How to become a Hawaii Notary

Abbreviation: HI   |   50th State   |   Statehood: August 21, 1959 |
How to become a notary in Hawaii:
To become a notary in Hawaii, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of Hawaii
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or a permanent resident alien authorized to work in the United States
  • Not have been convicted of a felony
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Hawaii:
In order to become a Hawaii notary and receive a Hawaii notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  • Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  • Register and create an eHawaii Account with the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s Online Notary Application website.
  • 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.)
  • Pass a written exam.
  • Obtain a $1,000 notary bond to be approved by the judge of the circuit court.
  • Obtain 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.
  • Obtain 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.
  • Pay a non-refundable application fee of $120.
  • File a copy of his notary public commission, an impression of his official seal, and a specimen of his official signature with the clerk of the circuit court of the circuit in which he 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 (§5-11-22).

 
Can a non-resident become a notary in Hawaii?
No. A notary applicant who is not a resident of Hawaii does not qualify for a Hawaii notary public commission.
 
Is a Hawaii notary bond required to become a notary in Hawaii?
Yes. A Hawaii notary 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 shall be a surety company authorized to do business in Hawaii. After approval the bond 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 a Hawaii notary errors and omissions insurance?
While errors and omissions insurance is optional, it is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. The American Association of Notaries encourages Hawaii notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Hawaii?
To become a notary public in Hawaii, a notary applicant’s required expenses include the following: (1) a $20 fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a $100 fee for the issuance of a new or renewal commission; (3) a surety bond; (4) a $40 fee if the notary fails to pick up his or her commission certificate from the Attorney General within sixty days of notification; (4) a notary stamp; (5) a notary journal if the notary wishes to maintain one. There will be an additional cost if a Hawaii notary wishes to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for protection against liability.
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Hawaii?
The term of office of a Hawaii notary public is four years, commencing on the date specified on the commission certificate. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when the notary public ceases to reside in Hawaii; or (5) upon losing the ability to read, write, or speak the English language.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts in Hawaii?
A Hawaii notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts anywhere in Hawaii, including all islands and waters of Hawaii.
 
Who appoints Hawaii notaries public?
The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General appoints Hawaii notaries public.

 

Contact information for the Attorney General is as follows:

 

Department of the Attorney General
Notary Public Office
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808)-586-1216

 
How to renew your Hawaii notary commission:
A Hawaii notary public is responsible for renewing his or her notary public commission on a timely basis and satisfying the renewal requirements provided by law. The Attorney General’s office sends out a renewal notice approximately two months before the notary’s commission expiration date. The commission of a notary public is forfeited if the notary public knowingly fails to submit a completed renewal application, pay the renewal fee, or complete the processing and filing of a commission for renewal by the date of expiration of the notary public’s commission. Any person seeking to restore the person’s forfeited commission must reapply as a new applicant for a notary public commission more than one year from the forfeited commission expiration date. The renewal application process is the same as for the initial application for appointment. A notary public may begin the renewal process before his or her commission expiration date by clicking “Start Renewal Application” on the Online Notary system.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become a notary or renew your Hawaii notary commission?
Yes. All applicants for a Hawaii notary public commission are required to take and pass the online examination administered by the Attorney General on the website. After approval of an applicant by the Attorney General, the applicant is required to take a written, closed-book examination covering the statutory laws and administrative rules that apply to notaries public, as well as practical aspects of a notary’s practice, duties, and responsibilities. The minimum passing score is 80%. The applicant will be notified, in writing, of the exam results within thirty days. The exam fee is $10, but there are a range of fees and penalties for those applicants who do not take the exam as scheduled. 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.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Hawaii?
Yes. Hawaii law requires all notaries public to keep an engraved seal of office or a rubber stamp facsimile seal to authenticate all notarial acts performed. Section 5-11-5 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary stamps.

 

Dimensions: Must be circular, not over two inches in diameter, with a serrated or milled edge border.

 

Required Elements: The Hawaii official seal or stamp must contain the following elements:

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

    Note: A notary’s commission expiration date is prohibited from appearing on the notary’s official seal or stamp.

