How to Become a Notary in Alabama
The Alabama Notary Application Process:
Are you interested in becoming a notary in Alabama? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Alabama notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Alabama appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Alabama is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements outlined below, you can apply to become an Alabama notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a notary in Alabama
- The process to become a notary in Alabama
- Basic Alabama notary duties
What are the qualifications to become a notary in Alabama?
To become a notary in Alabama, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
- Be a resident of the county in which he or she is appointed and commissioned.
- Not have been convicted of a felony that has become final, unless a pardon has restored civil rights.
- Satisfy all other requirements of the Appointing Probate Judge.
Note: Qualifications for appointment as a notary public vary from county to county.
What is the process to become a notary in Alabama?
To become a notary in Alabama and receive an Alabama notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet at least the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Obtain and complete a notary application from the probate judge of the county of residence.
- Obtain a notary bond in the amount of $25,000.
- Submit the application and bond to the probate judge in the county of commission.
- Pay any required fees. All fees collected for the commissioning of notaries are at the discretion of the county probate judges where the commissions are granted.
- Purchase a notary stamp.
Note: The probate judges of each county in Alabama set forth the application procedures for a notary public commission. Each notary applicant is required to contact the probate judge of the county of residence to obtain the application process and procedures for a notary public commission. To obtain the information of a county probate judge, visit the Secretary of State’s website. The county probate judges deliver to the Secretary of State the information required by law of each individual appointed and commissioned.
How do I renew my Alabama notary commission?
An Alabama notary seeking reappointment may apply to renew his or her commission before the expiration of the current commission by completing an application for reappointment with the office of the appointing probate judge of his or her county of residence. To obtain the information for your county probate judge, visit the Secretary of State’s website.
Who appoints notaries in Alabama?
Alabama notaries are appointed and commissioned by the probate judges of the various counties. The county probate judges report the name, county, date of issuance, and date of expiration of the commission of each notary public appointed and commissioned to the Alabama Secretary of State. To contact the Secretary of State:
Alabama Secretary of State
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5616
Phone: (334) 353-2171 or (334) 353-7854
Can a non-resident become a notary in Alabama?
No. An individual who is not a resident of Alabama does not qualify for an Alabama notary public commission.
How much can an Alabama notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
The Alabama notarial fees are set by the state notary statute (COA §36-20-74). The maximum allowable fees that a notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Taking an acknowledgment - $5
- Administering an oath or affirmation - $5
- Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument - $5
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a notary in Alabama or to renew my Alabama notary public commission?
No. New applicants seeking appointments as notaries public at large and renewing notaries are not required to take and complete an educational course of study or pass an exam to be appointed and commissioned as Alabama notaries public at large. However, at his or her discretion, the appointing county probate judge may require that the applicant seeking an Alabama notary public commission take and complete an educational course of study and/or pass an exam before the issuance of a notary public commission.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Alabama?
The expenses associated with the commissioning of a new or renewing notary public at large may fluctuate from county to county depending on the requirements and application procedures of the county probate judge.
An applicant’s expenses for a notary public commission include at the minimum the following:
1. a $10 fee for each commission issued;
2. a $25,000 surety bond;
3. a notary stamp;
4. a journal if a notary wishes to adhere to the recommendations of the Alabama Secretary of State that Alabama notaries maintain a journal of their notarial acts;
5. an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to obtain one for his or her personal protection against liability;
6. an educational course of study if required in the county of residence; and
7. any additional county fees that may be set by the probate judge such as for filing a bond, added fees to process an application, for filing a copy of the commission certificate, and other administrative fees.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Alabama?
The term of office for an Alabama notary public is four years commencing with the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void:
- by resignation;
- by death;
- by revocation;
- when a notary is no longer a resident of the county in which he or she is appointed and commissioned; and
- when a notary public has been convicted of a felony that has become final and no pardon or certificate of restoration of citizenship rights has been granted.
Is an Alabama notary bond required to become a notary in Alabama?
Yes. A surety bond in the amount of $25,000 is required for all new applicants seeking an appointment as a notary public and renewing notaries public at large (COA §36-20-71an). The bond must be executed, approved, filed, and recorded in the office of the probate judge of the county of residence before the notary public at large faithfully discharges his or her notarial duties. To purchase a notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website, call (713-644-2299, or click here.
Do I need an Alabama notary errors and omissions insurance?
An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Alabama. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Alabama notaries obtain an errors and omissions insurance policy for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial or other type of loss to the public or from a client who sues a notary public for recovery. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage an Alabama notary selects. For information regarding an E&O insurance policy, visit the American Association of Notaries website, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Alabama?
A notary public at large has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Alabama (COA §36-20-70an). Likewise, an Alabama notary may not perform notarial acts outside of Alabama.
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Alabama?
