How to Become a Notary in Maryland
To become a notary in Maryland, you must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements detailed in the next section.
- Be familiar with and understand the Handbook for Maryland Notaries Public fully in its entirety.
- Obtain the name, address, phone, and email address of three references who can be contacted to attest to your character and who are not your employer or a family member.
- Take the Notary Public Course of Study and Examination from a state-authorized provider and download a certificate of completion and a certificate of passing.
- Have a digital image of your driver’s license or government-issued ID and MVA Change of Address Card available if the address doesn’t match the address on the notary application.
- Search for your legislative district in Maryland at www.mdelect.net.
- Complete the notary public application online at the Maryland Secretary of State’s website.
- Upload a copy of the driver’s license or ID and MVA change of address card (if applicable), certificate of course completion, and certificate of passing the exam and provide information for three-character references.
- Pay the $9 application fee and the $2 service/ convenience fee. The secretary of state will then forward the application to your state senator for endorsement. If the state senator approves the notary application, the Office of the Secretary of State will forward your notary commission certificate to the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which you reside or, if you are a non-Maryland resident, the county in which you selected to be commissioned.
- Appear before the circuit court clerk within thirty days after receiving a notification email from the Secretary of State's Office so you may take the oath of office, pay an $11 fee, be sworn in, and receive your notary commission.
Very important: If you do not appear before the circuit court clerk and take your oath of office within thirty days, your commission will be revoked. If your commission is revoked because you did not appear within thirty days, you must reapply by submitting a new application and paying another application fee.
Who can become a notary public in Maryland?
To become a notary in Maryland, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least eighteen (18) years old.
- Be of good moral character and integrity.
- Be a resident of Maryland or have a place of employment or practice in Maryland.
- If living in Maryland, be appointed by the senator representing the district in which you live.
- If living outside of Maryland, be a resident of a state that allows Maryland residents working in that state to serve as notaries public in that state.
This Maryland notary guide will help you understand the following:
- Who can become a notary in Maryland.
- How to become a notary in Maryland.
- The basic duties of a notary in Maryland.
How do I renew my notary commission in Maryland?
You can renew your notary commission sixty days before your current notary commission expires (e.g., if your commission expires on May 31, you may renew your commission on April 1). You have until thirty days after your commission expires to renew your notary commission (e.g., if your commission expires on May 31, you have until June 30 to renew your commission). If you do not renew your commission within the prescribed timeframe, you will not be able to renew, in which case you will be required to complete a new notary application.
Before renewing your Maryland notary commission, you must take a notary course from an approved notary course vendor and download a certificate of completion from an authorized provider.
To renew your Maryland notary commission:
- Go to the Maryland Secretary of State’s website and select “Renew Your Notary Commission” at https://www.egov.maryland.gov/sos/notary/#/home
- Upload a copy of your DL/ID, MVA change of address card (if applicable), and certificate of notary course completion.
- Pay the $11 application service/ convenience fee.
- Take your oath with the clerk of the circuit court when your application is approved and pay the $11 fee. In return, you will be issued the updated notary commission certificate.
Who appoints notaries in Maryland?
The Maryland Secretary of State receives applications for appointment and reappointment for all notaries public, and a state senator approves applications.
The Maryland Secretary of State can be contacted at:
Maryland Secretary of State
Notary Division, State House
16 Francis Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone Number: 410-974-5521
Fax Number: 410-974-5190
Can a non-resident of Maryland apply for a commission as a notary public?
Yes. A non-resident can apply to become a notary public in Maryland, provided the applicant:
- Has a place of employment or practice in Maryland.
- Meets the same eligibility requirements as Maryland residents except for the residency requirements.
- Is a resident of a state that allows Maryland residents working in that state to serve as notaries public in that state.
To become a notary in Maryland as a non-resident applicant, you must complete an application on the Maryland Secretary of State’s website.
How long is a notary public's commission term in Maryland?
The commission term of a Maryland notary public is four years from the date the notarial commission was issued. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void:
- By resignation, death, or revocation.
- When a notary public is no longer a resident of Maryland during their commission term.
- When a non-resident notary ceases to have a place of employment or practice in Maryland.
- When a notary has been convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud or dishonesty.
Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in Maryland?
Yes. Effective October 1, 2021, all new notary applicants must complete a course of study and pass an examination. However, notary renewal applicants are required to complete only a course of study. The course and examination must be taken through an entity approved by the secretary of state.
