How to Become a Notary in Michigan
The Application Process to Become a Notary in Michigan:
Are you interested in becoming a Michigan notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Michigan notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Michigan appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Michigan is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Michigan notary. The America Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This Michigan notary guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a notary in Michigan
- How to become a notary in Michigan
- The basic duties of a notary in Michigan
What are the qualifications to become a notary in Michigan?
To become a Michigan notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Be a resident of Michigan or maintain a principal place of business in Michigan
- Be a U.S. citizen or possess proof of legal presence in the United States.
- Be a resident of the county from which an appointment is sought or, for a nonresident, maintain a principal place of business in the county in which an appointment is sought.
- Read and write in the English language.
- Be free of any felony, misdemeanor, or violation described in section 41 (MCL 55.301).
What is the process to become a notary in Michigan?
In order to become a Michigan notary and receive a Michigan notary commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Obtain a $10,000 surety bond within ninety days before submitting the notary application. (Attorneys are exempt from the bond requirement).
- Take the surety bond, completed application, and the $10 filing fee to the county clerk in the county of his or her residence (or where the principal place of business is located for a nonresident).
- Take the oath of office administered by the county clerk. The county clerk will verify the application and affix the county seal to the application.
- Mail the completed and county-verified application to the Michigan Secretary of State (Office of the Great Seal) along with the $10 application fee.
Note. The Secretary of State will list a notary public as “active” on his or her website when approved. To check an application status, go to: https://www.michigan.gov/sos/all-services/notary-application.
How do I renew my notary commission in Michigan?
There is no renewal process established with the Secretary of State. However, a Michigan notary public may apply for a new commission no more than sixty days prior to the notary’s commission expiration date. Notaries who are licensed attorneys in Michigan will receive a reappointment application ninety days prior to their commission expiration dates. A notary attorney’s application for reappointment must be certified by the State Bar of Michigan to verify that the attorney is still a member in good standing.
Who appoints notaries in Michigan?
The Secretary of State (Office of the Great Seal) processes notary applications, issues notary public commissions, and maintains all the records regarding notaries public. To contact the Secretary of State, use the following information:
Secretary of State
Michigan Department of State
Office of the Great Seal
7064 Crowner Blvd
Lansing, MI 48918-1750
Can a non-resident become a notary in Michigan?
Yes. A resident of a state bordering Michigan can become a Michigan notary public if the individual:
- Meets the same qualifications as a Michigan resident.
- Demonstrates that his or her principal place of business is located in the county in which he or she requests appointment.
- Indicates that he or she is engaged in an activity in connection with that business in which he or she is likely to be required to perform notarial acts.
- Follows all of the initial application for appointment process and procedures (MCL 55.271[e]).
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Michigan?
The term of a notary public commission is not less than six years and not more than seven years after the date of a notary’s appointment (MCL 55.269). Each notary public commission ends on the notary’s birthday. A notary’s commission may be rendered void:
- By cancellation.
- By suspension.
- By revocation.
- By operation of law.
- When the notary ceases to reside in Michigan.
- When a nonresident notary ceases to maintain a principal place of business in Michigan.
Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in Michigan?
No. Michigan notary statute does not require a course of study and/or examination to become a notary public in Michigan. However, Michigan notary statute requires a notary public to obtain and read a copy of all the Michigan current statutes that regulate notarial acts before a notary public performs any notarial act (MCL 55.283).
How much does it cost to become a notary in Michigan?
To become a notary public in Michigan, a notary applicant’s expenses may include the following:
- A $10 application fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment.
- A $10 fee to file a surety bond with the county clerk.
- A surety bond.
- A journal if the notary wishes to record all notarial acts performed.
- A notary seal if a notary wishes to authenticate a notarial act.
- An E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to obtain one for his or her own personal legal and financial protection.
Is a notary errors and omissions insurance policy required to become a notary in Michigan?
A notary errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Michigan. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Michigan notaries public obtain errors and omissions insurance policies for their personal protection against liability. 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. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Michigan notary public selects.
Is a notary bond required to become a notary in Michigan?
A surety bond in the amount of $10,000 is required for all new applicants seeking an appointment as a notary public as well as for renewing notaries public in Michigan. Within ninety days before filing an application for a notary public appointment, a person must file with the county clerk of his or her residence or expected appointment a surety bond issued by a surety licensed to do business in Michigan. A licensed attorney in good standing with the State Bar of Michigan is not required to file a surety bond with the county clerk; however, the state bar number must be included on the application for verification (MCL 55.273).
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Michigan?
A Michigan notary stamp is optional. Section 55.287(2) of the Michigan Law of Notarial Acts states, “on each record that a notary public performs a notarial act and immediately near the notary public's signature, as is practical, the notary public shall print, type, stamp, or otherwise imprint mechanically or electronically sufficiently clear and legible to be read by the secretary and in a manner capable of photographic reproduction all of the following in this format or in a similar format that conveys all of the same information”:
- The name of the notary public exactly as it appears on the notary public commission.
- The words “Notary Public, State of Michigan, County of ____________.”
- The words “My commission expires___________.”
- The words “Acting in the County of _____________” if the notary is performing a notarial act in a county other than the county of commission.
- The date the notarial act was performed.
- If applicable, whether the notarial act was performed using an electronic notarization system under section 26a (MCL 55.286a) or performed using a remote electronic notarization platform under section 26b (MCL 55.286b).
Note: A notary public may use a stamp, seal, or electronic process that contains all of the information required under subsection 2. However, the notary public must not use the stamp, seal, or electronic process in a manner that renders anything illegible on the record being notarized. A notary public shall not use an embosser alone or use any other method that cannot be reproduced (MCL 55.287).
