How to become a Kentucky Notary

Abbreviation: KY   |   15th State   |   Statehood: June 1, 1792 |
How to become a notary in Kentucky:
To become a notary in Kentucky, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
  • Be 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of the county in which he or she submitted the application or be principally employed in the county in which he or she submitted the application
  • Be of good moral character
  • Be capable of discharging the duties imposed upon him or her by law
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Kentucky:
In order to become a Kentucky notary and receive a Kentucky notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  • Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  • Complete the application for appointment form.
  • Obtain a signature on the Certificate of Approval that is part of the application by one of the following officials: circuit judge, circuit clerk, county judge/executive, county clerk, justice of the peace, or member of the General Assembly of the county of residence or of the county in which the applicant’s principal place of employment is located.
  • Submit the completed application form to the Secretary of State with a filing fee of $10 or submit it online.
  • Go to the county clerk’s office within thirty days of receiving a written notice from the Secretary of State and (1) take the oath of office; (2) post bond; and (3) file and record the Certificate of Appointment in the county of application. (Failure to respond within the thirty-day filing period or reasonable time thereafter will result in the certificate of appointment becoming void.)
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    To download the application for appointment form, go to: https://www.sos.ky.gov/bus/businessrecords/notaries/Pages/default.aspx. For specific information regarding the bonding and oath process, the applicant must directly contact the county clerk in the county of application.

 
Can a non-resident become a notary in Kentucky?
Yes. A resident of a state bordering Kentucky can become a Kentucky notary public if the person (1) otherwise meets the same qualifications as a Kentucky resident; (2) is a resident of a bordering state; (3) is principally employed in Kentucky; (4) has his or her application signed by the circuit judge, circuit clerk, county judge/executive, county clerk, justice of the peace, or a member of the General Assembly in the county in which his or her principal place of employment is located; and (5) follows the same initial application for appointment process. The bordering states of Kentucky are not addressed in the Kentucky notary statute.
 
Is a Kentucky notary bond required to become a notary in Kentucky?
Yes. A Kentucky bond is required for new and renewing notaries public. The amount of bond and bond requirements vary by county. For specific information regarding the bond requirements, please contact the county clerk in the county of application.
 
Do I need Kentucky notary errors and omissions insurance?
While optional, errors and omission insurance 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 Kentucky notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Kentucky?
To become a notary public in Kentucky, a notary applicant’s required expenses include the following: (1) a $10filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a surety bond; and (3) a notary seal. Based on the notary’s wishes, additional expenses may include the purchase of: (1) a journal to record all notarial acts performed and (2) an errors and omissions insurance policy for the notary’s protection against liability.
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Kentucky?
The term of office of a Kentucky notary public is four years, commencing on the date specified in the commission. 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 Kentucky; or (5) when a nonresident notary ceases to be principally employed in Kentucky.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts in Kentucky?
A Kentucky notary public may perform notarial acts in any county in Kentucky by filing in the county clerk’s office his or her written signature and a certificate of the county clerk of the county for which he or she was appointed, setting forth the fact of his or her appointment and qualification as a notary public, and paying a fee to the county clerk.
 
Who appoints Kentucky notaries public?
The Kentucky Secretary of State appoints Kentucky notaries public.

 

Contact information for the Secretary of State is as follows:

 

Secretary of State
Notary Branch
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 158
PO Box 821
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 564-3490

 
How to renew your Kentucky notary commission:
A Kentucky notary public may re-apply for a new commission no earlier than four weeks before his or her current commission expires. The renewal application procedure is the same as the initial procedures for a new appointment. To apply for a Kentucky Notary Public State at Large reappointment, download the form and submit it online, or mail it with a $10.00 fee to the Secretary of State.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become a notary or renew your Kentucky notary public commission?
No. Kentucky notary law does not require a course of study or examination to become a notary public in Kentucky.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Kentucky?
Optional. Kentucky notary statutes do not require Kentucky notaries public to use a notary seal to authenticate all notarial acts performed. Notarizations in Kentucky are regularly performed without a notary stamp or notary seal. However, if a notary public wishes to obtain a notary seal, it should contain the following elements:

 

  • The name of the notary public
  • The words “Notary Public State at Large”
  • The words “Notary Public Special Commission” if commissioned by the governor
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    Note: A notary may need to authenticate a notarial act with a notary seal or notary stamp to comply with the recording requirements of other states, especially when notarizing deeds or other recordable documents. In some states, the notary public is required to include the notary’s commission number and the commission expiration date on the executed notarial certificate.

     
    Is a notary journal required in Kentucky?
    No. Kentucky notary statute does not require a Kentucky notary public to record every notarial act in a journal. However, the Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that Kentucky notaries record their notarial acts in a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages designed to deter fraud as a protective measure against liability. For Kentucky notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
     
    How much can a Kentucky notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    The Kentucky notary statutes do not set maximum notary fees that a Kentucky notary public may charge for notarial acts; however, Kentucky notaries are permitted to charge a reasonable fee for their notarial acts.

     

    Note: State law prohibits Kentucky notaries from charging for jurats related to benefits for military veterans and their families.

     
    What notarial acts can a Kentucky notary public perform?
    A Kentucky notary public is authorized to perform these notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Protest instruments
  • Attest documents
  • Take depositions
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Kentucky?
    Yes. The state of Kentucky has not yet adopted statutes or regulations that establish rules, guidelines, standards, and procedures for electronic notarization. However, Kentucky has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, including the provision on notarization and acknowledgments, which authorizes electronic signatures used by Kentucky notaries. Section 369.111 states, “If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, 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.” Most importantly, Kentucky state law requires the document signer to 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 electronic notarization. Therefore, Kentucky notaries public are prohibited from performing remote notarizations by webcam.
     
    How do I change my address?
    Neither the Kentucky notary statutes nor the Secretary of State’s website address the procedures a notary public must adhere to in the event of a notary’s change of residence during the term of his or her current commission. A Kentucky notary should contact the Secretary of State and the county clerk in the county where he filed his application for further instructions.

    Name Change:
    The Kentucky notary statutes do not address if a notary has changed his or her legal name during the term of the notary’s commission; however, the Secretary of State’s Notary Public Handbook stipulates that “the notary’s name as it appears on the notary’s certificate should be used. The new name may be put in parenthesis, if desired.”
     
    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    Upon the resignation of a notary public, or if a notary dies, or if the notary’s commission expires and was not reappointed, the notary or his or her representative must deliver to the county clerk in the county in which the notary was appointed his or her record book (§423.50).
     
    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Kentucky notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving advice concerning legal 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 provide
  • Using the title “notario publico” when advertising notarial services
  • Notarizing a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
  • 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 a document when the notary or his or her spouse has a personal financial or beneficial interest in the transaction being notarized
  • Notarizing a document that contains blanks
  • Affixing a signature and notary seal to a notarial certificate that is incomplete
  • Notarizing a document for a signer when it appears the signer is being forced to sign the document
  • Notarizing a document for a signer who did not possess understanding of the nature and effect of the document
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    Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Kentucky notaries public who commit official malfeasance may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action. A Kentucky notary public who fails to take his or her oath of office and provide a bond within the thirty-day period shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000. If a notary public fails to take the oath of office within the thirty-day period, his or her certificate of appointment will be considered vacant, and the notary will not be eligible for the office of notary public for two years.

    Kentucky Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Kentucky Revised Statutes, Title XXXVIII, Chapter 423, “Notaries Public and Commissioners of Foreign Deeds” (includes the “Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act”)
    http://www.lrc.ky.gov/statutes/chapter.aspx?id=39284
     
    Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Kentucky’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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