The course of study shall include the Maryland notary public laws, regulations, ethics, and procedures and the Handbook for Maryland Notaries Public. Every topic shall be fully covered so each participant can comply with the requirements above.
How much does it cost to become a notary public in Maryland?
To become a notary public in Maryland, you must pay the following:
- The cost for a mandatory notary course and examination.
- A $9 filing fee for processing your notary application and a $2 service/convenience fee.
- A $10 fee for the commission and a $1 registration fee to the clerk of the court.
Other expenses include the cost of purchasing:
- A Maryland notary stamp.
- A Maryland notary journal to record all notarial acts performed.
- An errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to protect yourself if you are sued for unintentional mistakes or if a false claim is filed against you as a notary. (This step is optional.)
Do I need a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to become a notary in Maryland?
A notary errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Maryland and not required to become a Maryland notary public or to renew your notary commission. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends every Maryland notary obtain a notary E&O insurance policy. This insurance protects the notary from a claim if a client sues the notary. A notary E&O policy covers unintentional notarial mistakes and pays for legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Maryland notary public selects.
Do I need a notary bond to become a notary in Maryland?
Maryland does not require a notary bond to become a notary public or to renew your notary public commission.
Note: A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from their negligence, errors, official malfeasance, or omissions. Maryland notaries are encouraged to purchase a notary errors and omissions insurance policy to insure themselves against such claims.
Do I need to order a notary stamp in Maryland?
Yes, you are required to have a Maryland notary stamp. Maryland notary statute requires all notaries public to authenticate all official acts with a notary stamp (ACM St. Gov. §18-217). Section 18-217 does not provide the legal specifications regarding the layout, ink color, shape, design, and measurements required on official stamps.
Required Elements: Effective October 1, 2020, the official stamp of a notary public must include the following:
- The name of the notary public as it appears on the notary's commission.
- The words “Notary Public.”
- The county (or “City of Baltimore”) in which the notary was commissioned.
- The expiration date of the notary’s commission, unless the expiration date is part of the notarial certificate or affixed to or logically associated with the record being notarized.
The official notary stamp must also be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated.
Note: Each notary public is responsible for the security of their stamping device and must not allow another individual to use the stamping device to perform notarial acts (ACM St. Gov. §18-218). You must promptly notify the secretary of state upon discovering that your notary stamp has been lost or stolen. In the event of your death, your representative, guardian, or any other person knowingly possessing the notary stamping device shall destroy it.
To order a Maryland notary stamp, notary seal, complete notary package, and notary supplies, please visit the American Association of Notaries website at https://www.notarypublicstamps.com/notary-stamps/maryland.
How much can a Maryland notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
Maryland notary fees are set by state notary statute ACM St. Gov. §18-107 and Notary Public: General Regulation 01.02.08.02. The maximum allowable fees that a Maryland notary public may charge are outlined below:
- A notary may charge $6 for the performance of a traditional notarial act and $25 for the performance of a remote notarial act.
- When a notary public is requested to notarize more than one copy of the same record, where the copy or copies have been signed at the same time by the same person or persons, the notary may demand and receive $6 for notarizing each signature on the original or first copy of the record and may demand and receive $3 for each signature on each additional copy of the same record.
- When a notary public is requested to make reproductions of a notarized record or an entry in the notary’s journal by photocopying or other means, the notary may demand and receive not more than $2 for each copy furnished.
- A notary public may demand and receive reimbursement at the prevailing rate for mileage established by the Internal Revenue Service for business travel and a fee not to exceed $5 for travel if required to perform a notarial act. Please see the Notary Division Home page for the current mileage rate.
- A notary public may charge $6 for certifying a copy of a record in the notary’s journal.
Is a notary journal required in Maryland?
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 Maryland for traditional notarizations, electronic notarizations and remote notarizations – Maryland notaries are required to maintain a notary journal to record their notarial acts. A journal may be maintained on a tangible medium or in an electronic format. A notary public can maintain only one journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts performed regarding tangible records, and one or more journals to chronicle all notarial acts performed regarding electronic records. If the journal is maintained on a tangible medium, the journal must be permanent, bound register with numbered pages. If the journal is maintained in an electronic format, the journal must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format that complies with any regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.
