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How to Become a Notary in Hawaii


To become a notary in Hawaii, you must:


  1. Meet the eligibility requirements detailed in the next section.
  2. Register and create an eHawaii.gov account on the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s website.
  3. Have a letter of justification prepared by your employer (or by you if you are self-employed) explaining, in detail, why you are seeking a notary commission. This letter should include the estimated number of notarial acts you expect to perform, the type of documents being notarized, and a statement that you will serve the general public.
  4. Have a letter of character prepared by a resident of Hawaii who is not a relative or an employer and who can attest to your honesty, trustworthiness, financial integrity, and moral character.
  5. Log in to your account and submit a notary application online with the letter of character and justification. (Effective 07/01/2017, all applications must be processed online. Mailed-in applications will not be accepted.)
  6. Pay the $20 application fee and wait for your notary application approval.
  7. Schedule an exam with a notary exam scheduler, pay the $10 fee, and pass the exam with an 80 percent or higher.
  8. Pay a fee of $100 on the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s website for the issuance of the original commission.
  9. Obtain a rubber stamp notary seal, record book (notary journal), and a $1,000 surety bond.
  10. Email a copy of the $1,000 surety bond to the Department of the Attorney General for the circuit court judge to approve.
  11. After receiving the commission packet from the Department of the Attorney General, file a literal or photostatic copy of your notary public commission, an impression of your seal, a specimen of your official signature, and the original bond with the clerk of the circuit court in which you reside.

Note: An application for a notary public commission may be considered abandoned if the application is not completed and the required documents and other information are not submitted to the attorney general within ninety days from the date the application is first filed (HAR §5-11-22).

Who can become a notary public in Hawaii?


To become a notary public in Hawaii, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be at least eighteen years of age.
  2. Be a resident of Hawaii.
  3. Be a United States citizen or a national or permanent resident alien of the U.S. who diligently seeks citizenship upon becoming eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

This Hawaii notary guide will help you understand:


  1. Who can become a notary in Hawaii.
  2. How to become a notary in Hawaii.
  3. The basic duties of a notary in Hawaii.

How do I renew my notary commission in Hawaii?


The Department of the Attorney General will send out a renewal notice approximately sixty days before your notary commission expiration date.

The failure to renew your commission on time shall cause the commission to be forfeited. A forfeited commission may be restored by the attorney general within one year after the date of forfeiture upon compliance with the commission renewal requirements provided by law and upon written application and payment of all applicable fees [§456-1(b)].

The renewal application process is the same as for the initial appointment as a notary public, but the exam is not required. You may begin the renewal process before your commission expiration date by clicking on “Start Renewal Application” on the Department of the Attorney General’s website at https://notary.ehawaii.gov/notary/public/renewal.html.

Who appoints notaries in Hawaii?


The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General receives applications for appointment and reappointment as a notary public, processes the applications for remote online notaries public, and administers the commissioning process.

The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General can be contacted at:

Department of the Attorney General
Notary Public Office
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 586-1216
https://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/

Can a non-resident of Hawaii apply for a commission as a notary public?


No. A person who is not a resident of the State of Hawaii does not qualify for a Hawaii notary public commission.

How long is a notary public's commission term in Hawaii?


The commission term of a Hawaii notary public is four years commencing with the date specified on the commission certificate. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void:

  1. By resignation, death, or revocation.
  2. When a notary public is no longer a resident of Hawaii during the notary’s commission term.
  3. When a notary loses the ability to read, write, or speak the English language.
  4. When a notary has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a notary public or involving theft, fraud, dishonesty, or false statement.

Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in Hawaii?


Only new applicants for a Hawaii notary public commission must take and pass an examination as prescribed by the attorney general (HAR §5-11-32). Renewing notary applicants are exempt.

After your notary public application is approved by the attorney general, you must log in to your notary account to schedule an exam with the notary exam scheduler. An exam notification letter will be emailed to you. This letter will contain your examination date, time, and location. The written, closed-book examination will cover the statutory laws and administrative rules that apply to notaries public, practical aspects of a notary’s practice, and a notary’s duties and responsibilities. The minimum passing score is 80 percent. You will be notified of the examination results within thirty days. The examination fee is $10, but there is a range of fees and penalties for those applicants who do not take the examination as scheduled.

