How to Become a Notary in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a Massachusetts notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Massachusetts notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Massachusetts appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Massachusetts is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Massachusetts notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a Massachusetts notary
- The process to become a Massachusetts notary
- Basic Massachusetts notarial duties
What are the qualifications to become a Massachusetts notary?
To become a Massachusetts notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
1. Be at least 18 years of age.
2. Reside or have a regular place of work or business within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
What is the process to become a Massachusetts notary?
To become a Massachusetts notary public and receive a Massachusetts notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Complete a Notary Public Application.
- Staple an up-to-date resume at the end of the application.
- Staple a business card to the upper left corner of the first page of the application if the applicant has one.
- Have the application signed by four persons, of whom one must be a member of the bar in good standing. Click here to download the application form - https://www.mass.gov/doc/notary-public-application/download
- Submit the completed and notarized application with all pages stapled together, to: Notary Public Office, Room 184, State House, Boston, MA 02133. (Do not send any payment with the application.)
- When the application is favorably considered, the applicant will receive a notification of appointment from the Secretary of the Commonwealth with instructions to be sworn in and the payment methods for paying the $60 commission fee to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Can a non-resident become a notary in Massachusetts?
Yes. An individual who is not a resident of Massachusetts may apply for a Massachusetts notary public commission if such individual has a regular place of work or business within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Massachusetts?
A Massachusetts notary applicant’s expenses may include:
- A $60 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment
- The cost of an official notarial seal or stamp
- The cost of a notarial journal
- The cost 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 Massachusetts notary commission?
“Renewal applications are automatically mailed to Massachusetts notaries five weeks prior to expiration of a notary’s commission. Renewal applications are not available online.” (Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website, “Notary Public Renewal.”) To download an application, go to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prenotrenewal/notrenewalidx.htm
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a Massachusetts notary public or to renew my Massachusetts notary public commission?
No. New applicants seeking appointments as Massachusetts notaries public and renewing notaries are not required to take and pass any notary course of study or examination to be appointed and commissioned. However, all applicants for a Massachusetts notary public commission are required to read Chapter 222 of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 289 of the Acts of 2016, and agree to comply with all of its terms.
Can I perform electronic notarization in Massachusetts?
Yes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, Mass. General Laws, Part I, Title XV, Chapter 110G, Section 11, which 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.” Moreover, Chapter 222, Section 16 prohibits a notary public from performing a notarial act if the principal is not in the notary public’s presence at the time of notarization.
What is the process to become a Massachusetts electronic notary public?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has neither enacted into the state notary statute any electronic notarization provisions nor adopted/published regulations or established standards and procedures for a notary public’s performance of electronic notarizations.
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in Massachusetts?
Yes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted Senate Bill 2645 (2020) that temporarily authorizes a notary public appointed and commissioned under Chapter 222 of the General Laws of Massachusetts to perform an acknowledgment, affirmation, or other notarial act utilizing electronic video conferencing in real time, effective April 23, 2020. However, Senate Bill 2645 limits the use of real-time electronic video conference for notarial acts to attorneys licensed in Massachusetts (or paralegals operating under the supervision of Massachusetts attorneys) for the following documents:
- Documents involved with a conveyance of title to real estate
- Nominations of a guardian or conservator
- Durable powers of attorney
- Health care proxies or authorizations under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
This act will be repealed three business days after termination of the Governor’s March 10, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency.
What is the process to become a Massachusetts remote online notary public?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has not enacted permanent state statutes, adopted/published regulations, or established standards and procedures for a notary public’s performance of remote online notarizations.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Massachusetts?
The commission term of a Massachusetts notary public is seven years unless the commission is revoked earlier or the notary public resigns (MGL c222 §14).
Is a Massachusetts notary bond required to become a notary in Massachusetts?
No. New applicants seeking appointments as notaries public and renewing notaries are not required by state notary statute to obtain a notary bond to be commissioned as a notary public in Massachusetts. A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from his or her negligence, errors, official malfeasance, or omissions. Massachusetts notaries are encouraged to purchase a notary surety bond to insure themselves against such claims.
Do I need a Massachusetts notary errors and omission insurance?