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 Maryland notaries record in their notary journals?
Maryland requires notaries to chronicle the following information in their notary journals regarding traditional notarizations, electronic notarizations and remote notarizations:
- The date and time the notarial act was performed.
- A description of the record, if any, and type of notarial act.
- The full name and address of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed.
- If the identity of the individual is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect.
- If the identity of the individual is based on satisfactory evidence, a brief description of the method of identification and the identification credential presented, if any, including the date of issuance and expiration of any identification credential, and the identification number associated with the identification credential; (e.g. driver’s license number, etc.)
- The fee, if any, charged by the notary public, if no fee is charged, the record should indicate no fee.
- An indication of whether an individual making a statement or executing a signature which is the subject of the notarial act appeared in the notary public’s physical presence or remotely by means of communication technology.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Maryland?
You may perform notarial acts while physically located anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Maryland.
What notarial acts can a Maryland notary public perform?
A Maryland notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts [ACM St. Gov. §18-201(j)(2)]:
- Taking acknowledgments
- Administering oaths and affirmations
- Taking verifications on oath or affirmation
- Witnessing or attesting signatures
- Certifying or attesting a copy
- Certifying a tangible copy of an electronic record
- Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument
Can I perform electronic notarizations in Maryland?
Effective October 1, 2020, the State of Maryland has enacted the Maryland Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (2019), which authorizes electronic signatures used by Maryland notaries public (ACM St. Gov. §18-220). A notary public may select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts concerning electronic records.
What is the process to become a Maryland electronic notary public?
Before you, as a notary public, perform your initial notarial act concerning an electronic record, you must:
- Notify the secretary of state that you will be performing notarial acts concerning electronic records.
- Identify the technology you intend to use, and the technology must conform to the standards adopted by the secretary of state by rule.
Can I perform remote online notarizations in Maryland?
Yes. You can perform remote online notarization on tangible and electronic documents if authorized by the secretary of state.
How do I become a remote online notary in Maryland?
To become a remote online notary in Maryland, you must:
- Be a current notary public in good standing.
- Download and complete the appropriate Remote Notary Notification Form from the Maryland Secretary of State’s website. There’s a Remote Notary Notification Form for remote notarial acts requiring a remote online notary vendor and another for remote notarial acts on tangible records (not requiring a remote online notary vendor).
- Select one or more authorized remote online notary vendors that will provide the technology to perform remote online notarizations (if applicable). You can find a list of authorized remote online notary vendors on the Maryland Secretary of State’s website.
- Email the Remote Notary Notification Form and a copy of your current Maryland notary commission to the Maryland Secretary of State.
- Await an email from the secretary of state confirming you are authorized to perform remote notarial acts.
The Maryland Secretary of State has two types of remote notary notification forms, one for notaries public who intend to perform remote notarial acts on electronic records using an authorized remote online notary vendor (Remote Notary Notification Form For Remote Notarial Acts Requiring A Remote Online Notary Vendor) and one for notaries who intend to perform remote notarial acts using other communication technology [Remote Notary Notification Form For Remote Notarial Acts On Tangible Records (Not Requiring A Remote Online Notary Vendor)].
How do I update my address on my Maryland notary commission?
If your address has changed, you are required within thirty days of the change to notify the secretary of state. To update your address, visit the Maryland Secretary of State’s website and follow the instructions provided.
A new stamping device is not required if you have only changed your address, even if the new address is not in the county (or City of Baltimore) where you received the commission and which appears on your stamping device. An updated commission is not issued for a change of address.
How do I change my name on my notary commission in Maryland?
If your name changes (for example, by marriage), you must notify the secretary of state within thirty days of the change. Click here to update your name with the Maryland Secretary of State.
You may continue to perform official notarial acts under the name in which you were commissioned until your current notary term expires. However, it is preferable to write on each notarial certificate you complete: “(New Name), commissioned as (Prior Name).” For example: “Sally Jones, commissioned as Sally Johnson.”
If you prefer to obtain a new notary commission with your new name, you must be re-sworn in under the new name and pay a non-refundable $5 application fee plus a $1 service fee. You must appear before the clerk to be sworn in under the new name and pay the clerk of the court’s fee, just as if you were renewing your notary commission. When you are sworn in for the new commission because of a name change, the previous commission held in the old name is no longer valid.
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 this information from various 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.