How to become a North Carolina Notary

Abbreviation: NC   |   12th State   |   Statehood: November 21, 1789 |
Eligibility:
To become a North Carolina notary public, a person must meet all of the requirements listed below:

  • Be 18 years of age or legally emancipated as defined in Article 35 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes
  • Be a resident of the State of North Carolina or, if a non-resident, have a regular place of work or business in North Carolina
  • Reside legally in the United States
  • Speak, read, and write the English language
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass the course of instruction described in the Notary Public statute, unless the person is a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar
  • Purchase and keep as a reference the most recent manual approved by the Secretary that describes the duties and authority of notaries public
  • Submit an application that contains no significant misstatements or omissions of fact
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude
 
Qualifications:
To receive a North Carolina notary public commission, a person must:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Satisfactorily complete a course of study that is approved by the Secretary of State. Within three months after the completion of the notary course, properly complete and submit the notary application form to the Secretary of State with a $50 filing fee. The Secretary of State will then send the commission certificate to the Register of Deeds in the county of commissioning.
  • Within 45 days after the notary public commission is issued, the notary public will receive an oath notification letter to present to the Register of Deeds in the county in which the commission is issued to take the oath of office. If 45 days lapse before the oaths are taken, a new application and a $50 fee must be resubmitted to the Secretary of State.
  • To download the notary application form, click here:
https://www.sosnc.gov/notary/notforms.aspx
 
Non-Resident North Carolina Notary:
Permitted. A non-resident person may obtain a North Carolina notary public commission if he or she maintains a regular place of employment or business in North Carolina. The non-resident applicant who maintains a regular place of employment in North Carolina must also submit proof of employment from the employer on company letterhead to be commissioned in the county of the applicant’s place of employment.
 
North Carolina Notary Bond:
None required.
 
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 North Carolina notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of a Notary Errors and Omissions insurance policy. Visit our website at www.usnotaries.com for more information and/or to purchase the E&O insurance policy. You may also contact our office by calling 800.721.2663.
 
Filing Fee:
A $50 filing fee is required for new and renewal notary applications.
 
North Carolina Notary Term:
Five years.
 
Jurisdiction:
Statewide.
 
Appointment:
North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State
Notary Public Section
PO Box 29626
Raleigh, NC 27626-0626
(919) 814-5400
https://www.sosnc.gov/notary/notforms.aspx
 
Notary Commission Renewal:
A notary public may apply for renewal no earlier than 10 weeks before the expiration date of his or her current commission. The renewing notary public must submit a new application and pass another written examination. If the recommissioning notary has moved to another county, the notary must appear before the register of deeds to which the commission was delivered within 45 days of recommissioning to take the oath under the new county and have the notary public record changed to reflect the new county name.
 
Education/Testing:
Required. Every notary applicant must satisfactorily complete a course of study that is approved by the Secretary of State consisting of not less than six hours of classroom instruction. At least 80% of the questions must be answered correctly in order to pass the exam. This requirement does not apply to a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar or a notary public who has been commissioned since July 10, 1991 without a lapsed commission and who has not been disciplined by the Secretary of State.
 
North Carolina Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:
Required.

Type – embosser or rubber-inked stamp

Ink color – any color as long as the seal can be reproduced by photographic methods

Shape – round or rectangular

Dimensions – the circular seal shall not be less than 1 ˝”, nor more than 2” in diameter; the rectangular seal shall not be over 1” high and 2 ˝” long

Required elements - notary’s name exactly as commissioned and the words “Notary Public, the county of commissioning, including the word “County” or the abbreviation “Co.,” and the words “North Carolina” or the abbreviation “N.C.” or “NC.” The perimeter of the seal shall contain a border that is visible when impressed.

Please Note: If the seal is stolen, lost, damaged, or otherwise rendered incapable of affixing a legible image, the notary must notify the appropriate register of deeds and the Secretary of State in writing within 10 days of discovering the theft, loss, or damage.

 
Record Book:
None Required. It is strongly recommended by the Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries that North Carolina notaries public record every notarial act in a notary record book or journal. For North Carolina notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling 800.721.2663 or visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com.
 
Notary Fees:
Notary fees are set by state law. A notary public is allowed to charge for each notarial act, but not more than:

  • Acknowledgments - $5.00
  • Oaths or affirmations - $5.00
  • Verifications or proofs - $5.00
  • Oaths or affirmations without a signature - $5.00
Note: Notaries who charge for their notarial services shall conspicuously display in their places of business, or present to each principal outside their place of business, an English-language schedule of fees for notarial acts. No part of any notarial fee schedule shall be printed in smaller than 10-point type.
 
Authority:
A North Carolina notary public has the authority to:

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Make verifications or proofs
Electronic Notarization:
In 2005, the State of North Carolina enacted the North Carolina Statutes, Chapter 10B, Article 2 “Electronic Notary Act.” Effective January 1, 2007, administrative rules were adopted entitled “Electronic Notary Standards” that set forth detailed standards and procedures for the performance of electronic notarizations. See 18 North Carolina Administrative Code, Subchapter 07C, Sections .0100 through .0604. For further information, click here: https://www.sosnc.gov/enotary/thepage.aspx.
 
