How to become an Illinois Notary

Abbreviation: IL   |   21st State   |   Statehood: December 3, 1818 |
How to become a notary in Illinois:
To become a notary in Illinois, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Be 18 years of age or older
  2. Be a resident of the State of Illinois for at least 30 days, or a resident of a qualifying state bordering Illinois who has worked or maintained a business in Illinois for 30 days preceding the application
  3. Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States
  4. Be able to read and write in the English language
  5. Have not been convicted of a felony
  6. Have never had a notary public commission revoked or suspended in the past 10 years
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Illinois:
In order to become an Illinois notary and receive an Illinois notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Purchase an Illinois surety bond in the amount of $5,000 from a bonding or surety company.
  3. Complete the Notary Public Application Form online, print it out, and have it notarized.
  4. Submit the notarized application, $5,000 bond, and a $10.00 filing fee to the Secretary of State.
  5. Provide a legible photocopy of the applicant’s driver’s license or state-issued identification card with the notary public application. Failure to provide a legible copy will result in rejection of the application. Upon approval of the application, the Secretary of State forwards the applicant’s commission to the county clerk of the county in which the applicant resides or is employed or where the place of business is located.
  6. Within 30 days after receiving notification from the county clerk the applicant must record his or her commission, accompanied by a specimen of his or her signature, at the office of the county clerk and pay a fee of $5.00, at which time the county clerk shall then deliver the commission to the applicant. If the commission is not filed with the county clerk within 60 days, the county clerk will return the commission to the Secretary of State and the commission will be cancelled.
  7. The notary can start performing notarial acts only after step 6 is completed.

 

Apply Online to Become an Illinois Notary

 
Can a non-resident become a notary in Illinois?
Yes. Residents of a state bordering Illinois whose place of work or business is within a county in Illinois may apply to become an Illinois notary public if they have been in Illinois for at least 30 days preceding their notary application, but only if the laws of their state authorize Illinois residents to be appointed and commissioned as notaries in their state. The qualifying bordering states include Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, which offer such reciprocation. Non-residents must satisfy the same qualifications as Illinois residents, submit a Non-Resident Notary Public Application Form, and follow the same notary application process and procedures as Illinois residents. Out-of-state residents are commissioned in the county in which they are employed or maintain a business in Illinois.
 
Is an Illinois notary bond required to become a notary in Illinois?
Yes. An Illinois notary bond in the amount of $5,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. To purchase an Illinois notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.
 
Do I need an Illinois notary errors & omissions 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 encourages Illinois notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability. For additional information, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Illinois?
To become a notary in Illinois, an applicant must include the $10 application processing fee when submitting his or her application for appointment or reappointment, plus the cost of the required bond, official seal, and journal (if the notary is required to maintain one).
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Illinois?
The term of office of an Illinois resident notary public is for four years, commencing with the date specified in the commission. The term of office of an Illinois non-resident notary public is for one year, commencing with the date specified in the commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; or (4) when the notary public ceases to reside or be employed or maintain a place of business in Illinois.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts?
An Illinois notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts throughout Illinois, so long as the notary resides in the same county in which the notary was commissioned, or if the notary is a resident of a state bordering Illinois so long as the notary’s principal place of work or place of business is in the same county in Illinois in which the notary was commissioned. Illinois notaries may perform notarial acts in the reciprocating states that include Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, only if the Illinois notaries are also commissioned notaries in those states.
 
Who appoints Illinois notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints Illinois notaries public.

 

To contact the Secretary of State:

 

Illinois Secretary of State
Index Department
Notary Division
111 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62756
(217) 782-7017
http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/index/notary/home.html

 
How to renew your Illinois notary commission:
The Secretary of State mails out a notice of the expiration date to the holder of a commission at least 60 days prior to the expiration of a commission, along with a new application and bond form. Every application for reappointment for an Illinois notary public calls for the same application process as the initial application for appointment.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become or renew your Illinois notary commission?
No course of study or examination is state mandated to become a notary public in Illinois or renew the notary’s commission.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Illinois?
State law requires all Illinois notaries to use an official rubber notary stamp, with black ink color to authenticate all notarial acts. The Illinois notary laws provide the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary seals (5 ILCS 312/3-101).

 

Dimensions: Be not more than one 1 inch in height by 2 ½ inches in length with a serrated or milled edge border in a rectangular form.

