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How to Become a Hawaii Notary


The Hawaii Notary Process:


Are you interested in becoming a Hawaii notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Hawaii notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Hawaii appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Hawaii is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Hawaii notary. The America Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.

 

This guide will help you understand:

  1. Who can become a Hawaii notary.
  2. The process to become a Hawaii notary.
  3. Basic Hawaii notarial duties.

What are the qualifications to become a Hawaii notary?


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

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be a resident of Hawaii.
  3. Be a United States citizen, United States national, or a permanent resident alien authorized to work in the United States.

What is the process to become a Hawaii notary?


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

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Register and create an eHawaii Account with the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s Online Notary Application website.
  3. Login into the Online Notary Application website and submit an application. (Effective 7/1/2017, all applications must be processed online. Mail-in applications will not be accepted.)
  4. Pass a written examination.
  5. Obtain a $1,000 surety bond or bond continuation certificate to be approved by the judge of the circuit court.
  6. Submit a letter of justification from the applicant’s employer or, if self-employed, from the applicant, explaining in detail the reasons why the commission is being sought and that the applicant will serve the general public during normal business hours.
  7. Submit a letter of character from a resident of Hawaii who is not a relative or an employer of the applicant and who can attest to the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, financial integrity, and moral character.
  8. Pay a non-refundable application fee of $130.
  9. File a literal or photostatic copy of his or her notary public commission, an impression of his or her official seal, and a specimen of his or her official signature with the clerk of the circuit court of the circuit in which the notary public resides.

 

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 with the Attorney General (HAR §5-11-22).

Can a non-resident become a notary in Hawaii?

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

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

A Hawaii notary applicant’s expenses may include the following:

  1. A $20 fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment as a notary public.
  2. A $110 fee for the issuance of a new or renewal commission.
  3. The cost of a $1,000 surety bond or bond continuation certificate.
  4. A $10 fee to take the examination.
  5. A $25 “no show” fee if the applicant fails to show for the examination.
  6. The price of a notary stamp.
  7. A $40 fee if the notary fails to pick up his or her commission certificate within sixty days of notification.
  8. The cost of a notary journal.
  9. The price of an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to purchase one for his or her personal protection against liability.

How do I renew my Hawaii notary commission?

Each notary public is responsible for renewing his or  her notary public’s commission on a timely basis and satisfying the renewal requirements provided as specified by the state notary statute. The Department of the Attorney General sends out a renewal notice approximately two months before the notary’s commission expiration date. The failure to renew a commission in a timely manner 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 application for appointment as a notary public. A notary public may begin the renewal process before his or her commission expiration date by clicking “Start Renewal Application” on the Online Notary Public portal provided by the Department of the Attorney General or by clicking here: https://notary.ehawaii.gov/notary/public/renewal.html.

Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a Hawaii notary public or to renew my Hawaii notary public commission?

Yes. All applicants for a Hawaii notary public commission are required to take and pass the examination administered by the Department of the Attorney General (HAR §5-11-32). After approval of an applicant’s notary public application by the Attorney General, the applicant must take the examination on the date specified on the notification of approval and of the scheduled examination date. The examination shall test whether notary applicants have a reasonable knowledge of the general principles and practices of notaries public, notarial duties, and the statutory laws and administrative rules that apply to notaries public. The minimum passing score is 80%. The applicant will be notified, in writing, of the examination results within thirty days. The examination fee is $10, but there are a range of fees and penalties for those applicants who do not take the examination as scheduled. An applicant who fails to attain a passing score may take a re-examination without submitting a new application, provided that the applicant requests re-examination, pays the examination fee, and reschedules a re-examination within fourteen calendar days from the date of the notification of the applicant’s failure to attain a passing score on the first examination. If the applicant fails to request, pay for, and reschedule a re-examination within the fourteen calendar days, the applicant must submit a new application and pay the applicable application and examination fees. An applicant who fails the examination twice must wait ninety days from the date of the last examination 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/public/scheduler.html.

Can I perform electronic notarization in Hawaii?

Yes. The Hawaii 30th Legislature (2020) passed Senate Bill 2275, which includes a provision authorizing a notary public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic documents (HRS §456-D). The bill becomes effective January 1, 2021.

 

In addition, the State of Hawaii has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (HRS Chapter 489E), which includes a provision on notarization and acknowledgment authorizing electronic signatures used by Hawaii notaries public. Section 489E-11 states, “If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, certified, acknowledged, verified or made under oath or seal, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record.”

