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How to Become a Notary in Pennsylvania


To become a notary in Pennsylvania, you must:


  1. Meet the eligibility requirements listed in the next section.
  2. Complete a three-hour notary public education course, approved by the Pennsylvania Department of State, within the six months preceding your notary application. Click here to view a list of education providers.
  3. Complete a notary public application on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website. You will be asked to pay the $42 filing fee and upload a copy of the following:
    • Your notary course completion certificate.
    • Criminal history documentation and explanation (if required).
    • Notary public disciplinary documentation and explanation (if required).
    • Other professional/occupational license disciplinary documentation and explanation (if required).
    • Civil liability in legal proceedings for actions as notary public and explanation (if required).
  4. Take the notary exam on the Pearson VUE’s website for a fee of $65. Once your notary application has been approved, you will receive an email from the Pennsylvania Department of State containing testing information. Note: Notary applicants who are unable to pass the notary exam within six months will be required to retake the basic education course and reapply for appointment and commission to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
  5. Purchase a four-year, $10,000 Pennsylvania notary bond after receiving the notice of appointment from the Pennsylvania Department of State.
  6. Go to the office of the recorder of deeds in the county in which your business office is located and:
    • Take the oath of office in the presence of an official authorized to administer oaths.
    • Register your official signature.
    • Record your notary bond, commission, and oath of office.

Important: Once these requirements are met, the recorder of deeds will issue your commission certificate. If these requirements are not met within the forty-five-day period, your notary public commission becomes null and void and you will have to reapply again.

Click here to start the notary application process in Pennsylvania.

Who can become a notary public in Pennsylvania?


To become a notary public in Pennsylvania, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States.
  3. Be a resident of Pennsylvania or have a place of employment or practice in this Commonwealth.
  4. Be able to read and write English.
  5. Not be disqualified from receiving a commission because of character, criminal convictions, or prior sanctions.
  6. Complete at least three hours of approved notary education within the six months immediately preceding the application for appointment.
  7. Pass an examination administered by the Department of State’s examination vendor Pearson VUE.

Note: The following persons are NOT eligible to hold the office of notary public:

  • A member of the U.S. Congress or a person holding an office or appointment of profit or trust under the legislative, executive, or judicial departments of the government of the United States for which he or she receives a salary, fees, or perquisites.
  • Any member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.

This Pennsylvania notary guide will help you understand:


  1. Who can become a notary in Pennsylvania.
  2. How to become a notary in Pennsylvania.
  3. How to become an electronic notary in Pennsylvania.
  4. How to become a remote online notary in Pennsylvania
  5. The basic duties of a notary in Pennsylvania.

How do I renew my notary commission in Pennsylvania?


Pennsylvania notaries must file an application for reappointment with the Pennsylvania Department of State at least two to three months prior to the expiration of their current notary public commissions to ensure uninterrupted “commissioned” status. Notaries applying for reappointment as notaries public must follow the same process and education requirements as the initial application for appointment as a notary public, with the exception of the notary exam (if applicable) . The processing time for renewal applications with the Pennsylvania Department of State is approximately one month. 

Who appoints notaries in Pennsylvania?


The Pennsylvania Department of State appoints notaries public, administers the commissioning process, retains the records on notaries public, and maintains an electronic database of active notaries and electronic notaries.

Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation
Legislation and Notaries 
210 North Office Building 
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0029
(717) 787-5280
Email:  RA-Notaries@pa.gov

Can a non-resident of Pennsylvania apply for a commission as a notary public?


Yes. A non-resident may apply to become a Pennsylvania notary public if the non-resident meets the following requirements:

  1. Has a place of employment or practice in Pennsylvania.
  2. Satisfies the same qualifications as Pennsylvania residents, setting aside the residency requirements.
  3. Follows the same process and procedures for the initial application for appointment as a notary public as a Pennsylvania resident.

How long is a notary public's commission term in Pennsylvania?


The term of office for a Pennsylvania notary public is four years. A notary cannot notarize documents after their notary commission expires without first renewing their notary commission.

Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in Pennsylvania?


Yes. Pennsylvania notaries public are required to complete a three-hour approved notary public education course within six months before submitting their notary application.

Furthermore, all applicants for an initial commission as a notary public must pass an examination administered by the Pennsylvania Department of State’s examination vendor, Pearson VUE.

Click here to view a list of approved education providers.