 

Required Elements: The notary stamp must contain the following information

  • The notary’s official name
  • The words “Official Seal”
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The words “State of Illinois”
  • The words “My Commission expires ___________” (commission expiration date)
  •  

    Note: If a notary public loses his or her official notary stamp, the Secretary of State recommends that the Illinois notary resign his or her commission and reapply for a new notary commission.

     
    Is a notary journal required in Illinois?
    No. Illinois law does not require an Illinois notary public to record his or her notarial acts in a journal. However, the Illinois Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that Illinois notaries record their notarial acts in a notary journal as a protective measure against liability. For Illinois notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.

     

    Note: Illinois notaries who perform a notarial act involving a document of conveyance that transfers or purports to transfer title to residential real property located in Cook County, Illinois, must create a notarial record with very specific details regarding the notarial act.

     
    How much can an Illinois notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Illinois notary fees are set by statute (5 ILCS 312/3-104[a]). The maximum allowable fees that an Illinois notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $1.00
  • Oaths or affirmations - $1.00
  • Witness or attest a signature - $1.00
  • Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $1.00
  •  

    Note: Illinois law requires Illinois notaries to keep a record of the fees they charge for notarial acts.

     
    What notarial acts can an Illinois notary public perform?
    An Illinois notary public is authorized to perform four notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Witness or attest a signature
  • Take verifications upon oath or affirmation
  •  

    Note: An Illinois notary public may not issue a certified copy of any documents.

    Can I perform electronic notarizations in Illinois?
    The State of Illinois has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, and/or procedures for electronic notarizations. However, Illinois enacted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (765 ILCS 33) authorizing a notary’s electronic signature. On August 25, 2017, the Illinois Notary Public Act was amended by adding a new section entitled “Notarization Task Force on Best Practices and Verification Standards to Implement Electronic Notarization” to study electronic notarizations and provide a report to the Governor and General Assembly no later than June 30, 2020. For all notarial acts, Illinois law mandates that the document signer must personally appear before the notary public physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials to each other without reliance on an electronic device such as a telephone, computer, video camera, or facsimile machine at the time of the performance of the notarial act. Illinois notaries public are prohibited from performing online webcam notarizations.
     
    How do I change my address?
    If an Illinois notary moves or changes employers, and the new residence or place of employment is within the boundaries of the county in which the notary was appointed, the notary merely reports the change of address to the Secretary of State. However, if a notary public moves from the county in which he or she was commissioned or, if a non-resident notary no longer maintains a principal place of work or principal place of business in the same county in Illinois in which he or she was commissioned, the notary commission ceases to be in effect and should be returned to the Secretary of State. These individuals who desire to become an Illinois notary public again must file a new application, bond, and oath with the Secretary of State.
     
    How do I change my name on my notary commission?
    When any Illinois notary legally changes his or her name, the notary must resign his or her commission and return it to the Secretary of State. These individuals who desire to become an Illinois notary public again must file a new application, bond, and oath with the Secretary of State. Resignations must be submitted to the Secretary of State.
     
    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    Although not required by state notary laws, an Illinois notary public or the notary’s representative should submit a letter of notice to the Secretary of State, along with the notary commission if the Notary: (1) no longer maintains residence or employment in Illinois 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 Secretary of State’s revocation process. An Illinois notary or his/her representative should immediately destroy the notary’s official seal and contact the Secretary of State for instructions regarding the notary journal.
     
    Prohibited Illinois Notarial Acts:
    These notary’s conducts provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action. The notary shall not:

