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How to Become a Notary in Louisiana


The Louisiana Notary Process:


The Louisiana Notary Process:

 

Are you interested in becoming a Louisiana notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Louisiana notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Louisiana appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Louisiana is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Louisiana 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 Louisiana notary
  2. The process to become a Louisiana notary
  3. Basic Louisiana notarial duties

What are the qualifications to become a Louisiana notary?


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

 

  1. Be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Be a resident citizen or alien of this state.
  3. Be registered to vote in the parish in which the person seeks a notary commission.
  4. Be able to read, write, and speak and be sufficiently knowledgeable of the English language.
  5. Not be under interdiction or incapable of serving as a notary because of mental infirmity.
  6. Hold a high school diploma, a diploma for completion of a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or a high school equivalency diploma issued after successfully completing the test approved by the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges.
  7. Not have been convicted of a felony, or, if convicted of a felony, have been pardoned.
  8. Have good moral character, integrity, and sober habits.

What is the process to become a Louisiana notary?


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

 

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Submit a completed Application to Qualify to the Secretary of State with a $35 qualifying fee prior to the pre-assessment test.
  3. Register online for the notary exam pre-assessment and submit a $30 test fee.
  4. After receiving the score on the notary exam pre-assessment, register online to take the state notary exam and submit a registration fee of $100.
  5. Take and pass the state notary exam administered by the Secretary of State.
  6. Submit to the Secretary of State after passing the state notary exam the following: (1) two oaths of office, one to be filed with the Secretary of State and the other with the clerk of court in the parish of residency; (2) an original signature page; and (3) an original or certified copy of a notary surety bond or personal surety bond approved by the parish clerk of court, or an errors and omissions policy in the amount of $10,000.
  7. To download an Application to Qualify, click here.

 

Note:  Attorneys are exempt from the bond requirement; however, they must file an original Certificate of Good Standing from the Louisiana Supreme Court issued within the past thirty days.

Can a non-resident become a notary in Louisiana?

No. The state of Louisiana does not allow out-of-state residents to become Louisiana notaries public, even if they are employed within the borders of Louisiana. However, a nonresident attorney who is licensed to practice law in Louisiana can become an ex officio notary public if the attorney (RS §412):   

 

  1. Satisfies the same qualifications as Louisiana residents, setting aside the residency requirements.
  2. Maintains an office open to the public for the practice of law in the parish or parishes in which the nonresident attorney will exercise the functions of a notary public ex officio.
  3. Submits an original Certificate of Good Standing from the Louisiana Supreme Court issued within the past thirty days.
  4. Submits an Application for Nonresident Ex Officio Status form with a $35 application fee.
  5. Submits two  oaths of office (properly executed).
  6. Files an official signature page.
  7. Posts a $10,000 surety bond signed by the parish clerk of court or  an errors and omissions policy in the amount of $10,000.
  8.  Continuously maintains an office in Louisiana open to the public for the practice of law in the parish or parishes in which the ex officio notary public will perform the notarial acts.

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

A Louisiana notary public applicant may incur the following costs:  

 

  1. A $35 qualifying fee to process an Application to Qualify.
  2. A $30 test fee to take the online notary exam pre-assessment.
  3. A $100 fee to take the state notary exam.
  4. A $35 commission fee.
  5. The price of a surety bond.
  6. A $20 fee to file the bond.
  7. The cost of an official seal if the notary public wishes to authenticate his or her notarial acts.
  8. The cost of a notary journal to record notarial acts if the notary wishes to adhere to the recommendation of the Secretary of State.
  9. The fee for an errors and omissions insurance policy if the notary wishes to purchase one for the notary’s personal protection against liability.

How do I renew my Louisiana notary commission?

Louisiana notaries public are commissioned for life pursuant to Attorney General Opinion No. 1940-42.

