How to Become a Notary in New York
The New York Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a New York notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own New York notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of New York appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in New York is a straightforward process, and as long as you fit the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a New York notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a New York notary
- The process to become a New York notary
- Basic New York notary duties
What are the qualifications to become a New York notary?
To become a New York notary public, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Be a citizen of the United States;
- Be a resident of the State of New York or have an office or a place of business in New York;
- Be a person of good moral character;
- Have the equivalent of a common school education;
- Not have been convicted, in New York or any other state or territory, of a felony and/or certain misdemeanors; and
- Pass the Notary Public Examination.
What is the process to become a New York notary?
To become a New York notary and receive a New York notary commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Pass the notary public examination and receive a pass slip. (NYS attorneys and court clerks of the Unified Court System are exempt from the examination.)
- Submit to the Secretary of State a completed original application form, together with the exam pass slip and a $60 application filing fee. (The application includes an oath of office, which must be sworn and notarized.)
- Upon approval of the application, the Secretary of State will issue and forward the new commission, the original oath of office, and the notary’s signature to the appropriate county clerk of the county where the notary resides or where the non-resident notary has an office or place of business.
- Within four to six weeks of application, a newly appointed notary will receive an identification card stating the notary’s name, address, county, and the commission term.
Note: The use of a P.O. box as the only address is not acceptable on the application. A street address is required. County clerk employees should use the county clerk address. Non-residents must use the street address of their New York business. Addresses are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law. If a notary applicant does not want his or her home address released, then use a business address.
To download the application form, go to: https://www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/notary/notary.html.
Can a non-resident become a notary in New York?
Yes. Non-residents who have an office or place of business in New York may apply for a New York notary public commission. Moreover, non-residents must meet the statutory eligibility requirements as a resident of New York. A non-resident who accepts the office of notary public in New York thereby appoints the Secretary of State as the person upon whom process can be served on his or her behalf. A non-resident notary public, who ceases to have an office or place of business in New York, vacates his or her office as a notary public.
How much does it cost to become a notary in New York?
To become a notary public in New York, a notary applicant’s expenses may include the cost for the following: (1) a $60 filing fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) the price of a notary seal if a notary public wishes to authenticate an official act with a notary seal; (3) a journal if the notary wishes to record every notarial act performed in a journal; (4) a notary bond if the notary wishes to purchase one to protect the public or principal signer from financial damages; and (5) an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to obtain one for his or her own personal legal and financial protection.
How do I renew my New York notary commission?
The application for reappointment is mailed to New York notaries by the Department of State approximately three months before the expiration of their terms. A notary public in New York must apply for reappointment as a notary public with the county clerk where the notary is commissioned before the expiration of his or her term. The application for reappointment must include the notary’s full name, current mailing address, the notary’s commission unique identification number, and commission expiration date. A reappointed notary public will receive a replacement identification card from the Secretary of State within six to eight weeks of the date the county clerk receives the notary’s application for reappointment as a notary public.
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a New York notary public or to renew my New York notary public commission?
Yes. First time notary applicants are required to take and pass the NYS Notary Public Examination. The examination results are only valid for a period of two years. Examination schedules are updated in January and July of each year and posted on the Department of State’s website. A score of at least seventy percent is required to pass the examination. A “pass slip” will be mailed to the individuals who passed the examination, which must be submitted with their applications for appointment. An attorney who is currently a member of the New York State Bar or a court clerk of the Unified Court System, appointed to that position after taking a Civil Service promotional examination in the court clerk series of titles, is not required to take and pass the examination. The examination fee is $15. Seats are limited and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. If the individual is late, he or she will not be admitted into the exam. Every individual taking and passing the NYS Notary Public Examination must bring a form of government-issued ID that includes his or her signature and photo. Notaries applying for reappointment as a notary public are not required to take and pass another notary public examination.
Can I perform electronic notarization in New York?
The State of New York has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, standards, and/or procedures for all standard electronic notarizations. However, in Chapter 549 of the Laws of 2011, the state’s Office of Information Technology Services adopted rules setting forth guidelines for recording electronic real property documents, including standards for the electronic notarization of such documents. New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations, Title 9, Subtitle N, Part 540, Section 540.7(e) specifically requires an electronic signer’s personal appearance before the notary public during the notarization of an electronic real property record, and the electronic signature used by the notary public must render such a document tamper-evident.
Article 9 (“Recording Instruments Affecting Real Property”), Section 291-i(c) states, “Where a law, rule or regulation requires, as a condition of recording, that an instrument affecting real property or a signature associated with such an instrument be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed or made under oath, the signature requirement is satisfied if: (i) the digitized image of a wet signature of the person authorized to perform that act, and any stamp, impression or seal required by law to be included, appears on a digitized paper document of such instrument; or (ii) the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform that act, and all other information required to be included, is attached to or logically associated with an electronic record of such instrument, provided, however that no physical or electronic image of a stamp,impression, or seal shall be required to accompany such electronic signature.”
