To become a Pennsylvania notary public, an applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a resident of Pennsylvania or be employed within this Commonwealth
- Be of good moral character and familiar with the duties of a notary public
- Not have been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a lesser offense incompatible with the duties of a notary public during the five year period preceding the date of the application
- Not have had a notary public commission revoked by the Commonwealth or any other state during the five year period preceding the date of the application
The process for obtaining a Pennsylvania notary public commissions as follows:
- First, the applicant must meet the eligibility requirements.
- The prospective notary must complete a pre-approved, three-hour notary public course within six-months preceding the application.
- The applicant then has to pass a notary examination administered by the Department of State or an entity approved by the Department.
- Next, the prospective notary will properly complete and submit an application to the Secretary of the Commonwealth with a $40 filing fee either by mail or online. Click here to download the application form--
- If the Secretary of the Commonwealth approves the application, the applicant will be notified of his or her appointment, and the notary’s commission will be sent to the recorder of deeds in the county where the notary maintains an office.
- Within 45 days after the applicant’s appointment, the appointee is required to execute a $10,000 bond, register his or her signature with the prothonotary of the county where the office is located, take and subscribe the oath of office, and record the bond, commission, and oath of office with the recorder of deeds. If these requirements are not met within a 45 day period, the notary commission becomes null and void.
Non-Resident Pennsylvania Notary:
Permitted. Non-resident applicants must be employed or have a practice within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Non-resident notaries must maintain an actual physical business address in Pennsylvania rather than merely a Post Office Box in the Commonwealth. Non-resident notaries public must appoint the Secretary of the Commonwealth as the agent upon whom may be served any summons, subpoena, order, or other process.
Pennsylvania Notary Bond:
A $10,000 notary bond is required for new and renewing notaries.
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 Pennsylvania notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of Notary Errors and Omissions insurance.
A $40 filing fee is required for new and renewal notary applications.
Pennsylvania Notary Term:
Notary Commission Renewal:
A notary public must file for reappointment at least two or three months prior to the expiration date of his or her commission. Notaries seeking reappointment must continue to meet the requirements that initial applicants must meet, including the completion of the approved three-hour course.
Required. As a condition for initial appointment and reappointment, notaries public are required to complete a three-hour, preapproved notary public education course within the six months immediately preceding the application for appointment or reappointment. All notaries seeking reappointment have the option of more varied continuing education courses.
Pennsylvania Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:
Type – rubber stamp seal
Dimensions—a maximum height of one inch and a width of three and one-half inches with a plain border
Required elements --the official stamp must show clearly, in the following order, the words:
the notary’s name as it appears on the commission
the name of the county in which the notary public maintains an office
the name of the municipality
the date the notary’s commission expires
The official stamp is the exclusive property of the notary public and must be kept under lock and key to prevent misuse by another individual.
Required. Every notary public must maintain a journal and record, in chronological order, all of his or her notarial acts. A notary public may also maintain a separate journal for tangible records and for electronic records. A notary register is the exclusive property of the notary and may not be used by any other person and may not be surrendered to any employer upon the notary’s termination of employment. For Pennsylvania 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 - $5.00
- Acknowledgments, each additional name - $2.00
- Oaths or affirmations - $5.00
- Depositions (per page) - $3.00
- Protests (per page) - $3.00
- Affidavits (no matter how many signatures) - $5.00
- Verifications - $5.00
- Copy Certification - $5.00
--A notary public must display his fees in a conspicuous place in his or her place of business. The notarial fees are the property of the notary public unless the notary and the employer agree otherwise.
A Pennsylvania notary public has the authority to:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take a verification on an oath or affirmation
- Witness or attest a signature
- Certify or attest a copy or depositions
- Protest instruments
- Certify copies of non-recordable documents
- Perform certain tasks pertaining to motor vehicle titles
Permitted. The Electronic Notarization Initiative was established on January 30, 2006. e-Notarization allows qualified Pennsylvania notaries to perform notarizations electronically, in compliance with provisions of the amended Notary Public Law and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. Before Pennsylvania notaries perform electronic notarizations, they must notify the Pennsylvania Department of State and fulfill the requirements of its Electronic Notarization Program. Click here for further information: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/electronic_notarization/12640
A notary public who changes his or her office address is required to notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the recorder of deeds of the county of appointment within five days of the address change. If the new office is in a different county, the notary’s signature must be registered with the prothonotary of the new county within 30 days. Click here to download the change of address form--https://www.notaries.state.pa.us/Pages/EServices.aspx
A notary public must notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the recorder of deeds of the county where notary’s business address is located within 30 days of a change of name. The notary can continue using his commissioned name; however, if the notary wishes to use the new name, the notary must: 1) notify the recorder of deeds of the new name; 2) register the new signature with the prothonotary; 3) purchase a new seal; and 4) notify the Department of State through a letter detailing the name change and accompanied by a court order. The application for reappointment must be made under the new name. Click here to download the name change form--https://www.notaries.state.pa.us/Pages/EServices.aspx
A notary public may resign a current commission by notifying the Department of State and recorder of deeds in writing within 30 days. In the case of the death, resignation, or disqualification, the notary (or his or her representative) must, within 30 days, deliver his or her register and all public papers to the office of the recorder of deeds of the county in which the notary maintained an office. After a resignation, revocation, or disqualification, the official stamp must be delivered to the Department of State within 10 days. Upon the death of a notary, the representative must deliver the notary’s official stamp to the Department of State within 90 days after the date of the notary’s death.
A notary public may not:
- Prepare, draft, select, or give advice concerning legal documents
- Perform acts that constitute the practice of law
- Act as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters
- Represent a person in a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, citizenship, or related matters
- Charge a fee that is in excess of the fees fixed by the Department of State
- Engage in false or deceptive advertising
- Use the term “notario” or “notario publico”
- Notarize a document without the signer being present at the time of the notarization
- Permit another person to use the notary’s commission and official stamp to notarize on his or her behalf
- Notarize a signature on a document unless the notary public personally knows the signer or has satisfactory evidence of identification
- Sign under any other name than his or her commissioned name
- Notarize a document that is incomplete or that does not contain a notarial certificate
- Notarize his or her own signature
- Notarize any document to which the notary public or the notary’s spouse is a party
- Notarize any document if the notary public or the notary’s spouse has a direct and pecuniary interest in the transaction
- Affix his or her official notary signature to or logically associate it with a certificate until the notarial act has been performed
A notary public who commits official misconduct may be subject to criminal liability and civil liability, which may include monetary penalties, imprisonment, or both. A court finding of such official misconduct may result in the revocation of the notary’s commission by the Secretary of Commonwealth. The Department of State may impose an administrative penalty of up to $1,000 on a notary public for each act or omission that constitutes a violation of the Revised Law on Notarial Acts.
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