Become a California Notary

So you want to become a California notary? Great! We can help. Provided you meet the basic qualifications, here is a short list of the steps you will need to take:

New notaries must take a 6-hour course. Existing notaries may take a 3-hour course. Courses can be electronic or offered in a live classroom setting. A live classroom offers several advantages:

  • Passport photos are often offered as a convenience,
  • Live Scan is frequently available during class, and
  • The State Exam is usually given at the end of the class.
In other words, live California notary seminars can be a very convenient approach to meeting several requirements at one time. offers live notary seminars throughout the state.

Approximate Cost: $85
You will need a 2 inch x 2 inch color passport photo for your notary application. Either purchase this in advance or during your live class.

Approximate Cost: $10
You must have your fingerprints electronically scanned by a qualified Live Scan service provider. Your criminal record will be checked against the California Department of Justice and the FBI. You must not have any disqualifying factors in your background in order to become a California notary public.

You may complete this step during your live notary seminar with or you may find your own Live Scan service provider. Separate fees apply in both cases. That is, you will need to pay the Live Scan service. The fee will include a rolling fee and DOJ processing costs.

California Notary Live Scan Application

Approximate Cost: $59
Complete the state application and attach your passport photo to it. Bring the application with you to the live notary class or to your testing center if you completed a virtual notary course.

California Notary Public Application

Approximate Cost: $20
Take a state-proctored exam.

Approximate Cost: $20
Remember the Live Scan fingerprints you submitted? Well, the state is diligently checking your background. You must pass their check to become a notary. Results are usually available in 3 to 5 weeks.
To perform your role as a notary, you will need the following:

  • $15,000 4-year notary bond to file with your county
  • Notary journal
  • Thumbprint pad for real property transactions
  • One or more notary seal stamps
The following notary items are not required, but are strongly recommended:

  • $25,000 or $100,000 4-year notary errors and omissions insurance policy
  • Acknowledgment certificates
  • Jurat certificates
The final step in completing the commissioning process is to file your bond with your county recorder. The best way to do this is to visit your county recorder's office with your bond, notary commission, identification, and a form of payment. There will be a small filing/recording fee.

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