     
    Is a notary journal required in Hawaii?
    Yes. Section 456-15 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires all Hawaii notaries public to maintain one record book in which the notary chronicles all notarial acts that the notary public performs. The record book must be bound with a soft cover and cannot exceed eleven inches in height and sixteen and one-half inches in width when fully opened. The pages of the record book must be consecutively numbered. The notary public must always print legibly on the information page of each record book his or her name, business address, commission number, commission expiration date, the book number, and the beginning and ending dates of the notarial acts recorded in that book. The notary public must always print legibly his or her name on the top left corner and his or her commission number on the top right corner of each set of pages of transactions in each record book. For Hawaii notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
     
    How much can a Hawaii notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Hawaii notary fees are set by statute (§456-17). The maximum allowable fees that a Hawaii notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $5.00 per signature
  • Oaths or affirmations w/certificate - $5.00 per person
  • Jurats - $5.00 per signature
  • Depositions - $5.00 with certificate
  • Certified Copies - $5.00 per page certified
  • Protests - $5.00 plus $5.00 per notice with certified copy
  •  
    What notarial acts can a Hawaii notary public perform?
    A Hawaii notary public is authorized to perform these notarial acts:
  • Taking acknowledgments
  • Administering oaths or affirmations
  • Executing jurats
  • Witnessing the signing of documents
  • Noting protests
  • Certifying copies of the notary’s record
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Hawaii?
    Yes. The Hawaii Revised Statutes has not yet adopted statutes or regulations that establish rules, guidelines, standards, and procedures for electronic notarization. Nevertheless, Hawaii has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, including the provision on notarization and acknowledgment, which authorizes 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.”

     

    Moreover, Hawaii has adopted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act that authorizes electronic signatures used by Hawaii notaries public. Most importantly, Hawaii state law requires that a document signer personally appear before a notary public and be physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or video conferences during the entire performance of the notarial act. Therefore, Hawaii notaries public are prohibited from performing online webcam notarizations.

     
    How do I change my address?
    Each Hawaii notary public must file his or her employer, residence, and business addresses, telephone numbers, and occupation with the Attorney General. Notaries must notify the Attorney General, in writing, of any changes to this information within thirty days of the change. The notice from the notary public shall state the old and new addresses of the notary public’s residence, if there is a change in the notary public’s residence address, the old and new addresses of the notary public’s business, if there is a change in the notary public’s business address, and the effective date of the address change. To download the Residence Change Form, go to: http://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/notaries-public-documents/notary-public-forms/.
     
    How do I 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 the notary’s new name with the Attorney General within thirty days of the name change. The written notice from the notary public must state the old and new names and the effective date of the notary public’s name change. The notary public must include with the notice a copy of the legal documentation recording the name change and a new signature. To download the Notary Name Change Form, go to http://ag.hawaii.gov/notaries-public/notaries-public-documents/notary-public-forms/.
     
    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    A Hawaii notary public, or his or her representative, is required to send a signed letter to the Attorney General if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence in Hawaii during the term of the notary’s commission; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (3) is deceased; (4) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Attorney General’s revocation process; or (5) becomes unable to read and write. Upon resignation, death, expiration of term of office without reappointment, or removal from or abandonment of office, the notary public, or his or her representative, must immediately deliver the notary’s seal and record book to the attorney general who will deface or destroy them.
     
    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Hawaii notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving legal advice concerning documents
  • Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
  • Claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary public does not authorize
  • Notarizing a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
  • Notarizing a document without the signer being in the notary’s presence at the time of the notarization
  • Notarizing a document if the signer of the document is not personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence of identity
  • Performing any notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • Signing a notarial certificate under any other name than the one under which the notary was commissioned
  • Notarizing a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false
  • Notarizing an incomplete document or one containing blanks
  • Notarizing a document with a signature stamp unless permitted by law
  • Notarizing for a person who is being coerced
  • Notarizing a document written in a foreign language that the notary cannot understand
  • Notarizing a document written in English if the signer speaks a foreign language
  • Notarizing the signature of a signer who is blind, senile, a minor, a person of unsound mind, or one who does not understand the nature or importance of the document
  • Allowing another individual to perform a notarial act on his behalf
  • Notarizing a document if the notary is individually a party to the instrument
  • Performing an official act in which the notary has a financial or beneficial interest
  • Failing to meet and sustain the conditions and requirements necessary to maintain a commission
  • Submitting an application for a notary public commission that contains a false statement, an omission of fact, or a substantial misstatement
  • Failing to file his or her notary public commission with the clerk of the circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the notary resides
  • Failing to maintain a business or residence address in the state while practicing as a notary public in Hawaii
  • Being incapable of reading, writing, or speaking the English language with understanding
  • Allowing the notary’s name or title to be used deceptively, fraudulently, or in false or misleading advertising, or making untruthful or improbable statements
  • Performing the notarial act over the telephone
  • Being addicted to, dependent on, or a habitual user of a narcotic, barbiturate, amphetamine, hallucinogens, opium, cocaine, or other drugs or derivatives of a similar nature
  • Practicing as a notary public while the ability to practice is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or mental instability, or substantially impaired by physical disability
  • Procuring a commission through fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit
  • Professional misconduct, incompetence, gross negligence, or manifest incapacity in the practice of a notary public
  • Failing to maintain a record or history of competency, trustworthiness, fair dealing, and financial integrity
  • Conducting or practicing contrary to the notary public code of professional responsibility as adopted by the National Notary Association
  • Violating any condition or limitation upon which a conditional or temporary commission was issued
  • Engaging in business under a past or present commission issued pursuant to the notary public laws, in a manner causing injury to one or more members of the public
  • Failing to comply with, observe, or adhere to any law in a manner such that the attorney general deems the notary public to be unfit or an improper person to hold a commission
  • Having a notary public commission revoked, suspended, restricted, or being denied of a professional license or notary public commission if that action was for misconduct, dishonesty, or any cause that relates to the duties or responsibilities of a notary public
  • Receiving a criminal conviction, whether by nolo contendere or otherwise, for a crime related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a notary public
  • Receiving a conviction for a crime involving theft, fraud, dishonesty, or a false statement
  • Failing to report in writing to the attorney general any disciplinary decision issued against the notary public or the applicant in another jurisdiction within thirty days of the disciplinary decision
  • Violating the notary statute, the applicable laws governing notaries public, or any rule or order of the attorney general
  •  
    Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Hawaii notaries public, who commit official malfeasance, may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action for any of the following unlawful activities:

