How to become a Michigan Notary

Abbreviation: MI   |   26th State   |   Statehood: January 26, 1837 |
How to become a notary in Michigan:
To become a notary in Michigan, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of the state of Michigan or maintain a principal place of business in Michigan
  • Be a U.S. citizen or possess proof of legal presence in the United States
  • Be a resident of the county from which an appointment is sought or, for a nonresident, maintain a principal place of business in the county in which an appointment is sought
  • Read and write in the English language
  • Be free of any felony convictions within the past ten years, unless the felony conviction has been pardoned, reversed, or annulled and all rights have been restored
  • Not have been convicted of two or more misdemeanor violations specified by law within a 12-month period while commissioned or three or more violations specified by law within a five-year period regardless of being commissioned
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Michigan:
In order to become a Michigan notary and receive a Michigan notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  • Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  • Obtain a $10,000 surety bond within ninety days before submitting the notary application. (Attorneys are exempt from the bond requirement).
  • Present to the county clerk in the county where he or she resides (or where the principal place of business is located for a nonresident) the following items: (1) the notary application; (2) a $10,000 surety bond; and (3) a $10 filing fee.
  • Take the oath of office administered by the county clerk when the notary application is submitted.
  • Have the county clerk fill out the part of the notary application designated for the clerk’s signature and verify that all requirements have been completed.
  • Submit the completed and verified notary application to the Office of the Great Seal with the Michigan Department of State and pay a $10 filing fee. If approved, a commission will be issued in the form of a blue, wallet-size card that will be sent directly to the notary.
To download the application form, go to: http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1638_8736---,00.html.
 
Can a non-resident become a notary in Michigan?
Yes. A resident of a state bordering the state of Michigan can become a Michigan notary public if the person (1) meets the same qualifications as a Michigan resident; (2) demonstrates that his or her principal place of business is located in the county in which he or she requests appointment; (3) establishes that he or she is engaged in an activity in which he or she is likely to be required to perform notarial acts; and (4) follows all of the initial application for appointment procedures.
 
Is a Michigan notary bond required to become a notary in Michigan?
Yes. A Michigan bond in the amount of $10,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. A notary public commission is not effective until the surety bond is filed with the county clerk in the county where the notary public will be appointed. Licensed attorneys in good standing with the State of Michigan are not required to file a surety bond with the county clerk; however, the state bar number must be included on the application for verification.
 
Do I need Michigan notary errors and omissions insurance?
While optional in Michigan, errors and omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. The American Association of Notaries encourages Michigan notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Michigan?
To become a notary public in Michigan, a notary applicant will incur the following expenses: (1) a $10 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment with the county clerk; (2) a $10 filing fee paid to the Office of the Great Seal; and (3) the cost of a surety bond. Additional expenses may, at the notary’s option, include the purchase of: (1) a journal to record all notarial acts performed; (2) a notary seal; and (3) an errors and omissions insurance policy to protect the notary against liability.
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Michigan?
The term of office of a Michigan notary public is a six- to seven-year period ending on the notary’s birthday. The term of the commission is not less than six or more than seven years from the date of appointment. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when the notary public ceases to reside in Michigan; or (5) when a nonresident notary ceases to maintain a principal place of business in Michigan.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts in Michigan?
A Michigan notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Michigan. Likewise, a Michigan notary public may not perform notarial acts outside this state.
 
Who appoints Michigan notaries public?
The Michigan Secretary of State appoints and commissions Michigan notaries public.

 

Contact information for the Secretary of State is as follows:

 

Secretary of State
Michigan Department of State
Office of the Great Seal
7064 Crowner Blvd
Lansing, MI 48918-1750
(888) 767-6424

 
How to renew your Michigan notary commission:
A Michigan notary public may apply sixty days before the expiration of his or her current commission by completing a new application form. In the case of an attorney appointed notary, the Office of the Great Seal will send to the notary, at least ninety days before the commission expires, a reappointment application, which has to be certified by the state bar of Michigan to verify that the notary is still a member in good standing.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become a notary or renew your Michigan notary commission?
No. Michigan notary law does not require a course of study or examination to become a notary public in Michigan. However, the Secretary of State requires Michigan notaries to read the current Michigan notary statutes before performing notarial acts.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Michigan?
Optional. Michigan notary statutes do not require Michigan notaries public to authenticate all notarial acts with a notary seal. However, Section 55.287(2) states that a notary public may use a stamp or seal that contains the following elements:

 

  • The name of the notary public exactly as it appears on the notary public commission
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The words “State of Michigan”
  • County of ____________(where the notary is commissioned)
  • The words “My commission expires___________”
  • The words “Acting in the County of _____________” if performing a notarial act in a county other than the county of commission.
  •  

    Note: An embosser alone or any other method that cannot be reproduced must not be used.