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

Yes. All non-attorney notary applicants must complete the notary exam pre-assessment and pay a $30 test fee as well as take and pass the state notary examination. The pre-assessment test is online and must be completed before an applicant can register for the state notary exam. The pre-assessment is mandatory, but only needs to be taken once. After the notary applicant receives a score on the notary exam pre-assessment, the applicant can register to take the state notary exam by filling out the examination registration and paying the $100 exam fee.  The deadline to register for the state notary exam is thirty days prior to the exam. 

 

The Secretary of State publishes an official study guide for the state notary exam titled “Fundamentals of Louisiana Notarial Law and Practice” that contains the sources and materials from which the state notary exam is drawn. A notary applicant may purchase the current study guide online from the Secretary of State for a cost of $100. This cost is non-refundable. To pass the state notary examination, the applicant must correctly answer at least 75% of the items. Applicants are permitted to bring their study guides into the testing room and reference them during the examination. However, using any other reference materials is considered an act of cheating and is grounds for dismissal from the examination. No class or course is required by law. The state notary exam will be administered by the Secretary of State at least twice a year. Attorneys licensed to practice law in Louisiana are exempt from the mandatory state notary examination. To order the study guide online, one must use a credit card or bank account.

Can I perform electronic notarization in Louisiana?

Yes. The State of Louisiana has not yet adopted statutes or regulations that establish rules, guidelines, standards, and procedures for electronic notarization. However, the state of Louisiana has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which authorizes Louisiana notaries public to obtain an electronic signature and electronic seal to notarize electronic documents. Moreover, Effective August 1, 2020, the 2020 Louisiana State Legislature enacted the “Remote Online Notarization Act” (RS §§35-621 to 35-630) by passing House Bill 274, which will be added to Title 35 (Notaries Public and Commissioners) of the Louisiana Revised Statutes.  House Bill 274 provides that the Louisiana Secretary of State may only authorize any regularly commissioned notary public who holds a valid notarial commission in Louisiana to perform a remote online notarial act for a remotely located individual. This new act specifically defines “remote online notarization” as the process through which an instrument is executed before a notary public by means of communication technology that meets the standards established by the Louisiana Secretary of State by adopted rules. 

 

Until the passage of the new remote notarization laws that allows Louisiana notaries public to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals using electronic communication technology, Louisiana law required notarial acts (even those performed electronically with respect to electronic records) to be performed in the physical presence of the notary public. In order to obtain an authorization from the Secretary of State to perform remote online notarization, a notary public must (1) submit an application to the Louisiana Secretary of State: (2) complete any course of instructions required by the Secretary of State; and (3) satisfy any other requirements imposed by Secretary of State by adopted rules.

 

Act No. 254 (HB 274) provides that the recorder shall not refuse to record a tangible copy of an electronic record on the grounds that it does not bear the original signature of a party if a notary public or other officer before whom it was executed certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record. Act No. 254 provides that the “Remote Online Notarization Act” supplements and does not repeal, supersede, or limit the provisions of the Louisiana Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (RS 9:2601 et seq.).

Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in Louisiana?

Effective August 1, 2020, the 2020 Louisiana State Legislature enacted the “Remote Online Notarization Act” (RS §§35-621 to 35-630) by passing House Bill 274, which will be added to Title 35 (Notaries Public and Commissioners) of the Louisiana Revised Statutes.  House Bill 274 (Act No. 254) provides that the Louisiana Secretary of State may only authorize any regularly commissioned notary public who holds a valid notarial commission in Louisiana to perform remote online notarizations.

 

Act No. 254 requires the notary public to be physically located in a parish in which the notary public is authorized to exercise the function of a notary public to perform a remote online notarization. House Bill 274 specifically defines “remote online notarization” as the process through which an instrument is executed before a notary public by means of communication technology that meets the standards established by the Secretary of State by adopted rules.  Act No. 254 clarifies that the following instruments shall not be executed by remote online notarization: (1) testaments or codicils; (2) trust instruments; (3) donations inter vivos; (4) matrimonial agreements; (5) acts modifying, waiving, or extinguishing an obligation of final spousal support; and (6) to execute an authentic act as defined in Civil Code Article 1833.

