How to become a Montana Notary

Abbreviation: MT   |   41st State   |   Statehood: November 8, 1889 |
How to become a notary in Montana:
To become a notary in Montana, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • Be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in Montana
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Not have been disqualified to receive a commission as provided in Section 1-5-621, MCA
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Montana:
In order to become a Montana notary and receive a Montana notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  • Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  • Pass the Montana Notary Public Exam before applying for a notary public commission.
  • Obtain a $10,000 surety bond.
  • Complete the Application for Appointment as a Montana Notary Public online and print it out, or print a copy of the blank application and fill it out by hand.
  • Have the application notarized.
  • Submit the complete and signed application, the original $10,000 surety bond, the exam certificate, and the non-refundable filing fee of $25 to the Secretary of State within thirty days of the bond’s effective date.
  • Purchase a notary stamp and journal upon receiving the Certificate of Commission, which will probably be mailed within 14 days.

To download the application form, click here.

 
Non-Resident Montana Notary:
Not permitted. The Montana Secretary of State will not commission non-residents. However, North Dakota notaries and Wyoming notaries may perform notarial acts in Montana, especially if they are employed in Montana.
 
Is a Montana notary bond required to become a notary in Montana?
Yes. A Montana surety bond (assurance) in the amount of $10,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. The assurance must be issued by a surety or other entity licensed or authorized to do business in Montana.
 
Do I need Montana notary errors and omissions insurance?
While optional in Montana, 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. The American Association of Notaries encourages Montana notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Montana?
To become a notary public in Montana, a notary applicant’s required expenses include the following: (1) a $25 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a surety bond; (3) a notary seal; and (4) a notary journal. Additional expenses may, at the notary’s option, include the purchase of an errors and omissions insurance policy to protect the notary against liability.
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Montana?
The term of office of a Montana notary public is four years, commencing on the date specified in the commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when a notary public no longer resides in Montana; or (5) when a nonresident notary no longer has a place of employment or practice in Montana.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts in Montana?
Montana notaries have jurisdiction to perform their official duties in every county in Montana. In some cases, a Montana notary public may perform a notarial act in either of the two adjoining states – North Dakota and Wyoming. Even when performing a notarization in either North Dakota or Wyoming, a Montana notary must always follow the laws and rules of Montana. The statutes that allow this practice are dependent on both Montana and the reciprocal states.
 
Who appoints Montana notaries public?
The Montana Secretary of State appoints Montana notaries public.

 

Contact information for the Secretary of State is as follows:

 

Montana Secretary of State
Notary and Certification Services
P.O. Box 202801
Helena, MT 59620-2801
(406) 444-5379 or (406) 444-1877

 
How to renew your Montana notary commission:
A Montana notary public may not renew his or her commission more than thirty days prior to the commission expiration date or thirty days after the commission expires.The application for reappointment process is the same as the initial application for appointment process. If a notary fails to renew his or her notary commission in a timely manner, the notary will be required to re-take a notary training program. To begin the renewal process, go to: http://sos.mt.gov/notary/New.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become a notary or renew your Montana notary public certificate?
Yes. New notary applicants must complete a notary training program approved by the Secretary of State and pass the Montana Notary Public Exam before applying for a commission as a Montana notary public. To begin the Montana Online Notary Training, go to: http://sos.mt.gov/Notary/Training/Online.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Montana?
Yes. Montana law requires all notaries public to affix an official stamp to authenticate all notarial acts performed. Section 1-5-616 of the Montana Code Annotated and Section 44-15-107 of the Administrative Rules of Montana provide the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary stamps.

 

Dimensions: The stamp must be rectangular in form, approximately 1” x 2 ½” in size with a rectangular border.

 

Required Elements: The Montana notary stamp must be in blue or black ink and have a circular seal to the left and contain the following elements:

  • The words “notarial seal”
  • The words “State of Montana”
  • The notary public’s name as it appears on the notary’s certificate of commission
  •  

    In addition, the Montana notary stamp must have a block of text to the right of the seal that includes:

  • The notary public’s name as it appears on the notary’s certificate of commission
  • The words “Notary Public for the State of Montana”
  • The words “Residing at” immediately followed by the name of the city or town and state where the notary public lives
  • The words “My Commission Expires” immediately followed by the notary public’s commission expiration date, expressed in terms of the month(spelled out), day, and four-digit year
  •  

    A plain rectangular border must enclose the text and seal and be presented in the general format illustrated in the Montana Notary Public Handbook

     
    Is a notary journal required in Montana?
    Yes. Montana notaries are required to maintain one or more journals in a tangible medium or in an electronic format to chronicle all notarial acts performed. The format of a journal maintained in a tangible medium must be a permanent, bound register designed to deter fraud. A journal maintained in an electronic format must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format that complies with the rules adopted by the Secretary of State.Montana notaries must retain a notary record book ten years after the performance of the last notarial act.For Montana notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
     
    How much can a Montana notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Montana notary fees are set by statute (§1-5-626[1]). The maximum allowable fees that a Montana notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $10
  • Oaths or affirmations - $10
  • Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $10
  • Certifying copies - $10
  • Witnessing signatures - $10
  • Certifying transcripts - $3.50 per page
  •  

    Note: If a notary travels to perform a notarization, he or she may charge a travel fee at the mileage rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. If the notary is going to charge a travel fee, the notary must: (1) explain to the person requesting the notarial act that the travel fee is in addition to the statutory notarial fees; (2) the travel fee is not determined by law; and (3) the person requesting the notarial act agrees in advance to the amount of the travel fee. Notaries who charge notarial fees must publish their fee schedules in English.