  • Use any name or initial in signing certificates other than that by which the notary was commissioned.
  • Acknowledge any instrument in which the notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction.
  • Affix his or her signature to a blank form of affidavit or certificate of acknowledgment and deliver that form to another person with the intent that it be used as an affidavit or acknowledgment.
  • Take the acknowledgment of or administer an oath to any person whom the notary actually knows to have been adjudged to be mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction and who has not been restored to mental health as a matter of record.
  • Take the acknowledgment of any person who is blind until the notary has read the instrument to such person.
  • Take the acknowledgment of any person who does not speak or understand the English language, unless the nature and effect of the instrument to be notarized is translated into a language that the person does understand.
  • Change anything in a written instrument after it has been signed by anyone.
  • Prepare any legal instrument, or fill in the blanks of an instrument, other than a notary certificate; however, this prohibition shall not prohibit an attorney, who is also a notary public, from performing notarial acts for any document prepared by that attorney.
  • Use, in any document, advertisement, stationery, letterhead, business card, or other written material translated from English into another language, terms or titles including, but not limited to, notary public, notary, licensed, attorney, lawyer, or any other term that implies the person is an attorney (including the word “notario publico”).
  • Use facsimile signature stamps in signing his or her official notarial certificates.
  • Represent, hold himself or herself out, or advertise that he or she is an expert on immigration matters.
  • Provide any immigration assistance that requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of the law unless the notary is an attorney or an accredited immigration representative.
  • Accept payment in exchange for providing legal advice or any other assistance that requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of laws unless the notary is an attorney or an accredited immigration representative.
  •  
    Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Illinois notaries public, who commit official misconduct, may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, administrative disciplinary action, and other official matter for the following violations:
  • 5 ILCS 312/3-103—Failure to follow the procedures in this Section shall result in a fine of $1,000 for each written violation. The second violation shall result in suspension of notary authorization. The third violation shall result in permanent revocation of the commission of notary public. Violations shall not preempt or preclude additional appropriate civil or criminal penalties.
  • 5 ILCS 312/3-103(d)—Any person who aids, abets or otherwise induces another person to give false information concerning immigration status shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent offense committed within 5 years of a previous conviction for the same offense. Any notary public who violates the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of official misconduct and subject to fine or imprisonment. Nothing in this Section shall preclude any consumer of notary public services from pursuing other civil remedies available under the law.
  • 5 ILCS 312/3-103(f)—Violation of subsection (e) is a business offense punishable by a fine of 3 times the amount received for services, or $1,001 minimum, and restitution of the amount paid to the consumer. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to neither preempt nor preclude additional appropriate civil remedies or criminal charges available under law.
  • 5 ILCS 312/3-103(g)—If a notary public of this State is convicted of 2 or more business offenses involving a violation of this Act within a 12-month period while commissioned, or of 3 or more business offenses involving a violation of this Act within a 5-year period regardless of being commissioned, the Secretary shall automatically revoke the notary public commission of that person on the date that the person’s most recent business offense conviction is entered as a final judgment.
  • 5 ILCS 312/3-104—Maximum fee for immigration services. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent offense committed within 5 years of a previous conviction for the same offense.
  • 5 ILCS 312/7-105—Official Misconduct. (a) A notary public who knowingly and willfully commits any official misconduct is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. (b) A notary public who recklessly or negligently commits any official misconduct is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
  • 5 ILCS 312/7-106—Willful Impersonation. Any person who acts as, or otherwise willfully impersonates, a notary public while not lawfully appointed and commissioned to perform notarial acts is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
  • 5 ILCS 312/7-107—Wrongful Possession. Any person who unlawfully possesses a notary’s official seal is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding $1,000.
  • 5 ILCS 312/7-108—Revocation of Commission. The Secretary of State may revoke the commission of any notary public who, during the current term of appointment: (a) submits an application for commission and appointment as a notary public which contains substantial and material misstatement or omission of fact; or (b) is convicted of any felony, or official misconduct under this Act.
  • 5 ILCS 312/3-104(d)—All notaries public must provide receipts and keep records for fees accepted for services provided. Failure to provide receipts and keep records that can be presented as evidence of no wrongdoing shall be construed as a presumptive admission of allegations raised in complaints against the notary for violations related to accepting prohibited fees.
  • 5 ILCS 312/7-109—Action for Injunction, Unauthorized Practice of Law. Upon his own information or upon complaint of any person, the Attorney General or any State’s Attorney, or their designee, may maintain an action for injunctive relief in the circuit court against any notary public who renders, offers to render, or holds himself or herself out as rendering any service constituting the unauthorized practice of the law. Any organized bar association in this State may intervene in the action, at any stage of the proceeding, for good cause shown. The action may also be maintained by an organized bar association in this State. These remedies are in addition to, and not in substitution for, other available remedies.
  • Illinois Notary Laws and Regulations:
    The Illinois Notary Public Act, Chapter 5, Sections 312/1-101 through 7-109 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=107&ChapterID=2

     

    The Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act, Chapter 765, Sections 30/1 through 10 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2142&ChapterID=62

     
    Illinois Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Illinois notarial certificates.

    Revised: December 2017

    Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
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