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How to Become an Alabama Notary


The Alabama Notary Process:


Are you interested in becoming an Alabama notary? 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:

  1. Who can become an Alabama notary
  2. The process to become an Alabama notary
  3. Basic Alabama notary duties

Qualifications to become a notary in Alabama:


To become an Alabama notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:  

  

  1. Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
  2. Be a resident of the county in which he or she is appointed and commissioned
  3. Not have been convicted of a felony that has become final, unless a pardon has restored civil rights
  4. Satisfy all other requirements of the Appointing Probate Judge

 

Note:  Qualifications for appointment as a notary public vary from county to county.

The process to become a notary in Alabama:


To become an Alabama notary public and receive an Alabama notary public commission, a notary applicant must:  

 

  1. Meet at least the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Obtain and complete a notary application from the probate judge of the county of residence.
  3. Obtain a notary bond in the amount of $25,000.
  4. Submit the application and bond to the probate judge in the county of commission.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 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.

Can a non-resident become a notary in Alabama?

No. A notary applicant who is not a resident of Alabama does not qualify for an Alabama notary public commission.

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 (800) 721-2663, or click here.

Do I need an Alabama notary errors & omission 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 a client for which a notary public is sued 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.

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 includes 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: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when a notary is no longer a resident of the county in which he or she is appointed and commissioned; and (5) 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.

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.

Who appoints Alabama notaries public?

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
Administrative Services
Notaries Public
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5616
(334) 353-2171 or (334) 353-7854
http://sos.alabama.gov/administrative-services/notaries-public

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.

Are there any exams or notary course requirements?

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.

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.

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 notarial acts.  For Alabama notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.

How much can an Alabama notary 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

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 notarization 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, regulations, or established standards and procedures for electronic notarizations.

Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in Alabama?

No. In the state of Alabama a document signer must be physically in the presence of the notary public at large for any notarial act performed in that signer’s name. The Alabama notary statutes do not authorize notaries public at large to witness an act through video conference or other electronic means where the person conducting the act is at a physical location different from the notary public or otherwise not in the physical presence of the notary public. Therefore, Alabama notaries are prohibited from performing online webcam notarizations, which are illegal in Alabama.

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 Alabama notary commission?

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.

Alabama notarial certificates:

Click here to view Alabama notarial certificates.

 

Revised: December 2019

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.

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.