No. An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Massachusetts. It is not mandatory to have E&O insurance when applying for appointment as a notary public. However, the American Association of Notaries encourages Massachusetts notaries public to 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 or damages 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 Massachusetts notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts notaries public may perform notarial acts anywhere within the geographic borders of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (MGL c222 §14). Massachusetts notaries public may not perform notarial acts outside the Commonwealth.
Who appoints Massachusetts notaries public?
The Governor appoints Massachusetts notaries public with the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. The Secretary of the Commonwealth processes renewal notary applications, makes updates to notaries’ record information, maintains notaries’ appointments, and authenticates their notarial acts. To check the status of a notary application, call (617) 725-4016.
Contact information for the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth is as follows:
Office of the Governor
Notary Public Office
24 Beacon Street, Room 184
Boston, MA 02133
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 727-2836
Fax: (617) 727-5914
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Massachusetts?
Yes. The Massachusetts notary statute requires all Massachusetts notaries public to use an official notarial seal or stamp to authenticate all notarial acts. “If a notarial seal that requires ink is employed, black ink shall be used” (MGL c222 §8[b]).
Dimensions: Not specified by state notary statute.
Required Elements: The notarial seal or stamp must include:
- The notary public’s name exactly as indicated on the commission
- The words “notary public”
- The words “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” or “Massachusetts”
- The words “My commission expires _______”
- A facsimile of the seal of the Commonwealth
The official notarial seal or stamp is the exclusive property of the notary public. A notary public shall not permit another to use his or her notarial seal or stamp (MGL c222 §8[b]).
Is a notary journal required in Massachusetts?
Yes. A Massachusetts notary public is required to keep only one active chronological official journal of notarial acts performed by the notary public. The journal must be a permanently bound notary record book with sequentially numbered pages. A notary public who is an attorney admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction or who is employed by any such attorney is exempt from the notary journal-keeping requirements (MGL c222 §22[f]). A notary public who works for a government entity shall not be required to maintain a journal for the notarial acts performed in the course of that employment. If not in use, a notary’s journal must be kept in a secure area under the exclusive control of the notary public and must not be used by any other notary public or surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment. A notary public must retain the journal and records for seven years after the date of expiration, resignation, or revocation (MGL c222 §24). The American Association of Notaries recommends all Massachusetts notaries public maintain a chronological official journal of every notarial act performed as a protective measure against allegations of fraudulent notarial acts and official misconduct. For Massachusetts notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.
How much can a Massachusetts notary charge for performing notarial acts?
The maximum allowable fees that a Massachusetts notary public may charge for notarial acts are not set by state statutes, except for protests. Section 23 states, “no fee shall be charged by a notary public to notarize a signature on an absentee ballot identification envelope or other voting materials or on any application or claim by a United States military veteran for a pension, allotment, allowance, compensation, insurance or other veterans' benefit” (MGL c222 §23).
What notarial acts can a Massachusetts notary public perform?
A Massachusetts notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (MGL c222 §15a):
- Oaths and affirmations
- Signature witnessing
- Copy certifications
- Issuing summonses for witnesses pursuant to Section 1 of Chapter 233
- Issuing subpoenas
- Witnessing the opening of a bank safe, vault, or box pursuant to Section 32 of Chapter 167
How do I update my address for my Massachusetts notary commission?
Within ten days after the change of a notary public’s name, residence, business address, or mailing address, a Massachusetts notary public must send to the Public Records Division with the Secretary of Commonwealth a signed notice of the change and provide both the old and new information (MGL c222 §25). When submitting an address change notification, a notary public must include his or her current commission expiration date. To file an address change notification with the Secretary of Commonwealth, a notary public may go to https://www.mass.gov/service-details/questions-about-notaries-public-heres-who-to-contact or call (617) 727-2836.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in Massachusetts?
A Massachusetts notary public whose name has legally changed during the term of his or her notary public commission is required to notify the Public Records Division with the Secretary of Commonwealth within ten days of the name change (MGL c222 §25). When submitting the name change notification, a notary public must provide both the old and new information and the notary’s current commission expiration date. To file a name change notification with the Secretary of Commonwealth, a notary public may go to: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/questions-about-notaries-public-heres-who-to-contact or call (617) 727-2836.
Revised: September 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 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.