     
    What notarial acts can a Montana notary public perform?
    A Montana notary public is authorized to perform these notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Witness or attest signatures
  • Take verifications upon oath or affirmation
  • Certify transcripts of depositions or affidavits
  • Protest of negotiable instruments
  • Certify copies of non-recordable documents
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Montana?
    Yes. The state of Montana has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act, including the provision on notarization and acknowledgment, which authorizes electronic signatures used by Montana notaries. In addition, the Secretary of State has adopted some rules and/or procedures for electronic notarizations. A Montana notary public who intends to provide electronic notarization services must provide the Secretary of State with the identification of the tamper-proof technology the notary intends to use.

     

    Personal Appearance. Section 1-5-603 states, “If a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature shall appear physically before the notarial officer or by real-time, two-way video and audio communication technology as authorized in 1-5-615 and 1-5-628.Montana law defines personal appearance as either physical presence or, in some specific situations, real-time, two-way video and audio communication (remote notarization).

    Can I perform remote notarizations in Montana?
    Yes. The Secretary of State has adopted rules and standards for Montana notaries who perform acknowledgments or verifications on oath or affirmation by means of a real-time, two-way audio-video communication (remote notarization). Remote notarization is permitted if: (a) the signer is personally known to the notary or identified by a credible witness; (b) except for a transaction that is pursuant to a proxy marriage under MCA §40-1-213 or MCA §40-1-301, the signer is a legal resident of Montana; and (c) the transaction involves real property located in Montana, involves personal property titled in Montana, is under the jurisdiction of any Montana court, or is pursuant to a proxy marriage under MCA §40-1-213 or MCA §40-1-301. Notaries who perform remote notarization must keep a copy of the recording of the entire communication and a record of the identification used for a period of ten years from the date of the notarization.The jurisdiction for performing remote notarizations is limited strictly to within the borders of Montana.

     

    Personal Appearance. Section 1-5-603 states, “If a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature shall appear physically before the notarial officer or by real-time, two-way video and audio communication technology as authorized in 1-5-615 and 1-5-628.” Montana law defines personal appearance as either physical presence or, in some specific situations, real-time, two-way video and audio communication (remote notarization).

     
    How do I change my address?
    A Montana notary public whose residence, mailing address, personal telephone number, or employment information changes during the term of the notary’s commission is required to submit a Notary Information Update form to the Secretary of State within thirty days of any changes. An amended Certificate of Commission will be issued when the notary’s city of residence changes, and he or she will have to obtain a new stamp. Click here to download the Notary Information Update form.
     
    How do I change my name on my notary commission in Montana?
    A Montana notary public whose name is legally changed during the term of the notary’s commission is required to notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of the name change and provide the following: (1) a Notary Information Update form; (2) a rider bearing the notary’s new name; and (3) an example of the notary’s new official signature. The notary will receive by mail an amended certificate reflecting the new name, which is required to obtain a notary stamp with the new name. Click here to download the Notary Information Update form.
     
    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    A Montana notary public, or his or her representative, should send a written notice to the Secretary of State if the notary: (1) no longer maintains a residence in Montana during the term of the commission; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (3) is deceased; (4) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Secretary of State’s revocation process; or (5) no longer has a place of employment or practice in Montana (for nonresident notaries). In all of the above-referenced situations, the notary seal must be immediately destroyed, and the notary’s journal must be forwarded to the Secretary of State.
     
    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Montana notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving advice concerning legal documents
  • Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
  • Claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary public does not provide
  • Acting as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters
  • Representing a person in a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to immigration to the United States or United States citizenship or related matters
  • Receiving compensation for performing any immigration or immigration-related activities
  • Using the terms “notario” or “notario publico” when advertising notarial services
  • Engaging in false or deceptive advertising
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
  • Notarizing a document without the signer being in the notary’s presence at the time of the notarization
  • Notarizing a document if the signer of the document is not personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence of identity
  • Submitting an application or endorsements for a notarial commission containing substantial and significant misstatements or omission of fact
  • Notarizing a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
  • Performing any notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • Signing a notarial certificate under any other name than the one under which the notary was commissioned
  • Notarizing a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false
  • Allowing another person to use the notary’s seal or stamp
  • Using a notary seal or stamp that does not conform to statutory requirements
  • Notarizing a document when the notary has a personal financial or beneficial interest in the transaction being notarized
  • Notarizing incomplete documents or documents that contain blank spaces
  • Certifying a copy of documents recordable in the public records
  • Withholding access to, or retaining possession of, an original record provided by a person seeking performance of a notarial act except as otherwise allowed by law
  •  
    Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Montana notaries public who commit official malfeasance may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action.

     

    Administrative Rules of Montana Section 44-15-106(3): A notary public must notify the Secretary of State within 14 calendar days if:

  • (a) he or she is convicted of a felony or crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit;
  • (b) he or she is found in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action to have acted fraudulently, dishonestly, or deceitfully; or
  • (c) he or she has a notary commission denied, revoked, or restricted in a state other than Montana.
  • Montana Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Montana Code Annotated, Title 1, Chapter 5, Part 6 “Notarial Acts”
    http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0010/chapter_0050/part_0060/sections_index.html

     

    Montana Code Annotated, Title 1, Chapter 5, Part 3 “Proof of Execution”
    http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0010/chapter_0050/part_0030/sections_index.html

     

    Administrative Rules of Montana, Title 44, Chapter 15 “Notaries Public”
    http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/ChapterHome.asp?Chapter=44%2E15

     
    Montana Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Montana’s notarial certificates.

    Revised: January 2018

    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.
    0 Products $0.00
    View Cart | Checkout