 

Some provisions of Act No. 254 take effect on August 1, 2020, but the permanent remote online notarization provisions take effect contingent upon the enactment of the SECURE Notarization Act (HR 6364 or S 3533 of the 116th U.S. Congress). If the SECURE Act is not enacted before February 1, 2022, the permanent remote online notarization provisions still take effect on February 1, 2022. Act No. 254 authorizes the Louisiana Secretary of State and a stakeholder group to adopt standards to implement the remote online notarization provisions before February 1, 2022.

 

Act No. 254 provides that only a regularly commissioned notary public who holds a valid Louisiana notarial commission may be authorized by the Louisiana Secretary of State to perform remote online notarization. In order to obtain an authorization from the Secretary of State to perform remote online notarization, a notary public must submit an application to the Secretary of State, complete any course of instructions required by the Secretary of State, and satisfy any other requirements imposed by Secretary of State by adopted rules. The State of Louisiana has not yet adopted regulations that establish the standards, procedures, registration, and guidelines for remote online notarizations.

How long is the term of a notary public commission in Louisiana?

The commission term of a Louisiana notary public is for life pursuant to Attorney General No. 1940-42. However, there are many reasons a notary public’s commission may be rendered void, which includes the following circumstances:

 

  1. The notary resigns.
  2. The notary dies.
  3. The notary’s commission is revoked.
  4. The notary fails to maintain a surety bond.
  5. The notary is no longer a resident of Louisiana.
  6. The notary can no longer read, write, and understand English.
  7. The non-resident attorney ex officio notary ceases to maintain a law office in Louisiana.
  8. The notary becomes incapable of serving as a notary because of mental infirmities.
  9. The notary is no longer a registered voter in the parish in which the notary is commissioned.
  10. The notary is convicted of a felony.

 

Note: A provisional notary public has notarial functions as long as the notary is employed with the employer who posted his or her bond and was named on the application for provisional notarial appointment. Dual commissions can only be obtained for one other parish in which the notary maintains an office and is not reciprocal with the existing commission.

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

Yes. A new non-attorney applicant seeking appointment as a notary public in Louisiana is required to obtain a bond in the form of notary surety bond or personal surety bond or an errors and omissions policy in the amount of $10,000. Louisiana notaries who have a surety bond or an errors and omissions policy must renew their bonds or E&O policies every five years to prevent the suspension of their notary public commissions. A person who is commissioned as a provisional notary public must maintain a bond at the expense of his or her employer in the amount of $20,000. Notaries who are licensed attorneys are not required to file a bond or insurance. Certain ex officio notaries are not required to be bonded. A personal surety bond expires upon cancellation or death of the surety and must be renewed when such occurs. Bonds are approved by the parish clerk of court; however, a personal surety bond is approved by the presiding judge of the parish in which the notary public is commissioned. A $20 bond filing fee is required.

Do I need a Louisiana notary errors and omission insurance?

An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Louisiana. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Louisiana notaries obtain errors and omissions insurance policies for their personal protection against liability in addition to their notary surety bonds. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial or other types of loss to the public or from a client who sues a notary public for recovery. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Louisiana notary public selects.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Louisiana?

Louisiana notaries public who are attorneys have statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any parish at any location in Louisiana. Non-attorney notaries public appointed and commissioned in the parish of their residence may exercise any and all of the functions of a notary public within reciprocal parishes that have a population of less than forty thousand and in which his or her employer maintains an office without additional bonding or further application or examination. If the parishes are not reciprocal, a Louisiana notary public has to obtain a dual commission to notarize in another parish in which the notary public maintains an office. In addition, a dual commission notary public must maintain bonds in both parishes.

Who appoints Louisiana notaries public?

