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Notary Rotary

Welcome to Notary Public 101

Here, you can learn how to become a notary, how to renew your notary commission, and where to find educational opportunities for notaries public.

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Notary Education
Become a Notary in California
Find a Notary Class in California
Begin Notary Public 101

In most states, becoming a notary public involves meeting a number of requirements. Generally, you must be 18 years of age, not have a serious criminal history, and successfully complete an application process. In some states, the notary application process will require notary education (ranging from a simple online course to a notary class and competency exam) and a background check, as well as the purchase of a surety bond. A more thorough explanation for your state is described below.

Become a California Notary Public with Notary Rotary


The process for becoming a California notary public is involved and often takes several months, especially for a new applicant. California is among a handful of states that require notary education in the form of an approved course, a notary exam, and a thorough background check prior to approval. After receiving approval, California notaries public must purchase a notary bond, a seal stamp from an approved vendor, and a notary journal, at a minimum.

Notary Rotary has been approved by the State of California to educate notaries, manufacture stamps and write notary bonds and insurance. In short, we can handle all of your needs throughout the process of becoming a commissioned notary or renewing your current commission.

The following is an overview of the steps that must be taken in order to obtain a California notary commission with Notary Rotary. By choosing Notary Rotary as your vendor, you will likely save a considerable amount of money over other organizations. Not only that, but we're about as fast as it gets when it comes to order fulfillment and delivery.

These instructions assume you meet the basic notary qualifications for California with respect to age, residency, criminal background and character. Before proceeding with Step 1, you may want to review the qualifications required to become a California notary public by clicking here.

STEP 1: Notary Education

  • Purchase the Notary Public 101™ notary course from the Notary Supplies tab. Notary Rotary is a State-approved educational vendor.

    California notary course

    • Once our study guide arrives in the mail, start studying. Approximate time: 5 hours.
    • After reading our course guide, Notary Public 101™, The Functions and Duties of a California Notary Public, you must register with our web site (if not already registered), to log-in and take the practice exam. You must pass the exam before continuing to the next step. You may have to retake the exam at least once, because passing on the first attempt is extremely difficult. Approximate time: 1 hour.
    • Mail, fax or e-mail us your signed and completed Statement of Student Participation, along with a copy of your California Driver License. (Note that more detailed instructions will be provided with your course.)
    • After verifying your Statement, we will issue you a Proof of Completion certificate.

STEP 2: Notary Application and State Exam

  • Download the State of California new or reappointing commission Notary Public Application and complete it.
      • Once completed, you must attach the Proof of Completion we will send you to the application. Both items should be taken to the official exam center. Approximate time: 1 hour


  • Schedule your exam with the CPS testing service and take it!
    • Please make sure to follow their instructions. Know what you need to bring and be prepared! Approximate time: 3 hours (with travel)

STEP 3: Wait for Exam Results and Follow Instructions

  • If you passed, you may need to have your fingerprints taken at a Livescan facility as part of a thorough background check.
    • Please follow the instructions that are included with your exam results very carefully. Note that receiving your results may take several weeks. Approximate time: 3 weeks.
    • IMPORTANT: You may not purchase your bond or stamp at this time. You may only purchase these items after receiving your official commission certificate and your Certificate of Authorization from the California Secretary of State.

STEP 4: Wait for Commission Packet and Follow Instructions

  • If you meet all qualifications and the Secretary of State is satisfied with your application and background, they will grant you a commission. It will arrive by U.S. Mail, usually 2 - 3 months after your fingerprints have been taken.
    • Your commission packet will include an official commission certicate, oath filing forms, a Certificate of Authorization and instructions. Approximate time: 8 weeks.
    • It is important that you follow the instructions in your packet carefully. Step 5 covers the purchase of your supplies and filing of your notary bond.

      You have a limited amount of time to purchase and file your notary bond.

      If you do not purchase and file your bond in time, you will forfeit your commission and must follow the requalification procedures.

STEP 5: Purchase Notary Supplies and File Notary Bond with County

  • The day you receive your commission packet, return to the Notary Supplies tab to purchase the following:

    California notary bondStingray™ notary seal stampModern Journal of Notarial EventsAccuPrint touch padUltimark Traveler notary seal stampIdeal Model M Notary Seal EmbosserStingray™ pre-inked jurat stampCalifornia acknowledgment certificatesNotary errors & omissions liability insurance

    Notary Rotary is an approved seal manufacturer (Mfr. Code NRO1, located in Des Moines, IA) and a licensed California insurance agency (#0E28847).

    • (1) $15,000 4-year notary bond
    • (1) Stingray™ premium pre-inked notary seal stamp
    • (1) Modern Journal of Notarial Events™ notary record book
    • (1) AccuPrint™ professional thumprint pad
          required for real property transactions
    • (1) Backup notary seal stamp of your choice
          optional - a replacement stamp can take up to 10 days to obtain, so a backup is a very good idea
    • (1) Ideal Model M seal embosser
          optional - may be needed for documents destined for overseas
    • (1) Jurat stamp
          optional - for stamping jurat wording onto documents that don't already have it
    • (1) Set of California acknowledgment certificates
          optional - for use when taking acknowledgments in support of documents that lack proper acknowledgment wording
    • (1) 4-year Errors & Omissions insurance policy
          optional, but strongly recommended - helps to protect you from financial loss arising out of lawsuits

  • Send us your original Certificate of Authorization so that we may release any seals you have purchased.

    Certificate of Authorization instructions

  • After you receive your order from us, immediately take the notary bond to your county recording for filing and to take your oath. Instructions for this were included in the packet you received from the Secretary of State!

    IMPORTANT: Some notaries purchase their bond and E&O insurance in one order and all other supplies in another order. Doing so ensures that the bond and liability insurance policy shipping will not be delayed by the notary seal requirements. This is a very good idea if you were slow to order your notary supplies.


As a final note, should you have any notarial questions during the term of your commission, you should call the California Secretary of State's office at (916) 653–3595. They are THE OFFICIAL AUTHORITY when it comes to notarial procedures in California.


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