To become a Maryland notary public, a person must meet all of the requirements listed below:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be of good moral character and integrity
- Live or work in the state of Maryland
- Be a resident of the senatorial district from which appointed
- If living outside of Maryland, the non-resident must be a resident of a state that allows Maryland residents working in that state to serve as notaries public in that state
Obtaining a Maryland notary public commission requires completion of the following steps:
- First, an applicant must meet the eligibility requirements.
- Next, he or she must properly complete and submit a notary application form to the Secretary of State with a $20 filing fee. Click here to download the application form -
- After the Secretary of State reviews the application, the application is forwarded to the applicant's State Senator for his or her recommendation.
- If the State Senator recommends the applicant for the office of notary public, the Secretary of State issues a commission and forwards it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county in which the notary resides or, for non-Maryland residents, the county in which the notary selected to be commissioned.
- The notary must then appear before the Clerk of the Circuit Court within 30 days to take the oath, pay an $11 filing fee, and receive the commission.
- Failure to qualify within the 30-day time period will result in the revocation of the notary commission.
Non-Resident Maryland Notary:
Permitted. Non-residents must be residents of a state that also allows Maryland residents working in that state to serve as notaries public in that state.
Maryland Notary Bond:
None required. A notary bond is to protect the public from a notary's negligence and/or omissions. Notaries are encouraged to purchase a notary bond to insure themselves against claims of negligence.
Notary Errors & Omissions Insurance:
Optional. A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from his or her official misconduct. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Maryland notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of Notary Errors and Omissions insurance.
A $20 filing fee is required for new and renewal notary applications.
Maryland Notary Term:
Notary Commission Renewal:
Two months before the commission expires, the Secretary of State will send a renewal application to the address on file. The application process will be the same as a new application.
Prior to applying to be commissioned as a notary public in the state of Maryland, the applicant should understand the duties and responsibilities of notaries public and how to perform notarial acts properly once commissioned. To obtain this understanding, notaries should review the Duties & Responsibilities of a Notary Public in Maryland and the Notary Manual.
Maryland Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:
Type – embosser or rubber-inked stamp
Required elements - name of notary public and the words “Notary Public” and the County (or the City of Baltimore) for which the notary was appointed.
A married woman may use her maiden or married name on her seal. The seal may also contain a symbol or device chosen by the notary public, but a symbol or device is not required and is not normally used. The notary public should use great care to see that the notary seal is not lost, stolen, or misused.
Required. A Maryland notary public must maintain a record of all notarial acts performed. Notary journals must be retained for at least five years. For Maryland notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling 800.721.2663 or visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com
Notary fees are set by state law. A notary public is allowed to charge for each notarial act, but not more than:
- Acknowledgments - $4
- Oaths or affirmations - $4
- Jurats - $4
- Act as a witness - $4
- Certifying a photocopy from notary’s registry - $2.00
- Photocopy from notary’s registry - $1.00
Note: A notary may charge up to 31 cents per mile and a fee not to exceed $5 as compensation for travel required for the performance of a notarial act.
A Maryland notary has the authority to:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Act as a witness
- Protest instruments
- Take depositions
The Secretary of State has not adopted rules and/or procedures for electronic notarizations. However, the State of Maryland has enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, Annotated Code of Maryland, Title 21, Section 21-110, which authorizes a notary's electronic signature. Maryland notaries must contact the Secretary of State if they are performing electronic notarizations by calling 410.974.5520.
Required. A notary public is required to notify the Secretary of State within 30 days of change of address by completing the Notary Name and Address Change Form. To complete the change of address form, Maryland residents will need to have a new legislative district, new election district, new precinct number, and the name of the State Senator. The notary public is also required to notify the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the county commissioned. Click here to download the Name and Address Change Form: http://sos.maryland.gov/Notary/Pages/default.aspx
Required. Whenever the name of a notary is changed, the notary may continue to perform official acts under his or her commissioned name until the expiration of the commission. However, it is preferable that the notary write on each document certificate “New Name, commissioned as Prior Name.” If the notary wishes to be commissioned under the new name, the notary must complete the Name and Address Change Form and forward it to the Secretary of State within 30 days of the name change. The Secretary of State will issue a new commission reflecting the new name, which will be forwarded to the Clerk of the Court in the county in which the notary resides or the county in which the non-resident notary selected to be commissioned. The Clerk of the Court will collect an $8.00 fee when the notary is sworn in under the new name. Click here to download the Name and Address Change Form: http://sos.maryland.gov/Notary/Pages/default.aspx
A notary public may not:
- Give legal advice
- Represent a person in any trial in certain courts
- Prepare any written instrument affecting the title to real estate
- Give advice in the administration or probate of estate of decedents in any orphan’s court
- Render services that may result in the issuance of a title insurance contract
- Prepare or choose a notarial certificate when a document does not include one
- Notarize for immediate family
- Notarize any document in which the notary is personally involved or from which he or she may benefit
- Notarize a signature of a person who has not appeared before him or her
- Notarize any document that does not contain a notarial certificate
- Notarize his or her own signature
- Certify the authenticity of any document—official or unofficial—other than the notary’s registry
The following wrongful acts conducted by a notary public may result in fines or imprisonment:
- Unlawfully, falsely, and corruptly affixing a public seal to any deed, warrant, or other writing
- Misconduct (malfeasance, misfeasance, nonfeasance) in office involving improperly performing duties imposed by law
- Practice of law (if not also an attorney)
to view your state's notarial certificates.