How to become a Minnesota Notary

Abbreviation: MN   |   32nd State   |   Statehood: May 11, 1858 |
How to become a notary in Minnesota:
To become a notary in Minnesota, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
  1. Be over the age of 18 years
  2. Be a resident of Minnesota or a resident of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Minnesota:
In order to become a Minnesota notary and receive a Minnesota notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Complete and mail a notary application to the Secretary of State with a $120.00 filing fee.
  3. Register his or her commission certificate with the county of residence and pay a $20.00 filing fee upon receiving the commission.
  4.  

    To download the application form, go to https://notary.sos.state.mn.us/

     

    Note: Failure to register with the notary’s resident county may result in a civil penalty fee imposed by the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce of Minnesota, who is responsible for the enforcement actions pertaining to a notary’s misconduct.

 
Can a non-resident become a notary in Minnesota?
Yes. A resident of a county in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin can become a Minnesota notary public if the person (1) meets the same qualifications as a Minnesota resident; (2) lists the Minnesota county in which he or she will be filing upon receiving a commission; (3) follows the same initial application for appointment processes and procedures as a Minnesota resident; and (4) designates the Secretary of State as agent for the service of process for all purposes relating to notarial acts and for receipt of all correspondence relating to notarial acts.
 
Is a Minnesota notary bond required to become a notary in Minnesota?
No. By statute, a notary is not required to obtain a bond to become a notary public in Minnesota.
 
Do I need Minnesota notary errors and omissions insurance?
Optional. 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 Minnesota notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Minnesota?
To become a notary public in Minnesota, a notary applicant will incur the following expenses: (1) a $120 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a $20 filing fee to register the commission certificate with the county of residence, and (3) a notary seal. Based on the notary’s wishes, additional expenses may include the purchase of (1) a surety bond, (2) a journal to record all notarial acts performed, and (3) an errors and omissions insurance policy for the notary’s protection against liability.
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Minnesota?
The term of office of a Minnesota notary public is five years or less because the commission expires on January 31st of the fifth year following the year of the issuance of the commission. 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 Minnesota, or (5) when a nonresident notary ceases to reside in a county that shares the boundary of Minnesota.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts in Minnesota?
A Minnesota notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Minnesota. Likewise, a Minnesota notary public may not perform notarial acts outside this state.
 
Who appoints Minnesota notaries public?
The Secretary of State technically appoints and commissions Minnesota notaries.

 

Contact information for the Secretary of State is as follows:

 

Office of the Secretary of State
Retirement Systems of MN Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 296-2803, Toll Free 877-551-6767, Option 3
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/notary-apostille/

 
How to renew your Minnesota notary commission:
A Minnesota notary public may apply for reappointment six months before the expiration of his or her current commission by completing and submitting a renewal application either by mail or online using a credit card to pay the application fee. The application for reappointment process is the same as the initial application for appointment process. As of July 10, 2017, all current notaries must create a new account and password to access their notary account information online. The account registration process requires a valid email address on record. If current notaries do not have a valid email address on record, they will need to complete a paper notary application form and submit changes, including an updated email address, by mail. The notary renewal period is between August 1 and January 31. To begin the renewal process, go to: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/notary-apostille/notary-help/how-to-renew-your-commission/.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become a notary or to renew your Minnesota notary public certificate?
No. Minnesota state law does not require a course of study or examination to become a notary public in the state of Minnesota.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Minnesota?
Yes. Minnesota law requires all notaries public to use a rubber-inked stamp or embosser to authenticate all notarial acts performed. Section 359.03 of the Minnesota Statutes provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary stamps.

 

Dimensions: The stamp must be of rectangular form, not more than ¾” of an inch vertically by 2 ½” inches horizontally with a serrated or milled edge border.

 

Required Elements: The Minnesota notary stamp must contain the following elements:

  • Seal of the State of Minnesota
  • The notary’s commission name
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The words “My commission expires_________”
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    Is a notary journal required in Minnesota?
    No. Minnesota notary statute does not require a Minnesota notary public to record every notarial act in a journal. However, the Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that Minnesota notaries record their notarial acts in a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages designed to deter fraud as a protective measure against liability. For Minnesota notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.
     