     

    §456-20 Failure to verify identity and signature. (b) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be sentenced in accordance with chapter 706. (c) A conviction under this section will result in the automatic revocation of the notary public’s commission.

     

    §456-21 Failure to authenticate with a certification statement. (b) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be sentenced in accordance with chapter 706. (c) A conviction under this section will result in the automatic revocation of the notary public’s commission.

     

    §456-3 Seal. If any notary fails to comply with this section within ninety days of the date of his or her resignation, expiration of term of office without reappointment, or removal from or abandonment of office (or if the notary’s personal representative fails to comply with this section within ninety days of the notary’s death), then the notary public (or the notary’s personal representative) shall forfeit to the State not more than $200, at the discretion of the court, to be recovered in an action to be brought by the attorney general on behalf of the State.

     

    §456-16 Disposition of records, penalty. If any notary fails to comply with this section within ninety days of the date of the resignation, expiration of any term of office, or removal from or abandonment of office (or if the notary’s personal representative fails to comply with this section within ninety days of the notary’s death), then the notary (or the notary’s personal representative) shall forfeit to the State not less than $50 nor more than $500, at the discretion of the court, in an action brought by the attorney general on behalf of the State.

     

    §502-54 Penalty for false certificate. Any officer authorized to take acknowledgments to instruments who knowingly incorporates in the certificate of acknowledgment any false or misleading statement as to the facts therein contained will be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. Nothing in this section shall be construed to do away with the liability for civil damages for such an act.

     

    §502-62 Penalty for not noting changes. Every notary public or other person authorized to take acknowledgments to an instrument who takes the acknowledgment of any person to any instrument in which there are interlineations, erasures, or changes, and who fails to observe or perform the requirements of section 502-61, will be fined not more than $200.

     

    §456-7 Unauthorized practice as a notary public.(a) A person commits the offense of unauthorized practice as a notary public if the person knowingly engages in or offers to engage in any duties of the office of a notary public without first complying with all of the following: (1) Being appointed and commissioned as a notary public by the attorney general; (2) Filing a copy of the person’s commission, an impression of the person’s seal, and a specimen of the person’s official signature with the clerk of the circuit court of the circuit in which the person resides; and (3) Executing an official surety bond pursuant to section 456-5. (b) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be sentenced in accordance with chapter 706. (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict or to do away with any liability for civil damages.

     

    §502-74 Penalty for not keeping. Any officer who takes acknowledgments and fails to keep a record as directed by section 502-71, or who fails to deposit the same with a clerk of a court of record as directed, will be fined not less than $50 nor more than $250, which may be recovered from the officer or the officer’s personal representatives.

     

    §5-11-10 Notification and filing of names, addresses, and changes; failure to notify. (d) Failure to provide written, timely notification to the attorney general of any change will subject the notary to a $25 administrative fine. If a failure to provide written, timely notification to the attorney general results in renewal forms being mailed to an incorrect address, the notary will be subjected to a $50 administrative fine.

    Hawaii Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 25, Chapter 456, “Notaries Public”
    https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol10_Ch0436-0474/HRS0456/HRS_0456-.htm

     

    Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 28, Chapter 502, Part V, “Acknowledgments; Proof of Instruments”
    https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol12_Ch0501-0588/HRS0502/HRS_0502-.htm

     

    Hawaii Administrative Rules, Chapter 5-11, “Notaries Public”
    http://ag.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Hawaii-Administrative-Rules.pdf

     
    Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Hawaii’s notarial certificates.

    Revised: January 2018

    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.
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