How to Become a Massachusetts Notary
The Massachusetts Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a Massachusetts notary? Are you interested in generating extra income as a notary, starting your own Massachusetts notary business, adding a Massachusetts notary title to your resume, or helping to notarize documents for people in your community? Massachusetts notaries are appointed by the state to serve the public as an unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. The process to become a notary in Massachusetts a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the state notary law requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Massachusetts notary. The American Association of Notaries can help you with the Massachusetts notary application process from start to finish, and when your application is approved, we can manufacture your notary stamp and notary supplies and provide you with support during your Massachusetts notary commission term so you can fulfill your notary duties accurately. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994. We can help you, too, become a notary!
This guide will help you understand:
- The process to become a Massachusetts notary
- Who can become a Massachusetts notary
- Basic Massachusetts notary duties
What are the qualifications 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 next 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.
- Submit the completed and notarized application with all pages stapled together to: Notary Public Office, Room 184, State House, Boston, MA 02133.
- 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 pay the required filing fees of $60.
What is the process to become a Massachusetts notary?
To become a notary in Massachusetts, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age.
- Reside or have a regular place of work or business within Massachusetts.
Can a non-resident become a notary in Massachusetts?
Yes. A nonresident can become a Massachusetts notary public if such person has a regular place of work or business within Massachusetts.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Massachusetts?
To become a notary public in Massachusetts, an applicant is required to pay an application filing fee of $60, plus the cost of obtaining a notary stamp and a notary journal.
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.)
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a Massachusetts notary public or to renew my Massachusetts notary public commission?
No. Massachusetts state law does not require a course of study or testing to become a notary public in the state of Massachusetts. However, all applicants for a Massachusetts notary public commission must read Chapter 222 of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 289 of the Acts of 2016, and they must agree to comply with all of its terms.
Can I perform electronic notarization in Massachusetts?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has not adopted rules and/or procedures for electronic notarizations. However, 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.” Therefore, Section 11 authorizes a notary’s electronic signature.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Massachusetts?
The term of office of a Massachusetts notary public is seven years, unless the commission is revoked earlier or the notary public resigns.
Is a Massachusetts notary bond required to become a notary in Massachusetts?
No, a bond is not required.
Do I need a Massachusetts notary errors and omission insurance?
Optional. A notary errors and omission insurance policy is optional. However, the American Association of Notaries encourages Massachusetts notaries public to obtain errors and omissions insurance for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability for unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. An E&O policy covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Massachusetts notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts notaries have statewide jurisdiction, and they must be physically within the geographic borders of the state of Massachusetts.
Who appoints Massachusetts notaries public?
The Governor appoints Massachusetts notaries public with the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth maintains notaries public appointments and authenticates their acts.
Contact information for the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth:
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
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Massachusetts?
Yes. Massachusetts notary law requires all Massachusetts notaries public to use an official seal or stamp to authenticate all notarial acts. If a notarial seal that requires ink is employed, black ink shall be used” (GL 222, Sec. 8[b]).
Dimensions: Not specified by state notary laws.
Required Elements: A Massachusetts notary’s official seal or stamp must contain the following:
- The notary public’s name exactly as indicated on his or her commission
- The words “notary public”
- The words “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” or “Massachusetts”
- The words “My commission expires _______”
- A facsimile of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The official notarial seal or stamp is the exclusive property of the notary public and may not be used by any other person.
Is a notary journal required in Massachusetts?
Yes. A Massachusetts notary public is required to keep only one active, permanently bound notary record book with sequentially numbered pages of all notarial acts performed by the notary public. 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 (GL 222, Sec. 22[f]). However, the American Association of Notaries strongly encourages Massachusetts notaries public to maintain a chronological official journal of every notarial act they perform. For Massachusetts notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
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 law. However, if a Massachusetts notary public charges a fee for notarial services, such notarial fees cannot be unreasonable or unfair.
What notarial acts can a Massachusetts notary public perform?
A Massachusetts notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (GL 222, Sec. 15a):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Execute jurats
- Witness signatures
- Copy certifications
- Issue summonses for witnesses
- Issue subpoenas
- Witness the opening of a bank safe, vault, or box
- Perform protests
How do I update my address with the Massachusetts Secretary of State?
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, providing both the old and new information (GL 222, Sec. 25). A notary public may contact the Office of the Secretary of Commonwealth by calling (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. The notification must provide both the old and new information. (GL 222, Sec. 25). A notary public may contact the Office of the Secretary of Commonwealth by calling (617) 727-2836.
Official notarial misconduct:
Massachusetts 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:
“(a) The attorney general or district attorney may prosecute any person committing a violation of this chapter. A person convicted of committing a violation of this chapter shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 6 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 1 year, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The attorney general or district attorney may file a petition for injunctive relief against any person who violates this chapter. If the attorney general, district attorney or the state secretary has cause to believe that, as a result of official misconduct, a person holding the office of notary public is unsuitable to hold that office, the attorney general, district attorney or state secretary shall provide notice to the governor of such official misconduct. Any conviction based on a violation of this chapter shall be grounds for the revocation of a notary public’s appointment. If the court finds that a person so convicted either knew or should have known that the conduct would be in violation of this chapter, the court may require such person to pay a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each such violation and may also require the person to pay the reasonable costs of investigation and litigation of the violation, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.” (GL 222, Sec. 18).
Massachusetts notary laws and regulations:
Massachusetts General Laws:
Part III, Title I, Chapter 222, “Justices of the Peace, Notaries Public and Commissioners”
Part II, Title I, Chapter 183, “Alienation of Land”
Part I, Title XV, Chapter 110G, Section 11, “Uniform Electronic Transactions
Massachusetts notarial certificates:
Click here to view your state's notarial certificates.
Revised: March 2019
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.
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.