How much can a Michigan notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
Michigan notary fees are set by state notary statute (MCL 55.285). The maximum fees that a Michigan notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $10.00
- Oaths and affirmations - $10.00
- Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $10
- Witnessing or attesting a signature - $10
Note: A notary public must either conspicuously display a sign or expressly advise an individual concerning the fee amount to be charged for a notarial act before the notary performs the act. A Michigan notary public may charge a separate travel fee, as agreed to by the notary and the client prior to the notarial act (MCL 55.285).
Is a notary journal required in Michigan?
The Michigan notary statute does not require Michigan notaries to maintain a journal of their notarial acts performed. If a journal and/or records are kept, Michigan notaries are required to maintain their journal/records of their recorded notarizations for at least five years after the date of the notarial act (MCL55.313). If a notary public performs notarial acts using a remote electronic notarization platform, the notary must maintain only one journal of his or her remote notarizations performed, and the journal must be either a tangible, permanent bound register or in a tamper-evident permanent electronic format (MCL 55.286b). While not required by state notary law, the American Association of Notaries recommends that Michigan notaries:
- Maintain a journal of their notarial acts to assist in recalling past notarial acts, if needed, or if legally challenged.
- 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.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Michigan?
Michigan notaries have statewide jurisdiction, and they must be physically within the geographic borders of the state of Michigan. Likewise, Michigan notaries public may not perform notarial acts outside of Michigan.
What notarial acts can a Michigan notary public perform?
A Michigan notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts(MCL 55.285):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths or affirmations
- Take verifications upon oath or affirmation
- Witness or attest signatures
Can I perform electronic notarizations in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan significantly amended its laws (Michigan Law on Notarial Acts) concerning notarial acts in 2018. The new laws were amended to authorize notaries public to obtain an electronic signature and electronic seal to notarize electronic documents in the physical presence of the individual seeking the notarization like a traditional/pen and paper notarization. The new notary laws require the Secretary of State to work in conjunction with the Department of Technology Management and Budget to implement the new programs in Michigan by selecting and approving electronic notarization systems for the performance of electronic notarizations by March 30, 2019. As of September 2019, there are no electronic notarization systems approved for use in Michigan. Until the electronic notarization systems have been approved, a Michigan electronic notary public cannot perform electronic notarizations as an e-notary. Before a notary public performs the notary’s initial electronic notarization, the notary must notify the Secretary of State that the notary will be performing electronic notarizations and identify the electronic notarization system the notary intends to use from the approved electronic notarization systems. An e-notary is not required to maintain a journal of each electronic notarial act performed. However, if an e-notary maintains a journal of each electronic notarization performed, the e-notary must maintain the journal for five years from the date of the last electronic notarial act recorded in the journal.
Can I perform remote online notarizations in Michigan?
Yes. Section 55.286 of the Michigan Law of Notarial Acts allows a Michigan notary public to perform a notarial act using an approved remote electronic notarization platform as a remote notary. The new notary law requires the Secretary of State to work in conjunction with the Department of Technology Management and Budget to implement the new programs in Michigan by selecting and approving remote electronic notarization platforms for the performance of remote notarizations in Michigan by March 30, 2019. As of September 2019, there are no vendor platforms approved for use in Michigan. Until the remote electronic notarization platforms have been approved, a Michigan notary public cannot perform remote notarizations as a remote notary. A notary public is prohibited from using a remote electronic notarization platform that has not been approved by the Secretary of State (MCL 55.286b) to perform remote notarizations.
To be eligible to perform remote notarizations, an applicant must:
1. Be commissioned as a notary public in Michigan.
2. Select and purchase a remote electronic notarization platform from the Secretary of State’s approved Remote Notary Public Vendors list. (A vendor must be on the list to be used in Michigan.)
3. Provide the Secretary of State with the name, contact information, and platform once purchased and complete one of the following:
- Form 99 (if currently a notary public).
- Form 98 (if new or renewing applicant).
4. There is no additional bond requirement or fee.
Moreover, a remote notarization must contain all of the components of a complete notarial act in compliance with the Michigan Law on Notarial Acts, which means:
- The remote notary must be physically located in Michigan, even though the principal may be geographically located in any state or country while visually in the presence of the remote notary through the use of audio and visual technologies.
- The principal’s identity must be established based on satisfactory evidence of identity.
- The remote notary must complete a notarial certificate.
- The remote notary must include the language in the notarial certificate that the notarial act was performed remotely.
When conducting remote notarizations, a remote notary must:
- Maintain only one journal for all of his or her remote notarizations performed.
- Retain an audio or visual recording of a remote notarization.
The remote notary must keep his or her journal and audio recordings for at least ten years after the performance of the remote notarization. The notarial fee remains up to $10 per notarial act regardless of the method: traditional, electronic, or remote. Technologies such as phone, fax, and email are not considered remote electronic notarization platforms.
How do I update my address with the Michigan Secretary of State?
Michigan notaries are required to update their address information by notifying the Secretary of State or by completing the “Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change” form. The notary’s new address information must match what is listed on the notary’s driver’s license or personal identification card. There is no charge to correct the notary’s records with the Secretary of State. To download the Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change form, click here.
How do I change my name on my notary commission in Michigan?
A Michigan notary public must immediately notify the Secretary of State and the county clerk of his or her appointment, in a format prescribed by the Secretary of State, upon any change in the factual information stated in the notary’s application for appointment. To report a name change to the Secretary of State, a notary public must complete and submit a “Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change” form. The notary’s new name must match what is on the notary’s driver’s license or personal identification card. The Secretary of State will notify the county clerk when a corrected commission is issued. There is no charge to correct a notary’s records with the Secretary of State. If a notary’s notification includes a written request for a replacement of his or her commission certificate, there will be a $10 processing fee. To download the Michigan Notary Public Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change form, click here.
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 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.