If you fail to attain a passing score, you may re-take the exam without submitting a new application, provided that you request re-examination, pay the examination fee, and reschedule a re-examination within fourteen calendar days from the date of the notification of your failure to attain a passing score on the first examination. If you fail to request, pay for, and reschedule a re-examination within fourteen calendar days, you must submit a new application and pay the applicable application and examination fees. If you fail the examination twice, you must wait ninety days from the last examination date to reapply for a notary public commission.

To schedule an examination with the Department of the Attorney General’s Online Notary Public, go to https://notary.ehawaii.gov/notary/applicant/notary-scheduler.html.

How much does it cost to become a notary public in Hawaii?


To become a notary in Hawaii, you must:

  1. Pay a $20 application fee to process your notary application.
  2. Pay a $10 fee to take the examination.
  3. Pay a $25 no-show examination fee if you fail to show up for the examination without advance notice.
  4. Pay a $20 fee to reschedule less than forty-eight hours before the examination or $15 to reschedule more than forty-eight hours before the examination.
  5. Pay a $100 fee for the issuance of a new or renewal notary commission.
  6. Purchase a $1,000 surety bond.
  7. Buy a notary stamp.
  8. Buy a record book (notary journal).
  9. Pay the fee charged by the circuit court clerk for filing the copy of your commission.
  10. Order an errors and omissions insurance policy to protect yourself if a false claim is filed against you, or you are sued for unintentional mistakes as a notary. (This step is optional.)

Do I need a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to become a notary in Hawaii?


A notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is optional in Hawaii and is not required to become a Hawaii notary public or to renew your notary commission. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that every Hawaii notary obtain a notary E&O insurance policy. This insurance protects you from a claim if a client sues you as a notary. A notary E&O policy covers unintentional notarial mistakes and pays for legal fees and damages based on the coverage you select as a Hawaii notary public.

Do I need a notary bond to become a notary in Hawaii?


Yes. An official surety bond in the amount of $1,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. Each bond shall be approved by a judge of the circuit court. The surety on any such bond or bond continuation certificate shall be a surety company authorized to do business in the state of Hawaii. After approval, the bond or bond continuation certificate shall be deposited and kept on file in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the notary public resides.

Do I need to order a notary stamp in Hawaii?


Yes. The Hawaii notary statute requires all notaries public to keep a rubber stamp notary seal to authenticate all official acts, attestations, certificates, and instruments (HRS §456-3). HRS Section 456-3 and Section 5-11-5 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules provide the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all official notary seals.

Dimensions: The official seal of every notary public must be circular, between one inch and two inches in diameter, and have a serrated or milled edge border.

Required Elements: The official notary seal must clearly show, when stamped or impressed upon a tangible document, or when attached to or logically associated with an electronic document, the following elements:

  • The name of the notary public
  • The notary’s commission number
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The words “State of Hawaii”

Important:

  • You are not allowed to possess more than one rubber stamp notary seal at a time
  • The notary seal must be capable of being copied together with the document on which it is stamped or impressed, to which it is attached, or with which it is logically associated
  • You must surrender the rubber stamp notary seal to the attorney general within ninety days of resignation from, or revocation or abandonment of a commission, or upon the expiration of a commission without renewal

To order a Hawaii notary stamp, complete notary package, and notary supplies, please visit the American Association of Notaries website at https://www.notarypublicstamps.com/notary-stamps/hawaii.

How much can a Hawaii notary public charge for performing notarial acts?


Hawaii notary fees are set by state notary statute (HRS §456-17). The maximum allowable fees that a Hawaii notary public may charge for notarial acts are as follows:

  1. For noting the protest of mercantile paper: $5.
  2. For each notice and certified copy of protest: $5.
  3. For noting any other protest: $5.
  4. For every notice thereof and certified copy of protest: $5.
  5. For every deposition or official certificate: $5
  6. For the administration of an oath, including the certificate of the oath: $5; for affixing the certificate of the oath to every duplicate original instrument beyond four: $2.50.
  7. For taking any acknowledgment: $5 for each party signing; for affixing to every duplicate original beyond one of any instruments acknowledged before the notary public, the notary public's certificate of the acknowledgment: $2.50 for each person making the acknowledgment.
  8. For any of the foregoing notarial acts performed for a remotely located individual under HRS §456-23 other than affixing a notary public's certificate to a duplicate original: $25.

Is a notary journal required in Hawaii?


