties of the notary public. Courses satisfying this section may be offered by any public or private sector person or entity registered with the Executive Office of the Governor and must include a core curriculum approved by that office. (Florida Statutes, 668.50 (11)).

Click HERE to access the online notary course.

What is a Notary Bond and why is it required?

A notary bond in the amount of $7,500 is required by law in Florida.  A bond is required by the State to be available in order to compensate an individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the notary.  In other words, the bond protects a notary's client (not the notary). 

A notary's bond is their promise to fulfill the law or pay.  If a notary can't do either, their bonding company may have to but will then pursue the notary until it gets reimbursed for all losses, costs, and expenses.

Your notary bond is automatically included with your new or renewal notary commission package at Florida Notary Service.com. The bonding agency for Florida Notary Service.com is American Safety Council, Inc., Insurance Division. All notary bonds are written through Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America.

For insurance that protects you, see E & O Insurance below.

What is E & O Insurance?

Errors and Omissions (Professional Liability) Insurance, commonly referred to as E & O Insurance, protects you - the Notary.

Legal Liability: A Notary Public professional liability policy will protect you against claims for any negligent act, error or omission committed or alleged to have been committed when acting in your capacity as a Notary Public, subject to all terms and conditions of the policy.

Your Legal Defense:  The expense of legal defense is also insured even if the suit is groundless, false, or fraudulent. Legal defense is included in the limit of liability.

This is a brief summary of coverage and policy provisions. All statements herein are subject to the provisions, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy. Coverages afforded are only those for which application is made and for which a premium charge is indicated in the declarations of the policy.

At Florida Notary Service.com, our E & O insurance is underwritten by Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, an A+ rated company for your protection and peace of mind.  (Rated "A+" by A.M. Best Company.)

What happens if I lose my Notary Seal?

Lost Seal (117.05 (3)(d)   Be sure to scroll to paragraph (d)or this information.

A notary public whose official seal is lost, stolen, or believed to be in the possession of another person shall immediately notify the Department of State or the Governor in writing.

Click Here for additional information.

Where can I view sample notary documents?

Click Here for sample documents from the Florida Department of State.

This includes:
Form for an Oath or Affirmation
Form for an Acknowledgement in an Individual Capacity
Form for a Certified Copy

How long does it take to become a Florida notary or to renew my Florida notary commission?

This process normally takes two to three weeks from the time we receive your properly completed and signed materials from you. These materials are then processed by our office and your notary commission is issued by the state. Once your notary commission has been issued, you will receive your package from us that includes your commission certificate, notary stamp(s), and log book. You will receive a second, separate package if you order an embosser or certain other materials.

How do I renew my Florida notary commission?

Register on this website and complete the information requested online.  Then print your completed registration forms for signature and return them to our office for processing. 

What if I entered some incorrect information on my registration forms when I completed them online?

After you have printed your forms, simply strike through any incorrect information in ink and write in the correct information.  We will review your application once you return it to us by mail and we will update the information in our records for your filing.

Can I fax my registration materials or notary education course completion certificate?

Unfortunately, no.  The State of Florida requires that all registration materials and course completion certificates have original signatures.

How do I meet the education course requirement to become a Florida Notary Public?

A first-time applicant for a notary commission must submit proof that the applicant has, within 1 year prior to the application, completed at least 3 hours of interactive or classroom instruction, including electronic notarization, and covering the duties of the notary public. Courses satisfying this section may be offered by any public or private sector person or entity registered with the Executive Office of the Governor and must include a core curriculum approved by that office. (Florida Statutes, 668.50 (11))

Click here to access the online notary course. http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us/education/index.html

You will receive a course completion certificate at the end of the course that needs to be signed and returned to us with your notary application materials.

Why can't I use the same username and password for my registration made on this notary website that I use on the state's education course website?

The state's website requires you to establish a separate username and password to access the course.  If you lose your username and password for the education course, you will need to call the State of Florida to get the username and password for your course at the following telephone number: 850-922-6400.

What happens if I lose my notary stamp/notary seal?

A notary public whose official seal is lost, stolen, or believed to be in the possession of another person shall immediately notify the Department of State or the Governor in writing.

Click Here for additional information - Lost Seal (117.05 (3)(d) Be sure to scroll to paragraph (d).

Where can I find the laws and rules for being a Notary?

This following page provides additional information and links to Florida Statutes: http://www.floridanotaryservice.com/laws.aspx

This link provides access to the Governor's Reference Manual for Notaries: http://www.flgov.com/notary_ref_manual

What if I change my name after I get my commission?

If you change your name after you have been commissioned, you will need to complete a name change with the State. Please click on the link below and we would be glad to assist you with this.

http://www.floridanotaryservice.com/registration.aspx

You will need to mail this paperwork to our office with an original signature. Once we have processed the change and the name has been registered with the State, a new certificate and stamp will be sent to you.

Can I notarize my own documents or the documents of my family?

WITNESSES, RECORDS, AND DOCUMENTS
92.50 (Florida Statutes) Oaths, affidavits, and acknowledgments; who may take or administer; requirements.--

Can I perform the wedding of a family member?

NOTARIES AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM MARRIAGE CEREMONIES DOMESTIC RELATIONS - MARRIAGE

741.07 (Florida Statutes) Persons authorized to solemnize matrimony.
741.08 Marriage not to be solemnized without a license.

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