How to become an Ohio Notary

Abbreviation: OH | 17th State | Statehood: March 1, 1803 |
How to become a notary in Ohio:
To become a notary in Ohio, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be a legal resident of Ohio, or a person of another state who is an attorney admitted to practice law in Ohio by the Ohio Supreme Court, and has a principal place of business or a primary practice in Ohio.
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Ohio:
In order to become an Ohio notary and receive an Ohio notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Contact the county in which the notary applicant resides, since all new notary commissions and commission renewals are handled through the counties, and each separate county has a slightly different notary application process.
  3. Take a course of study and pass an examination, if required by the county clerk or local county bar association of the county in which the notary applicant resides.
  4. Provide the Secretary of State a “Certificate of Qualifications” endorsed by a judge or justice of the court of common pleas, court of appeals, or supreme court.
  5. Record the notary public commission and oath of office,after the Secretary of State issues the notary public commission, with the clerk of court of common pleas of the county in which the notary public resides.
  6.  

    To obtain the contact phone numbers of the notary applicant’s county, visit the Secretary of State website at https://www.sos.state.oh.us/notary/frequently-asked-questions-about-notaries/ or click here.

Can a non-resident become a notary in Ohio?
Yes. Only a non-resident, who is an attorney, admitted to the practice of law in Ohio by the Ohio Supreme Court, and has his or her principal place of business or primary practice in Ohio, can become a notary public in Ohio.

Is an Ohio notary bond required to become a notary in Ohio?
No. An Ohio notary does not have to be bonded in Ohio pursuant to the Ohio notary statute.

Do I need an Ohio 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 Ohio notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.

How much does it cost to become a notary in Ohio?
To become a notary public in Ohio, all new notary public commissions and commission renewals are handled through the counties. Each separate county has a slightly different process and cost relating to the application of appointment or reappointment of a notary public. A notary applicant’s expenses may well include the following: (1) an application processing fee when submitting the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a notary stamp; (3) a journal; (4) the course of study and examination, if mandated by the county; and (5) the recommended surety bond. For additional information, contact the county in which the notary applicant resides.

How long is the term of a notary public commission in Ohio?
The term of office of an Ohio notary public who is not an attorney is five years commencing on the date specified in the commission. A notary public who is an attorney in good standing before the Supreme Court of Ohio may have a notary public commission term for as long as the attorney is a resident of Ohio, or has their principal place of business or primary practice in Ohio. 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 Ohio; or (5) when the attorney’s principal place of business or primary practice is no longer in Ohio.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Ohio?
An Ohio notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Ohio. Likewise, an Ohio notary public may not perform notarial acts outside this state.

Who appoints Ohio notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints Ohio notaries public only upon the endorsement of a judge of an Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Court of Appeals, or Supreme Court.

 

To contact the Ohio Secretary of State:

 

Ohio Secretary of State
Notary Commission Clerk
PO Box 1658
Columbus, OH 43216-1658
(614) 644-4559
https://www.sos.state.oh.us/notary/

How to renew your Ohio notary commission:
In Ohio, all notary renewals are handled through the counties, and each county has a slightly different process for renewals. For further information, an Ohio notary public must contact the county in which he or she resides.

Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become or renew your Ohio notary commission?
No. State law does not mandate a course of study or examination to become a notary public in Ohio. However, a course of study and examination may be required by a local judge of the court of common pleas or the court’s appointed screening committee involving the county clerk or a local county bar association in the county in which the notary applicant resides.

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Ohio?
Yes. Ohio law requires all notaries public to use a rubber-inked stamp or embosser to authenticate all notarial acts. Section 147.04 of the Ohio Revised Code provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary stamps.

 

Required Elements: The notary stamp shall consist of the coat of arms of state within a circle one inch in diameter and shall be surrounded by the following elements:

  • The words “notary public”
  • The words “notarial seal”
  • The name of the notary public
  • The words “State of Ohio”
  •  

    Note: The name of the notary public may, instead of appearing on the notary stamp, be printed, typewritten, or stamped in legible, printed letters near the notary’s signature on each document signed by the notary public.

    Is a notary journal required in Ohio?
    No. Ohio law does not require an Ohio notary public to record all of his or her notarial acts performed in a journal. However, Ohio notaries are required to maintain an official register to record a copy of every certificate of protest and note. In addition, electronic notaries are required to maintain an electronic journal of all electronic notarial acts. The Ohio Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries recommend that all Ohio notaries record every notarial act performed in a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages designed to deter fraud as a protective measure against liability. For Ohio notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.

