How to become a West Virginia Notary

Abbreviation: WV   |   35th State   |   Statehood: June 20, 1863 |
Eligibility:
To become a West Virginia notary public, a person must meet all of the requirements listed below:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • Be a resident of West Virginia or a resident of another state who has a place of employment or business in West Virginia
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Not be disqualified to receive a commission under W. VA State Code §39-4-20(6)
 
Qualifications:
The process for receiving a West Virginia notary public commission is as follows:

  • First, the applicant must meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Next, the applicant must read §39-4 of the West Virginia Code and sign an oath that he or she has read and understood the requirements and will follow the notary laws.
  • The completed, signed, and notarized notary application form must be submitted to the West Virginia Secretary of State with a $1,000 notary surety bond (or its equivalent assurance) and a $52 filing fee. Click here to download the application form--
http://www.sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/notaries/Pages/ApplyingforaNotaryPublicCommission.aspx
  • If the applicant is applying as a state or local government notary, his supervisor must provide a letter requesting the filing fee be waived. The letter must be included with the notary application. Federal employees are not eligible.
  • Once approved, the notary will receive a commission letter with the exact information required for the official seal.

 
Non-Resident West Virginia Notary:
Permitted. Non-residents of another state may apply for a West Virginia notary public commission if they are employed in West Virginia.
 
West Virginia Notary Bond:
A $1,000 notary bond or its equivalent in professional insurance 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 official misconduct as a notary public. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that West Virginia notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of Notary Errors and Omissions insurance.
 
Filing Fee:
A $52 filing fee is required for new and renewal notary applications.
 
West Virginia Notary Term:
Five years
 
Jurisdiction:
Statewide.
 
Appointment:
West Virginia Secretary of State
Notary Division
Bldg 1, Suite 157K
1900 Kanawha Blvd, East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0775
(304) 558-8000
Toll Free: 1-866-767-8683
Fax: 1-304-558-5142
Email: notary@wvsos.com
http://www.sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/notaries/Pages/default.aspx
 
Notary Commission Renewal:
A notary public must submit a new application at least two weeks (but not more than 60 days) before the notary commission expires and meet the eligibility requirements for a new application.
 
Education/Testing:
Not Required. Every person applying for a notary public commission must swear under oath and indicate on the application that he or she has read the West Virginia Code that governs notary practices.
 
West Virginia Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:
Required.

Type — rubber stamp seal

Ink color - any color as long as the seal can be reproduced under photographic methods.

Shape — rectangular

Dimensions — no larger than 1 inch high by 2 1/2 inches wide

Required elements — The rubber stamp seal must contain the following elements:

  • Official Seal
  • Notary Public
  • State of West Virginia
  • Notary’s official name
  • Notary’s business or residence address
  • Commission expiration date
The official stamp seal must have a serrated or milled edge border. Most notary stamp seals have the West Virginia State Seal on the left; however, this is optional. If the official stamp seal is lost or stolen, the notary public must notify the Secretary of State immediately.

A seal embosser is permitted, but may not be used without the rubber stamp seal. If the notary opts to use an embossed seal with the legal mandatory inked rubber stamp seal, the embossed seal must include the following:

  • Notary Seal
  • Notary Public
  • State of West Virginia
  • Notary’s name

 
Record Book:
None Required. It is strongly recommended by the West Virginia Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries that West Virginia notaries public record every notarial act in a notary record book or journal. For West Virginia notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling (800) 721-2663 or by visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com.
 
Notary Fees:
Notarial fees are set by state law. A notary public is allowed to charge for each notarial act, but not more than:

  • Acknowledgment - $5.00
  • Oath or affirmation - $5.00
  • Certifying a photocopy - $5.00
 
Authority:
A West Virginia notary public has the authority to:

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Witness or attest signatures
  • Protest instruments
  • Certify copies of non-recordable documents
Electronic Notarizations:
Permitted. As of July 1, 2014, West Virginia notaries may perform electronic notarizations. All electronic notarization software must meet the rules and standards called “Standards and Guidelines for Electronic Notarization” set forth in W. VA 153 CRS 45. The standards are posted online at http://www.sos.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx or can be obtained by calling the West Virginia Secretary of State at (304) 558-8000. West Virginia notaries must have the capability to notarize electronically before requesting authorization from the Secretary of State to perform electronic notarizations.
 
Address Change:
Required. If a notary public moves and changes address or changes employment address and can no longer be reached at the address listed on the notary rubber stamp seal, he or she must submit a written notice to the Secretary of State within thirty days of any address change. The notary public must also order a new rubber stamp seal with the new address and all the legal seal requirements and provide the Secretary of State with the imprint of the new seal. Failure to notify the Secretary of State of such an address change could result in the suspension, revocation, or conditioning of the notary’s commission.
 
Name Change:
Required. If a notary public changes his or her legal name through marriage or court action, he or she must submit written notice to the Secretary of State within thirty days of the name change. The notary public must also order a new rubber stamp seal with the new name and all the legal seal requirements and provide the Secretary of State with the imprint of the new seal. Failure to notify the Secretary of State of such an address change could result in the suspension, revocation, or conditioning of the notary’s commission.
 
Death/Resignation/Removal:
In case of death, resignation, or revocation, the notary public or his or her personal representative must submit by certified mail or deliver to the Secretary of State all papers and copies relating to the notary’s notarial acts. In all of the above circumstances, the notary seal must be destroyed.

Prohibited Acts:
A notary public may not:
  • Prepare, draft, select, or give advice concerning legal documents
  • Perform acts that constitute the practice of law
  • Claim to have powers, qualifications, rights or privileges that the office of notary public does not provide
  • Use the phrase "notario" or "notario publico" to advertise notary services
  • Solicit or accept compensation to prepare documents for or otherwise represent the interest of another in a judicial or administrative proceeding, including a proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, United States citizenship, or related matters
  • Act as an immigration consultant
  • Withhold access to or possession of an original record provided by a person who seeks performance of a notarial act
  • Notarize his or her own signature
  • Notarize a blank document
  • Perform telephone notarizations or other electronic means as a substitute for the document signer appearing before the notary in person
  • Notarize a document if the signer is not in the presence of the notary at the time of notarization
  • Notarize a signature on a document without a notarial certificate
  • Affix an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete
  • Perform any official act with the intent to deceive or defraud
  • Notarize a document if the notary is a signatory or is named in the document
  • Notarize a document if the notary or spouse is named as a party to the transaction
  • Notarize a document if the notary has a direct financial or beneficial interest in the document
  • Notarize for immediate family if the notary receives money or property interest from the transaction
  • Notarize for an incompetent document signer who does not have the capacity to sign the document
  • Notarize a signature of a signer when it is not knowingly or voluntarily made
  • Certify true copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates or court issued documents
  • Overcharge for notary services
 
Criminal Violation:
  • A notary public who knowingly and willfully commits any official misconduct is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned in the county jail not more than one year or both.
  • A notary public who recklessly or negligently commits any official misconduct is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $1,000.
  • Any person who unlawfully possesses a notary’s official seal or any papers or copies relating to notarial acts is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $1,000.
Conviction of a misdemeanor can result in the revocation of one’s notary public commission.
 
Notarial Certificates:
Click here to view your state’s notarial certificates.

Revised: September 2015

0 Products $0.00
View Cart | Checkout