 

Lastly, Hawaii has adopted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act, which authorizes the use of electronic signatures by notaries public in the performance of notarial acts with respect to electronic land records.  The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General has not yet adopted or published regulations that establish standards, guidelines, and procedures for electronic notarizations.

What is the process to become a Hawaii electronic notary public?

Before a notary public performs the initial notarial act with respect to an electronic document, a notary public must:

  1. Notify the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General that he or she will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic documents.
  2. Provide the Attorney General with a description of the tamper-evident technology the notary public intends to use to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic documents.
  3. Make sure that the technology the notary public intends to use to perform electronic notarizations conforms to the standards developed by the Attorney General in accordance with HRS Chapter 456 and the administrative rules.

 

A person may not require a notary public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a technology that the notary public has not selected (§456-Da). Senate Bill 2275 (2020) provides that the registrar of conveyances may accept for recording under HRS Chapter 502 a tangible copy of an electronic document containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that a document accepted for recording be an original if the notary public executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic document (§456-D[c]). To initiate the process to perform electronic notarizations, visit the Department of the Attorney General at: https://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/.

Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in Hawaii?

Yes. The Hawaii 30th Legislature enacted Senate Bill 2275 (2020), which includes remote online notarization provisions. Senate Bill 2275 was signed into law on September 15, 2020, and becomes effective on January 1, 2021. Hawaii notaries public, who are commissioned as remote notaries public and are performing remote notarial acts for remotely located individuals using communication technology, must perform their remote notarial acts in accordance with the emergency rule regarding remote notarization in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency (amended on July 17, 2020).

 

The remote online notaries public performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals using communication technology must comply with the rules and standards adopted by the Attorney General. Senate Bill 2275 authorizes the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General to adopt permanent rules for remote notarizations. The Attorney General has not yet published permanent regulations authorizing remote notarizations for remotely located individuals using communications technology. Before a notary public performs his or her initial remote notarial act, the notary public must notify the Department of the Attorney General that he or she intends to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals using communications technology.

What is the process to become a Hawaii remote online notary public?

A notary public or an applicant for commission as a notary public may apply to the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General to be commissioned as a remote online notary public in the manner provided by Section 456-C. A person qualifies to be commissioned as a remote online notary public by:

  1. Satisfying the qualification requirements for commission as a notary public under HRS Chapter 456.
  2. Paying the application fee.
  3. Submitting to the Attorney General an application in the form prescribed by the Attorney General that satisfies the Attorney General that the applicant is qualified.
  4. Providing the Attorney General with a description of the technology the remote online notary public intends to use to perform notarial acts using communications technology for remotely located individuals.
  5. Making sure that the technology the remote online notary public intends to use to perform remote notarizations conforms to the standards developed by the Attorney General in accordance with HRS Chapter 456 and the administrative rules.
  6. Filing a literal or photostatic copy of the person’s commission with the clerk of the circuit court of the circuit in which the remote online notary public resides.
  7. Acting in accordance with the requirements, powers, and duties of a notary public under HRS Chapter 456.

 

A remote online notary public may charge $25 for each remote online notarization performed. A remote online notary public is required to maintain a journal in which the remote online notary public chronicles all remote online notarizations. For additional information regarding the application process for the authorization to perform remote notarizations, visit the Department of the Attorney General at http://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/.

How long is the term of a notary public commission 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 offense and the notary’s civil rights have not been restored.

Is a Hawaii notary bond required to become a notary in Hawaii?

Yes. An official surety bond or bond continuation certificate 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. The clerk shall keep a book to be called the "bond record," in which the clerk shall record such data in respect to each of the bonds or bond continuation certificates deposited and filed in the clerk's office as the Attorney General may direct (§456-5).

Do I need a Hawaii notary errors and omission insurance?

No.  An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Hawaii. It is not mandatory to have E&O insurance when applying for appointment as a notary public. The American Association of Notaries recommends that Hawaii notaries obtain an errors and omissions insurance policy for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial or other types 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 a Hawaii notary selects.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Hawaii?

A Hawaii notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Hawaii, including all islands and waters of Hawaii.

Who appoints Hawaii notaries public?

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. To contact the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General:

 

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

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Hawaii?

