How to Become a Notary in North Dakota
The North Dakota Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a North Dakota notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own North Dakota notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of North Dakota appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in North Dakota is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a North Dakota notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a North Dakota notary
- The process to become a North Dakota notary
- Basic North Dakota notary duties
What are the qualifications to become a North Dakota notary?
To become a North Dakota notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States.
- Be a resident of North Dakota, have a place of employment or practice in North Dakota, or reside in a county that borders North Dakota and which is in a state that extends reciprocity to a notary public who resides in a border county of North Dakota.
- Be able to read and write in English.
- Not be disqualified to receive a commission under Section 44-06.1-21.
What is the process to become a North Dakota notary?
In order to become a North Dakota notary and receive a North Dakota notary commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Purchase a surety bond in the amount of $7,500.
- Submit to the Secretary of State: (1) a completed Notary Application (SFN 11001) that includes a notarized affidavit and an oath of office; (2) a $7,500 surety bond (SFN 19355); and (3) a $36 application fee.
- Purchase a notary stamp when the Secretary of State issues the Certificate of Authorization.
- Mail the verification form (included with the Certificate of Authorization) with the impression of the notary stamp to the Secretary of State. After the verification form is approved, the Secretary of State will issue a notary public commission.
Note: After receiving the notary public commission, a notary must post his or her commission in a conspicuous place in the notary’s office or place of employment (NDCC 44-06.1-20).
Can a non-resident become a notary in North Dakota?
Yes. A non-resident can become a North Dakota notary public if the person: (1) meets the qualifications as a North Dakota resident; (2) has a place of employment or practice in North Dakota; or (3) resides in a county that borders North Dakota in a state that extends reciprocity to a notary public who resides in a border county of North Dakota. If the applicant resides in a county bordering North Dakota, the applicant appoints the Secretary of State as the agent for service of process for all purposes relating to notarial acts, including the receipt of correspondence relating to notarial acts. At this time, Montana is the only state to reciprocate.
How much does it cost to become a notary in North Dakota?
To become a notary public in North Dakota, a notary applicant’s expenses may include: (1) a $36 application fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a $7,500 surety bond; (3) a notary stamp; (4) a journal if a notary wishes to adhere to the recommendations of the Secretary of State; and (5) an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to obtain one for his or her own personal protection against liability.
How do I renew my North Dakota notary commission?
The Secretary of Statesends renewal information to North Dakota notariesat their last known place of residence two months prior to their commission expiration dates. To apply for reappointment, notaries must follow the initial notary application procedures before their commissions expire, which means submitting a new application, surety bond, and a $36 application fee.
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a North Dakota notary public or to renew my North Dakota notary public commission?
No. North Dakota notary statute does not require a course of study and/or examination to become a notary public in North Dakota.
Can I perform electronic notarization in North Dakota?
Yes. The State of North Dakota enacted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (NDCC Sections 44-06.1-01 through 44-06.1-30), which sets forth certain definitions and procedures for performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records. Section 44-06.1-18 states that before a North Dakota notary public performs the initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, he must notify the Secretary of State that he will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records and identify the technology he intends to use. The technology must be approved by the Secretary of State. Most importantly, Section 44-06.1-05 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 must appear personally before the notarial officer.” A North Dakota notary is authorized to certify or attest that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record (NDCC 44-06.1-18).
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in North Dakota?
Yes. Effective August 1, 2019, North Dakota amended the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts by adding Section 44-06.1-13.1, allowing North Dakota notaries public to perform notarial acts with respect to remotely located individuals using communication technology. Before a North Dakota notary public performs her initial notarial act under Section 44-06.1-13.1, the notary must notify the Secretary of State that she will be performing notarial acts with respect to remotely located individuals and identify the communication technology and identity proofing she intends to use. The communication technology and the identity proofing a notary will use to perform notarial acts with respect to remotely located individuals must conform to the standards established by the Secretary of State.
Moreover, when performing a notarial act for a remotely located individual using an approved communication technology, a North Dakota notary public must adhere to these statutory requirements:
- The notary must be physically located in North Dakota, even though the remotely located individual may be geographically located in any state or country while visually in the presence of the notary through audio and visual communication technologies.
- The remotely located individual’s identity must be established based on satisfactory evidence of identity using an approved identity proofing.
- The notary must complete a notarial certificate.
- The notary must include the language in the notarial certificate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology for a remotely located individual.
- The notary must record in a journal that the performance of the notarial act for a remotely located individual was performed using communication technology.
- The notary must retain an audiovisual recording of the notarial act performed using communication technology for a remotely located individual.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in North Dakota?
The term of a notary public commission for a North Dakota notary public is four years commencing with the date specified in the commission (NDCC 44-06.1-20). However, the commission of a notary public may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by suspension; (4) by revocation; (5) when a notary is no longer a resident of North Dakota; (6) when a notary is no longer a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States; or (7) when a nonresident notary ceases to have a place of employment or practice in North Dakota.
Is a North Dakota notary bond required to become a notary in North Dakota?