The Governor may appoint notaries with the advice and consent of the Senate (RS §35:1). The Secretary of State administers the application and qualifying process and the examination process and maintains the records on notaries. To contact the Secretary of State, use the following information:

 

Louisiana Secretary of State
Notary Division                                  Physical Address:
PO Box 94125                                      8585 Archives Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125         Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Telephone—225.922.0507
Facsimile—225.932.5359

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Louisiana?

No. Louisiana notary statute does not require Louisiana notaries public to use a notary seal to authenticate the notarial acts they perform. Notarizations in Louisiana are regularly performed without a notary stamp or notary seal. “A notary’s signature is his seal” (LAC 46:XLVI.131A). However, a Louisiana notary public is not prohibited from using an official notary seal. If a Louisiana notary elects to use a notary seal to authenticate his or her notarial acts, the notary seal may contain the following elements:

 

  1. The notary’s name
  2. The words “Notary Public”
  3. The words “State of Louisiana”
  4. The notary’s identification number assigned by the Secretary of State

 

If the notary is an attorney who is licensed to practice law in Louisiana, the notary may use his or her Louisiana State bar roll number in lieu of the notary’s identification number. For Louisiana notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com, call 800.721.2663, or click here.

Is a notary journal required in Louisiana?

Only Louisiana notaries in Orleans Parish are required to record their notarial acts in a journal. While a journal is not required by state notary law, the American Association of Notaries highly recommends that each Louisiana notary keep a journal of his or her notarial acts to: (1) assist in recalling past notarial acts, if needed, or if the notary is legally challenged; (2) testify in court if called upon to testify; and (3) provide irrefutable evidence that he or she used reasonable care and standard notarial practices in the execution of the notarial act in question. Louisiana notaries are encouraged 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 liability. For Louisiana notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com, call 800.721.2663, or click here.

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

“Louisiana does not have a statutory fee schedule which would determine or limit what a notary can charge for his services” (LAC 46:XLVI.135A).

What notarial acts can a Louisiana notary public perform?

A Louisiana notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (RS §35:2A[1], [B] and [C] and §35:3): 

 

  1. Take acknowledgments
  2. Administer oaths and affirmations
  3. Make inventories, appraisements, and partitions
  4. Receive wills, make protests, matrimonial contracts, conveyances, and generally all contracts and instruments of writing
  5. Hold family meetings and meetings of creditors
  6. Make affidavits of correction
  7. Affix and raise the seals upon the effects of deceased persons
  8. Certify copies

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

Within sixty days of a change in the notary’s residential address, mailing address, or both, the  notary public must provide the Secretary of State with a written notification (RS §35:191.3). To change the parish of residence, a Louisiana notary must transfer his or her commission to the new parish of residence, even if the parish is within a reciprocal group. The notary public must submit to the Secretary of State the following: (1) a completed Application to Qualify; (2) a $35 qualifying fee; (3) a $35 commission fee; (4) two oaths of office to be filed with the Secretary of State and the clerk of court in the new parish of residency; (5) an official signature page; (6) an original or certified copy of a notary surety bond or personal surety bond approved by the parish clerk of court or an errors and omissions policy or rider for a n existing surety bond approved by the parish clerk of court in the amount of $10,000. Attorneys do not have to file a bond or insurance policy. The address change notification to the Secretary of State may be submitted online or by mail, fax, or e-mail.

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

A Louisiana notary public whose name is legally changed is required to provide a written notification of the name change to the Secretary of State. The notary’s notification must include: (1) two oaths of office with the new name to be filed with the Secretary of State and parish clerk of court; (2) an official signature page; (3) a completed name change form listing the current commission name, the new name, and the reason for the name change; (4) a $35 commission fee; and (5) an original or certified copy of a notary surety bond or personal surety bond approved by the parish clerk of court or an errors and omissions policy or rider for an existing surety bond approved by the parish clerk of court in the amount of $10,000 with the new name. Attorneys are exempt from the bond requirement. To download the name change form, click here.

 

 

Revised: January 2021

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 states if they have legal questions about how to perform notarial acts.

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.