     
    Is a notary journal required in Michigan?
    No. Michigan notary statute does not require a Michigan notary public to record every notarial act performed in a journal. However, the Office of the Great Seal and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that Michigan notaries record their notarial acts in a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages designed to deter fraud. This will serve as a protective measure against liability. For Michigan notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
     
    How much can a Michigan notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Michigan notary fees are set by statute (§55.285[7]). The maximum fees that a Michigan notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $10.00
  • Oaths and affirmations - $10.00
  • Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $10
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature - $10
  •  

    Note: A notary public must either conspicuously display a sign or expressly advise a person concerning the fee amount to be charged for a notarial act before the notary performs the act. Additional fees for travel may be negotiated between the notary and the client prior to the commencement of the travel.

     
    What notarial acts can a Michigan notary public perform?
    A Michigan notary public is authorized to perform these notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Take verifications upon oath or affirmation
  • Witness or attest signatures
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Michigan?
    No. As stated in the Office of the Great Seal website, “Michigan does not participate in E-Notarization. Michigan notaries public must verify the signature and identity of the person(s) that signed the document. The signor(s) must physically be in their presence and all signatures must be an original to obtain notarization.”
     
    How do I change my address?
    A Michigan notary public whose residence changes during the term of the notary’s commission must be reported to the Office of the Great Seal on the “Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change” form. The new residence address must match what is on file with the Michigan Department of State as listed on the notary’s driver’s license or personal identification card. If the notary provides a different address, the notice of change form will be returned to the notary with instructions on how to change the notary’s address. Click here to download the Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change form.
     
    How do I change my name on my notary commission in Michigan?
    A Michigan notary public whose name is legally changed during the term of his or her commission must report the name change to the Office of the Great Seal and the county clerk of the county where he or she was appointed. To report name changes, notaries should send in a Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change form within ten days from the date of the name change. The Office of the Great Seal will notify the county clerk when a corrected commission is issued. The new name must match what is on file with the Michigan Department of State as listed on the notary’s driver’s license or personal identification card. If the notary provides a different name, the notice of change form will be returned to the notary with instructions on how to change the notary’s name. Click here to download the Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change form.
     
    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    A Michigan notary public, or his or her representative, should send a written notice to the Office of the Great Seal and the county clerk of the county where the notary was appointed if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence in Michigan during the term of the commission; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (3) is deceased; (4) is duty-bound to resign by court order or by the revocation process; or (5) no longer maintains a principal place of business in Michigan (for nonresident notaries).
     
    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Michigan notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving legal advice concerning documents
  • Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
  • Claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary public does not authorize, including the power to counsel on immigration matters
  • Giving legal advice, explaining legal documents, or aiding an individual in completing legal or immigration forms
  • Notarizing a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
  • Using the title “notario” or “notario publico” when advertising notarial services
  • Notarizing a document without the signer being in the notary’s presence at the time of the notarization
  • Notarizing a document if the signer of the document is not personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence of identity
  • Performing notarial acts that are invalid
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
  • Signing a notarial certificate under any other name than the one under which the notary was commissioned
  • Notarizing a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false
  • Taking his or her own deposition or affidavit
  • Certifying copies of public documents
  • Notarizing a document when the notary had a beneficial interest or conflict of interest in the document
  • Notarizing for family members
  • Notarizing a document when the notary is a party to the document or transaction for which the notarial act was required
  • Notarizing an incomplete document or a document with blanks
  •  
    Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Michigan notaries public who commit official malfeasance may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action.

     

    A violation of the Michigan Notary Public Act is a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, a person can be fined up to $5,000 or be imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

     

    A notary public who knowingly violates the Michigan Notary Public Act when notarizing any document relating to an interest in real property or a mortgage transaction commits a felony. Upon conviction, a notary can be fined up to $5,000 and/or be imprisoned for up to four years.

     

    When a Michigan notary public is convicted of a felony, his or her notary public commission is automatically revoked on the date of the felony conviction.

    Michigan Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 55, “Michigan Notary Public Act” (Act 238 of 2003) Sections 55.261 to 55.315
    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ez42kq1sqfjebtumznumlkqx))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Act-238-of-2003

     

    Michigan Compiled Laws, “Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act” (Act 57 of 1969) Sections 565.261 to 565.269
    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ez42kq1sqfjebtumznumlkqx))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Act-57-of-1969

     
    Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Michigan’s notarial certificates.

    Revised: January 2018

    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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