    How much can an Ohio notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Ohio notary fees are set by statute (§147.08). The maximum allowable fees that an Ohio notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $2.00
  • Oaths or affirmations - $2.00
  • Protests - $1.00 plus actual expenses
  • Taking and certifying an affidavit - $1.50
  • What notarial acts can an Ohio notary public perform?
    An Ohio notary public is authorized to perform five notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Take affidavits
  • Take and certify depositions
  • Protest instruments
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Ohio?
    Effective September 29, 2017, the State of Ohio enacted the Electronic Notary Public authorizing electronic notaries to use an electronic communication device, including a web site application, approved by the Secretary of State to satisfy the acknowledgment requirements under Section 147.51 of the Ohio Revised Code, and to electronically sign as the notary public. An Ohio notary public who wishes to be commissioned as an electronic notary public is required to: (1) submit a registration form to the Secretary of State prior to using electronic communications; and (2) provide a description of the technology the notary will use to create an electronic signature in performing electronic notarizations. On September 29, 2017, the Secretary of State published the “Ohio Electronic and Online Notarization Standards” to implement the Electronic Notary Public. The new Standards dictates that “online notarization” must occur with the use of an electronic communications device which has two-way audio and video conference technology that meets the requirements of the Standards. Pursuant to the Standards, the electronic notarization system used must meet the following criteria for establishing personal appearance: (1) the persons communicating must simultaneously see and speak to one another; (2) the signal transmission must be live, real time; (3) the signal transmission must be secure from interception or access by anyone other than the persons communicating; and (4) the technology must provide sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the notary to communicate with the signer and utilize the signer identification methods described in Section III(b) of the Standards. The new law prohibits an electronic notary public from using an electronic communication device to meet the requirements for a notarial act that is a deposition.

    How do I change my address?
    If an Ohio notary public changes his or her county of residence during the term of the notary’s commission, the notary is required to notify the Secretary of State, in writing, of the change by submitting an “Application for Amendment of Notary Public Information” form within 30 days after such change. If the notary’s county changes, the notary must record his or her commission with the clerk of courts of common pleas of the new county. Download this form at https://www.sos.state.oh.us/notary/frequently-asked-questions-about-notaries/ or click here.

    How do I change my name on my notary commission in Ohio?
    If an Ohio notary lawfully changes his or her name during the term of the notary’s commission, the notary must provide the Secretary of State with an “Application for Amendment of Notary Public Information” form within 30 days after the name change. The notary public does not need to change his or her commission name until the next renewal process. However, an Ohio notary who wishes to have his or her commission changed with the new name must complete a new notary application and surrender his or her current notary commission. Download this form at https://www.sos.state.oh.us/notary/frequently-asked-questions-about-notaries/ or click here.

    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    An Ohio notary public or his or her representative is required to send a written and signed letter to the Secretary of State if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence in Ohio during the term of the notary’s commission; (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. In the case of any of the above situations, the notary’s official register shall be deposited in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the notary resides.

    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activitiess by an Ohio notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Performing a notarial act if the notary is a signer or named in the document to be notarized
  • Selecting a notarial certificate for a document that does not include one
  • Making representations to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the notary does not have, including the power to counsel on legal matters
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
  • Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • Acting as a witness and notarizing the same document
  • Executing a notarial certificate that the notary knows it contains false statements
  • Certifying to the affidavit of a person without administering the appropriate oath or affirmation to the person
  • Notarizing a document when the notary has an expired notary commission
  • Notarizing a document that contain blanks
  • Certifying and notarizing his or her own affidavit
  • Failing to affix the notary’s signature and stamp to the notarial certificate of a document the notary notarized.
  • Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Ohio notaries public who commit official misconduct may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action for any of the following unlawful activities:
  • A notary who fails to administer the appropriate oath or affirmation of a person in the notarization of an affidavit violates Section 147.14 and shall be fined not more than $100, imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both. The notary’s revocation by the court of common pleas of the county of conviction makes the notary ineligible for reappointment for a period of three years. (ORC §147.14)
  • A notary public who violates the oath of office required by Section 147.03 shall be removed from office by the court of common pleas of the county in which the notary public resides, upon a complaint filing and being substantiated in the court, and the court, upon removing a notary public from office, shall certify the removal to the Secretary of State. The person so removed shall be ineligible for reappointment to the office of notary public. (ORC §147.03)
  • A notary public who performs any notarial act knowingly after the expiration of his or her commission term shall be fined not more than $500 to be recovered by an action in the name of the state. Such act shall render such person ineligible for reappointment to the office of notary public. (ORC §147.10 and §147.11)
  • A notary public who charges or receives a fee, for a notarial act or service performed by the notary, greater than the amount prescribed by law, or who dishonestly or unfaithfully performs any notarial duties shall be removed from office by the court of common pleas of the county in which the notary resides. The person so removed shall be ineligible for reappointment to the office of notary public. (ORC §147.13)
  • Ohio Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Ohio Revised Code, Title 1, Chapter 147 (“Notaries Public”)
    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/147

     

    Ohio Revised Code, Title 1 Chapter 147 (includes “Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act.”)
    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/147

     

    The Secretary of State published the “Ohio Electronic and Online Notarization Standards” on September 29, 2017.
    http://www.starkcountyohio.gov/law-library/resources/legal-findings-blog/october-2017/ohio-electronic-and-online-notarization-standards

    Ohio Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Ohio’s 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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