Yes. An assurance in the form of a surety bond or its functional equivalent in the amount of $7,500 is required for all new applicants seeking an appointment as a notary public as well as for renewing notaries in North Dakota. The assurance must be issued by a surety or other entity licensed or authorized to do business in North Dakota and is subject to approval by the Secretary of State. A notary public may perform notarial acts in North Dakota only during the period that a valid surety bond is on file with the Secretary of State.
Do I need a North Dakota notary errors and omission insurance?
Errors and omissions insurance is optional and not required by state notary law in North Dakota. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that North Dakota notaries public obtain errors and omissions insurance policies 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 type of loss to the public or a client for which the notary is sued for recovery. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a North Dakota notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in North Dakota?
North Dakota notaries have statewide jurisdiction. Reciprocity: A notarial act performed in North Dakota by a notary public of a bordering state has the same effect as if the notarial act were performed by a North Dakota notary, if the bordering state grants North Dakota notaries similar authority within that state (NDCC 44-06.1-09.4). Montana is the only state that has reciprocity, which means that a North Dakota notary public may perform notarial acts in Montana by following the notary laws of North Dakota. At this time, North Dakota notaries may not perform notarial acts in South Dakota or Minnesota because neither state extends reciprocity to North Dakota notaries.
Who appoints North Dakota notaries public?
The Secretary of State administers all new and renewal notary applications, issues notary public commissions, maintains the records regarding notaries, and approves notaries to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records and remotely located individuals. To contact the Secretary of State, use the following information:
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 East Boulevard Avenue, Department 108
Bismarck, ND 58505-0500
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in North Dakota?
Yes. North Dakota notary law requires all North Dakota notaries to use a rubber-inked notary stamp to authenticate all notarial acts (NDCC 44-06.1-14). Section 44-06.1-16(1) of the North Dakota Century Code provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary stamps.
Dimensions: If a circular design, it may be up to or equal to1 5/8 inch (41.28 millimeters) in diameter. If a rectangular design, it may be up to or equal to 7/8 inch (22.23 millimeters) in height and 2 5/8 inches (66.68 millimeters) in length. All notary stamps must be surrounded by a border, leave a clear impression, and be photographically reproducible.
Required Elements: The notary stamp must contain the following elements:
- The notary public’s name exactly as shown on the notary's commission
- The commission expiration date
- The words “Notary Public”
- The words “State of North Dakota”
Note: An embosser is prohibited. The notary stamp may not contain any other words, numbers, symbols, or a reproduction of the great seal of the state. Upon resignation, revocation, or expiration of the notary's commission, the notary's stamp must be destroyed to prohibit its use by any other person.
Is a notary journal required in North Dakota?
No. The North Dakota notary statute does not require North Dakota notaries public to maintain a journal of their notarial acts performed. However, if a notary public performs a notarial act for a remotely located individual, the notary must record the notarial act in a journal. The journal must be either a tangible, permanent bound register with numbered pages, or in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format (NDCC 44-06.1-16.1).
While a journal is not required by state notary law for non-remote notarizations, the Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries recommend that North Dakota notaries: (1) maintain a journal of their notarial 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 performed as a protective measure against liability.
For North Dakota notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
How much can a North Dakota notary charge for performing notarial acts?
North Dakota notary fees are set by statute (NDCC 44-06.1-28). The maximum allowable fees that a North Dakota notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $5.00
- Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $5.00
- Jurats - $5.00
- Witnessing or attesting a signature - $5.00
- Copy certification - $5.00
Note: A notary public may charge a separate travel fee when traveling to perform a notarial act if: (1) the notary and the person requesting the notarial act agree upon the travel fee in advance of the travel; and (2) the notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the travel fee is both separate from the notarial fee and neither specified nor mandated by law.
What notarial acts can a North Dakota notary public perform?
A North Dakota notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (NDCC 44-06.1-01).
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take verifications on oath or affirmation
- Witness or attest signatures
- Note protests of negotiable instruments
- Certify or attest copies
- Certify or attest that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record
How do I update my address for my North Dakota notary commission?
State law requires that each notary public notify the Secretary of State in writing within sixty days of any change of address. To satisfy this statutory requirement, a notary must submit the Notary Change of Address (SFN 50445) form to the Secretary of State. If a notary public moves outside of North Dakota to a county that borders North Dakota that extends reciprocity to North Dakota notaries, the notary must submit a Notary Change of Address form to the Secretary of State. No fee is required for an address change. To download SFN 50445 form, go to: https://sos.nd.gov/notaries-public/notaries-public-forms-and-fees.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in North Dakota?
If a North Dakota notary public lawfully changes his or her name during the term of the commission, the notary is required to notify the Secretary of State in writing within sixty days of the name change. The notary must submit to the Secretary of State: (1) a completed Notary Name Change/Notary Seal/Stamp Change (SFN 51261) form; (2) a rider from the notary’s surety bond stating both the new name and previous name; (3) the effective date of the new name; and (4) a $10 filing fee for the name change. The notary must also obtain a new stamp after receiving a new Certificate of Authorization and return the Certificate of Authorization with the impression of the new notary stamp. The Secretary of State will issue a new notary public commission with the new name after the approval of the new notary stamp. To download the SFN 51261 form, go to: https://sos.nd.gov/notaries-public/notaries-public-forms-and-fees.
Revised: September 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.