    How much can a Minnesota notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Minnesota notary fees are set by statute (§357.17). The maximum allowable fees that a Minnesota notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $5
  • Oaths or affirmations - $5
  • Protests - $5
  • For any affidavit or paper for which provision is not made herein - $5 per folio and $0.20 per folio for copies
  • For recording each instrument required by law to be recorded by the notary - $5
  •  
    What notarial acts can a Minnesota notary public perform?
    A Minnesota notary public is authorized to perform these notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Take verifications upon oath or affirmation
  • Witness or attest signatures
  • Take depositions
  • Protest instruments
  • Certify or attest copies
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Minnesota?
    Yes. The state of Minnesota enacted electronic notary laws pursuant to the Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 358 and 359, allowing electronic notarization to be applied to a document so that the document can be fully processed electronically. Before performing electronic notarial acts, a notary public must register or in the case of a recommission, reregister the capability to notarize electronically with the Secretary of State. An applicants who wishes to perform electronic notarizations must be currently registered as an active Minnesota notary public and have the capability to notarize electronically before requesting authorization to perform electronic notarizations. The physical presence of a person whose signature is being notarized is still required by law. To request authorization to perform electronic notarizations, an applicant must complete the E-Notarization Authorization application. To download this application, go to http://www.sos.state.mn.us/notary-apostille/become-a-notary/.
     
    How do I change my address?
    A Minnesota notary public whose residence changes during the term of the notary’s commission is required to notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of the change. An address, phone number, or county change can be done online by accessing the notary account using the notary’s login (commission number and password). If the notary public has changed residence address to a new county, the notary is required to re-register his or her commission certificate with the new county of residence. To submit an address change by mail, the notary must complete a notary application. No fee is required for address changes. To update an address online, go to https://notary.sos.state.mn.us/account/login.
     
    How do I change my name on my notary commission in Minnesota?
    A Minnesota notary public whose name is legally changed during the term of the notary’s commission is required to notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of the name change. To receive a notary commission with a new name, the notary must: (1) complete and submit a notary application with the new name with to Secretary of State, no fee required; (2) submit proof of the name change that reflects the new name (a copy of the court order, divorce decree, marriage certificate, Minnesota driver’s license, etc.) with the notary application; (3) register his or her commission with the new name with the county of residence; and (4) purchase a notary seal with the new name. For name change information, go to http://www.sos.state.mn.us/notary-apostille/notary-help/change-of-name-or-address/.
     
    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    A Minnesota notary public, or his or her representative, is required to send a signed letter to the Secretary of State if the notary: (1) no longer maintains a residence in Minnesota during the term of the notary’s commission or, if a nonresident,ceases to reside in a county that shares the boundary of Minnesota; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (3) is deceased; or (4) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Secretary of State’s revocation process.
     
    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Minnesota 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
  • Notarizing a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
  • Using the title “notario publico” when advertising his or her notarial services
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for 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 any notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • 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
  • Notarizing a document when the notary has a personal financial or beneficial interest in the transaction being notarized
  • Notarizing documents that contain blanks
  • Certifying a copy of documents recordable in the public records
  • Acknowledging, witnessing, or attesting to his or her own signature, or taking a verification of his or her own oath or affirmation
  • Notarizing for a person who appears unwilling or who is being coerced
  • Notarizing for a spouse or family members (as this might create the appearance of a direct beneficial interest)
  • Performing a notarial act that he or she knows or suspects is illegal, false, or deceptive
  • Certifying copies of documents recordable in the public records
  • Performing a notarial act when the notary does not have adequate time to carry out the notarial act properly
  •  
    Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Minnesota notaries public who commit official malfeasance may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action:

     

    359.12 Administrative actions and penalties. Every notary who shall charge or receive a fee or reward for any act or service done or rendered as a notary greater than the amount allowed by law, or who dishonestly or unfaithfully discharges duties as notary, or who has pleaded guilty, with or without explicitly admitting guilt, plead nolo contendere, or been convicted of a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, is subject to the penalties imposed pursuant to section 45.027.

     

    359.08 Misconduct. Any notary who shall exercise the duties of office after the expiration of a term, or when otherwise disqualified, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

     

    609.65 FALSE CERTIFICATION BY NOTARY PUBLIC. Whoever, when acting or purporting to act as a notary public or other public officer, certifies falsely that an instrument has been acknowledged or that any other act was performed by a party appearing before the actor or that as such notary public or other public officer the actor performed any other official act may be sentenced as follows:

    1. if the actor so certifies with intent to injure or defraud, to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both; or
    2. in any other case, to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to payment of a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

    Minnesota Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 359, “Notaries Public”
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=359

     

    Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 358, “Seals, Oaths, Acknowledgments”
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=358

     
    Minnesota Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Minnesota'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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