Yes. The Alabama notary statute requires all notaries public at large to authenticate all their notarial acts with a notary seal, which shall present, by its impression or stamp, the following information (COA §36-20-72):
- Name of notary public
- The words "Notary Public"
- The word "Alabama"
- The words "State at Large"
Note: The ink color, shape, and dimensions of a notary seal are not specified by the Alabama notary statute. Alabama notaries are permitted to use either an embosser or an inked stamp as their official seal to authenticate their notarial acts. For Alabama notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.
Is a notary journal required in Alabama?
No. The Alabama notary statute does not require Alabama notaries to record their notarial acts in a journal. However, the Alabama Secretary of State strongly recommends that all notarial acts be recorded in a journal in order to protect the notary public from liability. The American Association of Notaries also encourages Alabama notaries to maintain a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages to create and preserve a chronological record of every notarial act performed as a protective measure against allegations of fraudulent notarial acts and official misconduct. Alabama notaries may find maintaining a journal of notarial acts to be a beneficial tool for their own notarial standards and practices in the performance of their duties. For Alabama notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.
What notarial acts can an Alabama notary public perform?
An Alabama notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (COA §36-20-73):
- Taking an acknowledgment
- Administering an oath or affirmation
- Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument
- Exercising such other powers as, according to commercial usage or the laws of Alabama, may belong to notaries public
Can I perform electronic notarizations in Alabama?
The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act were both enacted by the Alabama Legislature. These acts include provisions that recognize the legal acceptability of electronic signatures used by Alabama notaries public at large on notarized documents, if all of the information required by other applicable law is attached to or logically associated with the document or signature. A physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal need not accompany an electronic signature. In spite of this, the state of Alabama has not enacted/adopted notary statutes or regulations or established standards and procedures for electronic notarizations.
Can I perform remote online notarizations in Alabama?
Yes. Effective July 1, 2021, Alabama Notaries can apply to perform remote online notarization (RON). Specifically, Alabama Notaries can take acknowledgments remotely as long as the notaries themselves are physically located within the state at the time of the notarial act.
How do I become a remote online notary in Alabama?
To provide remote online notary services, you are required to comply with the following:
- Hold an existing commission as a traditional notary public.
- Select videoconferencing technology that meets state requirements.
You will also need a computer, webcam, microphone and secure connection to the internet. Your computer must be able to support two-way audio video communication in real-time.
Note: RONs in Alabama still require notaries to use a wet ink signature on the document. Thus, digital tools such as digital certificate or electronic signature are not required.
What notarial acts can a remote online notary in Alabama perform?
Notaries may only perform RONs when taking an acknowledgment. Before the notarization can begin, the signer must send the documents to be notarized to the notary. The signer may either appear physically in person or appear through the use of two-way audio-video communication technology. The notary verifies the signer’s identity through either 1) personal knowledge or 2) two valid forms of government-issued IDs – one which includes a photo and signature – and a process to verify the signer’s identity through a review of public and private data sources. Once the signer proves his or her identity and the notary confirms the signer’s awareness and willingness to sign, the notary checks the document for any blanks, completes the notarial certificate wording, applies the stamp, and signs the document.
All documents used during the two-way audio-video communication shall be provided to the notary for his or her authentication and original (wet ink) signature.
Note: Remote notarization may not be used to notarize an absentee ballot application or an absentee ballot affidavit or for any purpose related to voting.
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a remote online notary in [StateName} or to renew my remote online notary commission in Alabama?
Training courses and passing examination are not required to perform remote online notarizations in Alabama.
How long is the term of a remote online notary in Alabama?
Remote online acknowledgments may be performed as long as the traditional notary public commission remains active. Once the commission term ends, renewal is required before offering notary services remotely again.
How do I change my address?
The Code of Alabama does not provide statutory requirements for an Alabama notary public at large to notify their appointing county probate judge following a change in the notary’s address during the notary’s term of office. However, a move from a notary’s county of commission may require a notary public at large to obtain a new commission in his or her new county of residence. For further information regarding a change of address or a change of county of residence, a notary public at large should contact his or her appointing county probate judge where the initial commission was granted. To obtain information of a county probate judge, visit the Secretary of State’s website.
How do I change my name on my notary commission in Alabama?
The Alabama notary statute does not provide statutory requirements for Alabama notaries public at large to report their new name change or change their name on their notary public commission after a name change to their appointing county probate judge. Furthermore, there is no statutory authority by which a probate judge may amend or reissue a notary public commission under the notary’s new name. However, an Attorney General’s Opinion states that if the notary so desires, he or she may reapply for a new notary public commission in his or her newly acquired or married name (Ala. Atty. Gen. Opinion 95-00220 of May 17, 1995). For information regarding a new name change, Alabama notaries have a duty to contact the appointing county probate judges where their initial commissions were granted to comply with their requirements. Notaries may need to reapply for a new notary public commission in their newly acquired or married name. To obtain information of a county probate judge, visit the Secretary of State’s website.
Revised: September 2021
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 on 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 states if they have legal questions about how to perform notarial acts.
Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.