A notary journal (also known as a record book, log book, or register book) is your first line of defense in proving your innocence if a notarial act you performed is questioned or if you are requested to testify in a court of law about a notarial act you performed in the past. A properly recorded notarial act creates a paper trail that will help investigators locate and prosecute signers who have committed forgery and fraud. Properly recorded notarial acts provide evidence that you followed your state laws and notary’s best practices.

 

Notary journal requirements in Hawaii:

  • Traditional Notarizations – Hawaii notaries performing traditional notarizations are required to record all notarial acts in a tangible notary journal. A tangible journal should be permanent, bound register with numbered pages and in accordance with the requirements of section 5-11-9 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules.
  • Remote Online Notarizations – Hawaii notaries performing remote online notarizations are required to maintain both a tangible journal and an electronic journal. A tangible journal should be permanent, bound register with numbered pages and in accordance with the requirements of section 5-11-9 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules. An electronic journal shall be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with all rules adopted by the attorney general.


The American Association of Notaries offers a wide variety of notary journals.

Click here to purchase a tangible notary journal.

Click here to become a member and access our electronic notary journal.

What information must Hawaii notaries record in their notary journals?


Hawaii requires notaries to chronicle the following information in their notary journals regarding traditional notarizations and remote online notarizations:

  1. The type, date, and time of day of the notarial act.
  2. The title or type and date of the document or proceeding.
  3. The signature, printed name, and address of each person whose signature is notarized and of each witness, other parties to the instrument.
  4. The identity of the person is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect.
  5. If the identity of the person is based on satisfactory evidence, a brief description of the method of identification and the identification credential presented, if any including the identification number and date of expiration of any identification credentials.
  6. The fee, if any, charged by the notary public.

NOTE: Hawaii notaries performing remote online notarizations must record the notarial act twice; one in the tangible journal and the other in the electronic journal.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Hawaii?


You may perform notarial acts while you are physically anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Hawaii.

What notarial acts can a Hawaii notary public perform?


A Hawaii notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts whether with respect to a tangible or electronic record (HRS §456-1.6):

  1. Take an acknowledgment.
  2. Administer an oath or affirmation.
  3. Take a verification upon oath or affirmation.
  4. Witness or attest a signature.
  5. Note a protest of a negotiable instrument.
  6. Certify or attest a copy.

What type of notarizations are allowed in Hawaii?


Traditional notarizations – This type of notarization requires the signer and the notary to meet physically in the same room within face-to-face proximity of one another. Traditional notarization involves an individual signing a tangible document with an inked pen and a notary public signing and affixing an inked notary stamp impression to the tangible notarial certificate.

Remote online notarizations - The signer appears remotely before a remote online notary via communication technology. The notarization is performed on an electronic document using electronic signatures, an electronic notary seal, and an electronic notarial certificate.

What are the steps to become a remote online notary in Hawaii?


To become a remote online notary in Hawaii as a current notary public, you must:

  1.  Hold a current notary commission.
  2. Complete and file with the attorney general an application for remote online notary public. A completed application must include the $20 application fee.
  3. Schedule a remote online notary examination, pay the $10 fee, and pass the written examination.
  4. Pay a $100 fee for your remote online notary commission.
  5. Submit a tangible copy of your electronic seal and electronic signature to the attorney general.
  6. File the original surety bond and a photocopy of your remote online notary public commission certificate with the clerk of the circuit court of the circuit in which you reside within thirty days of the receipt of your commission.

For more information on how to become a remote online notary in Hawaii, visit the Department of the Attorney General’s website.

How do I update my address on my Hawaii notary commission?


You must notify the attorney general in writing within thirty days of any change to your employer, residence, or business addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, or occupation. If there is a change in your residence and/ or business address, the notice must state your old and new addresses and the effective date of the address change.

If you fail to provide timely, written notification to the attorney general of any change, you will be subject to a $25 administrative fine. If your failure to provide written, timely notification results in renewal forms being mailed to an incorrect address, you will be subject to a $50 administrative fine.

To update your information, visit the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s website, log in to your account, and complete the Edit My Account request.

How do I change my name on my notary commission in Hawaii?


If your name changes, you must notify the attorney general in writing within thirty days of the name change. The name change notice must state your old and new names and the effective date of the name change. The notice must also include a copy of the legal documentation recording your name change and your new signature. Failure to notify the attorney general promptly of any change shall result in a $25 administrative fine.

To update your name, log in to your account on the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s website and submit the supporting documentation (marriage license/divorce decree).

Revised:


December 2023

Legal disclaimer: The information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

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.