Yes. The Hawaii notary statute requires all notaries public to keep a rubber stamp notary seal to authenticate all the notary’s 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, not over two inches in diameter, with 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”

 

Note: 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. The notary public must always add to an official signature the typed or printed name of the notary public and a statement showing the date that the notary's commission expires. Upon the resignation or death of the notary, the expiration of the term of commission without renewal, or the revocation or abandonment of commission, the notary public (or his or her representative) must immediately deliver the notary's official seal to the Attorney General, who shall deface or destroy it.

 

For Hawaii notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com, by calling 800.721.2663, or click here.

Do I need an electronic notary stamp to notarize electronically in Hawaii?

Yes. The Hawaii notary statute dictates that if a notarial act regarding an electronic record is performed by a notary public and the certificate contains the information specified in this section, an official stamp shall be attached to or logically associated with the certificate (HRS §456-21). 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, not over two inches in diameter, with 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”

 

Note.  Upon resignation, death, or expiration of the term of commission without renewal, or revocation or abandonment of the commission, the notary public (or his or her representative) must disable the electronic stamping device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing, or securing it against use in a manner that renders it unusable. The notary public who used an electronic stamping device must submit a declaration to the Attorney General that the electronic stamping device was disabled and state the date and manner in which it was disabled (HRS §456-3).

Is a notary journal required in Hawaii?

Yes. The Hawaii notary statute requires a notary public to maintain a journal in which he or she chronicles all notarial acts performed (HRS §456-15). A journal may be created on a tangible medium or in an electronic format. A notary public shall maintain only one tangible journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts performed regarding tangible documents and one electronic journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts performed regarding electronic documents.

 

If a journal is maintained in a tangible medium, it must be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. If a journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with the rules adopted by the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General. Section 456-15 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes prescribes the notarial specifics required for each entry in a notary’s journal for each notarial act performed. A notary public shall furnish, when requested, a certified copy of any public record in the notary's journal.

 

Hawaii notaries must retain their journals for ten years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in their journals (HRS §456-15a). If a notary public's journal is lost or stolen, the notary public shall promptly notify the Attorney General upon discovering that the journal is lost or stolen. If any notary public fails to comply with Section 456-15, then the notary public shall be subject to an administrative fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500 (HRS §456-15[j]). For Hawaii notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com, by calling 800.721.2663, or click here.

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

The 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 listed below:

  1. Taking an acknowledgment - $5.00 per signature
  2. Administering an oath or affirmation w/certificate - $5.00
  3. Taking a verification on oath or affirmation - $5
  4. Witnessing or attesting a signature - $5
  5. Taking a deposition, or official certificate - $5.00
  6. Certifying or attesting a copy - $5.00
  7. Noting a protest - $5.00 plus $5.00 per notice with certified copy
  8. Performing a notarial act for a remotely located individual - $25

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. Taking an acknowledgment
  2. Administering an oath or affirmation
  3. Taking a verification upon oath or affirmation
  4. Witnessing or attesting a signature
  5. Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument
  6. Certifying or attesting a copy

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

Each Hawaii notary public must file the notary public’s employer, residence and business addresses, telephone numbers, and occupation with the Department of the Attorney General (HAR §5-11-10). Notaries public must notify the Attorney General of any change, in writing, within thirty days of the change. If there is a change in the notary public’s residence and/or business address, the notice must state the old and new addresses of the notary public’s residence or business and the effective date of the notary public’s address change.

 

Failure to provide written timely notification to the Attorney General of any change shall subject the notary public to a $25 administrative fine. Failure to provide written timely notification to the Attorney General of any change of address that results in renewal forms being mailed to an incorrect address shall subject the notary public to a $50 administrative fine. To update a notary public’s information, visit the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s website: http://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/notaries-public-documents/notary-public-forms/.

Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in Hawaii?

Each Hawaii notary public shall notify the Attorney General, in writing, of a name change and file his or her new name with the Attorney General within thirty days of the name change. The name change notice from the notary public must state the old and new names and the effective date of the notary public’s name change. The notice must also include a copy of the legal documentation recording the name change and the new signature of the notary public. Failure to provide written timely notification to the Attorney General of any change shall subject the notary public to a $25 administrative fine. To download the Notary Name Change Form, go to http://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/notaries-public-documents/notary-public-forms/.

Hawaii notarial certificates:

Click here to view your state's notarial certificates.

 

 

 

Revised: November 2020

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 state if they have legal questions about how to perform a notarial act.

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.