Address Change:
Within 45 days after the change of a notary’s residence, business, mailing address, telephone number, or county, the notary shall send to the Secretary of State by fax, email, or certified mail, return receipt requested, a signed notice of the change, giving both the old and new information. If the county changes due to the notary’s address change, the notary should continue to use the seal or stamp for the previous county of commission until the expiration of the current commission. Click here to download the change of address form: https://www.sosnc.gov/notary/notforms.aspx.
 
Name Change:
Within 45 days after the legal change of a notary’s name, the notary public must send to the Secretary of State by fax, email, or certified mail, return receipt requested, a signed notice of change that includes both the notary’s former name and new name. After receiving an oath notification letter from the Secretary of State, the notary must appear before the register of deeds within 45 days to take the oath and have the notary public record changed to reflect the new commissioned name. The notary must purchase a new seal that contains the new name. Click here to download the name change form: https://www.sosnc.gov/notary/notforms.aspx.
 
Death/Resignation/Removal:
A notary public who resigns his or her commission shall send to the Secretary of State by fax, email, or certified mail, returned receipt requested, a signed notice indicating the effective date of the resignation. Within 45 days from resignation or revocation of a notary’s commission, the notary public must deliver his or her notary’s seal to the Secretary of State for destruction. If a notary public dies while commissioned, the representative of the deceased notary shall provide a sworn statement to any enforcement proceedings to bypass the death notification/seal to the Secretary of State.
 
Prohibited Acts:
A notary public may not:

  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness is not in the notary’s presence at the time the notarial act is to be performed
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness is not personally known to the notary or identified through satisfactory evidence
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness shows a demeanor that causes the notary to have a compelling doubt about whether the principal knows the consequences of the transaction requiring a notarial act
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness, in the notary’s judgment, is not acting of his or her own free will
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness is not in the notary’s presence at the time the notarial act is to be performed
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness is not personally known to the notary or identified through satisfactory evidence
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness shows a demeanor that causes the notary to have a compelling doubt about whether the principal knows the consequences of the transaction requiring a notarial act
  • Notarize if the principal or subscribing witness, in the notary’s judgment, is not acting of his or her own free will
  • Notarize if the notary is a signer of or is named, other than as a trustee in a deed of trust, in the document that is to be notarized
  • Notarize if the notary will receive directly from a transaction connected with the notarial act any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property, or other consideration exceeding in value the fees specified by law, other than fees or other consideration paid for services rendered by a licensed attorney, a licensed real estate broker or salesperson, a motor vehicle dealer, or a banker
  • Use the official notary title or seal in a manner intended to endorse, promote, denounce, or oppose any product, service, contest, candidate, or other offering
  • Perform acts that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law
  • Use the phrase “notario” or “notario publico” to advertise notary services
  • Advertise or represent that the notary is an immigration consultant, an expert on immigration matters, or a provider of immigration services
  • Assist another person in drafting, completing, selecting, or understanding a record or transaction requiring a notarial act
  • Determine the type of notarial act or certificate to be used when a document does not provide one
  • Leave blank spaces incomplete in a notarial certificate the notary executes
  • Claim to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary does not provide, including the power to counsel on immigration matters
  • Execute a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false
  • Execute a certificate that is not written in the English language
  • Notarize a signature on a record without a notarial certificate indicating what type of notarial act was performed
  • Certify, notarize, or authenticate a photograph
  • Condition the fee for a notarial act on any attribute of the principal that would constitute unlawful discrimination Notarize if the notary is a signer of or is named, other than as a trustee in a deed of trust, in the document that is to be notarized
  • Notarize if the notary will receive directly from a transaction connected with the notarial act any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property, or other consideration exceeding in value the fees specified by law, other than fees or other consideration paid for services rendered by a licensed attorney, a licensed real estate broker or salesperson, a motor vehicle dealer, or a banker
  • Use the official notary title or seal in a manner intended to endorse, promote, denounce, or oppose any product, service, contest, candidate, or other offering
  • Perform acts that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law
  • Use the phrase “notario” or “notario publico” to advertise notary services
  • Advertise or represent that the notary is an immigration consultant, an expert on immigration matters, or a provider of immigration services
  • Assist another person in drafting, completing, selecting, or understanding a record or transaction requiring a notarial act
  • Determine the type of notarial act or certificate to be used when a document does not provide one
  • Leave blank spaces incomplete in a notarial certificate the notary executes
  • Claim to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary does not provide, including the power to counsel on immigration matters
  • Execute a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false
  • Execute a certificate that is not written in the English language
  • Notarize a signature on a record without a notarial certificate indicating what type of notarial act was performed
  • Certify, notarize, or authenticate a photograph
  • Condition the fee for a notarial act on any attribute of the principal that would constitute unlawful discrimination
 
Criminal Offense:
A notary shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the notary does any of the following:

  1. Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without the principal appearing in person before the notary
  2. Takes a verification or proof without the subscribing witness appearing in person before the notary
  3. Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the principal (NC General Statutes—Chapter 10B 21)
  4. Takes a verification or proof without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the subscribing witness

A notary shall be guilty of a Class 1 felony if the notary does any of the following:

  1. Takes an acknowledgment or a verification or proof or administers an oath or affirmation that the notary knows is false or fraudulent
  2. Takes, with the intent to commit fraud, an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without the principal appearing in person before the notary
  3. Takes, with the intent to commit fraud, a verification or proof without the subscribing witness appearing in person before the notary
 
Notarial Certificates:
Click here to view your state's notarial certificates.

Revised: August 2015

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