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in New York?
No. The State of New York has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, standards, and/or procedures for remote (online) notarizations. New York state laws require that a notarial officer must determine, either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence, that the person appearing before the notarial officer and making the acknowledgment or verification or attesting the signature is the person whose signature is on the instrument. A principal signer must personally appear before a notary public and be physically close enough to see, hear, communicate with, and give identification documents as legally required without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or facsimile machines during the entire performance of a notarial act.
Pursuant to the regulations (Part 540, Title 9, Section 540.7(e) of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations promulgated by the state’s Office of Information Technology Services, the guidelines and standards for the recording and notarization of recording electronic real property documents distinctively require an electronic signer’s personal appearance before the notary public during the notarization of an electronic real property record. There are no exceptions to the legal requirement that the principal signer must be in the physical presence of the notary public for each and every notarial act performed. Therefore, New York notaries are prohibited from performing remote (online) notarizations.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in New York?
The term of office of a New York notary public is four years, commencing on the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by revocation; (3) by death; (4) when a notary public ceases to reside in New York; (5) when the non-resident notary ceases to have an office or place of business in New York; or (6) when the notary is convicted of a felony and/or certain misdemeanors.
Is a New York notary bond required to become a notary in New York?
No. A notary bond is not required to become a notary or to renew your New York notary commission.
Do I need a New York notary errors and omission insurance?
A notary errors and omissions insurance policy is optional. The American Association of Notaries highly recommends that New York notaries public consider obtaining a notary 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 damages to a party affected by the notary’s notarial actions. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a New York notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in New York?
New York notaries public have statewide jurisdiction, and they must perform all notarizations within the geographic borders of the State of New York (Executive Law §130).
Who appoints New York notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints, commissions, and regulates notaries public in New York. To contact the Secretary of State, use the following information:
New York State
Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
P.O. Box 22065
Albany, New York 12201-2065
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in New York?
No. “The laws of the State of New York donot require the use of seals by notaries public. If a seal is used, it should sufficiently identify the notary public, his authority, and jurisdiction. It is the opinion of the Department of State that the only inscription required is the name of the notary and the words “Notary Public for the State of New York.” For New York notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call 800.721.2663.
Is a notary journal required in New York?
No. The New York notary statute does not require New York notaries public to record their notarial acts in a journal. While a journal is not required by state law, the American Association of Notaries recommends that New York notaries public: (1) maintain a log of their official acts to assist in recalling past notarial acts, if needed, or if legally challenged; and (2) maintain a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages to create and preserve a chronological record of every notarial act as a protective measure against liability. For New York notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call 800.721.2663.
How much can a New York notary charge for performing notarial acts?
New York notary fees are set by Executive Law (EL §136). The maximum allowable fees that a New York notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $2.00
- Oaths or affirmations - $2.00
- Jurats - $2.00
- Swearing a witness - $2.00
- Protests - $0.75
- Each additional notice of protest (limit 5) - $0.10
Note: A notary public may not charge a fee for administering an oath of office to any public officer or employee or a military officer.
What notarial acts can a New York notary public perform?
A New York notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (EL §135):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take affidavits and depositions
- Demand acceptance or payment of foreign and inland bills of exchange, promissory notes and obligations in writing, and to protest the same for non-acceptance or non-payment
- Open and inventory the contents of safe deposit boxes (Banking Law §335).
How do I update my address for my New York notary commission?
Whenever New York notaries change their addresses, they are required to notify the Division of Licensing Services by completing a “Change Notice” form. Non-resident notaries are also required to notify the Division of Licensing Services by completing a “Change Notice” form when there is a change in their residential or business addresses. If a non-resident notary moves from New York and cease to have an office or place of business in New York, he or she vacates the office of notary public. Notaries are required to submit a completed “Change Notice” with a $10 fee to correct the records of the Division of Licensing Services. To download the “Change Notice,” go here: https://www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/notary/notary.html.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in New York?
If a notary public adopts a different name during the term of office for which he or she was appointed, the notary must notify the Division of Licensing Services by submitting a “Change Notice” form with a $10 filing fee, along with acceptable forms of proof of the name change such as a court order, divorce decree, marriage certificate, driver’s license, non-driver’s ID card, valid passport, or immigration documents. If a personal name change is the result of a change in marital status, the fee is not required. A new ID card will not be issued to the notary following a change of name during the course of commission, as the notary must continue to notarize using the name under which he or she was commissioned throughout the remainder of the notary’s term. However, if the notary elects to use her married name, then for the balance of her term as a notary public, she must continue to use her maiden name in her signature and seal when acting in her notarial capacity, adding after her signature her married name in parentheses. The notary’s name may be changed upon reappointment for a new notary public commission. A notary who wishes to change his or her name must submit a completed “Change Notice” with a $10 fee to the Division of Licensing Services. To download the “Change Notice” go here: https://www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/notary/notary.html.
Revised: August 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 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.