How much does it cost to become a notary public in Pennsylvania?


The cost to become a notary in Pennsylvania includes:

  1. A $42 notary application filing fee.
  2. The cost of a $10,000 surety bond. Click here to view our Pennsylvania notary bond price.
  3. An official notary stamp. Click here to view our notary stamp prices.
  4. A notary journal. Click here to view our notary journal prices.
  5. The fee to register for a notary public education course.
  6. A $65 fee for the mandatory examination for the initial appointment as a notary public.
  7. An errors and omissions insurance policy (optional) to protect yourself if you are sued for unintentional mistakes or if a false claim is filed against you. Click here to view our notary E&O policy premiums and coverage amounts.

Do I need a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to become a notary in Pennsylvania?


A notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is not required to become a Pennsylvania notary public or to renew your notary commission. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that every Pennsylvania notary obtain a notary E&O insurance policy. This insurance protects you from a claim if a client sues you as a notary. A notary E&O policy covers unintentional notarial mistakes and pays for legal fees and damages based on the coverage you select as a Pennsylvania notary public.

Pennsylvania notary errors and omissions insurance policies are available to order online at the American Association of Notaries website.

Do I need a notary bond to become a notary in Pennsylvania?


Yes. All Pennsylvania notary public applicants are required to obtain and maintain a four-year surety bond in the amount of $10,000 for the duration of their notary terms. Within 45 days of your appointment or reappointment as a notary public, your notary bond, oath of office and notary commission must be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds in the county in which you maintain an office. This type of bond protects the public from notary errors. However, it does not protect the notary. If a member of the public files a claim against your notary bond, the bonding company is very likely to sue you to recoup the funds it paid on your behalf. This is why notary errors and omissions insurance (commonly known as “E&O” or “E&O insurance”) is vital.

Do I need to order a notary stamp in Pennsylvania?


Yes. The Pennsylvania notary statute requires all notaries public to use an inked rubber stamp to authenticate all their official acts (57 Pa C.S. §317). The rubber stamp must be rectangular and have a plain border. The stamp’s dimensions cannot exceed a height of 1 inch or a width of 3½ inches.

The official notary stamp must show the information below in the following order:

  1. The words “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
  2. The words “Notary Seal.”
  3. The notary’s name as it appears on the notary public commission and the words “Notary Public.”
  4. The name of the county in which the notary public maintains an office.
  5. The date the notary public’s commission expires.
  6. The notary commission number.

Note: Notaries may use a notary seal embosser in addition to the notary stamp. However, the embosser is optional and may not replace the rubber stamp seal.

The American Association of Notaries offers quality notary stamps and notary seals at savings of up to 40% or more compared to the same products elsewhere. Click here to order your Pennsylvania notary stamp, a notary package, and other notary supplies.

What are the steps to replace a lost or stolen Pennsylvania notary seal?


If a notary stamp is lost or stolen, the notary public must notify the Pennsylvania Department of State within fifteen days of discovering the loss or theft by submitting the Report of Loss or Theft of Notary Stamping Device form. A notary can also file a police report if the items were stolen.

How much can a Pennsylvania notary public charge for performing notarial acts?


Pennsylvania notary fees are set by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The maximum allowable fees that a Pennsylvania notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:

  1. Taking an acknowledgement - $5.00
  2. Taking an acknowledgement (each additional name) - $2.00
  3. Administering an oath or affirmation (per individual taking an oath or affirmation) - $5.00
  4. Taking a verification on oath or affirmation (no matter how many signatures) - $5.00
  5. Witnessing or attesting a signature (per signature) - $5.00
  6. Certifying or attesting a copy or deposition (per certified copy) - $5.00
  7. Noting a protest or a negotiable instrument (per page) - $3.00

The notary public may waive the right to charge a fee and may charge reasonable clerical or administrative fees for services provided in addition to the notarization of a document. Customers should be informed prior to the notarization of a document if a clerical fee is being charged in addition to the notary public fees, and their receipt should itemize these fees. In addition, clerical and administrative fees must be separately itemized in the notary journal.

Is a notary journal required in Pennsylvania?


Notary Journal requirements for each type of notarization in Pennsylvania:

For traditional notarizations, electronic notarizations (eNotarizations) and remote online notarizations (RONs) – A notary public must record all notarial acts performed in chronological order in a notary journal. A notary journal may be created on a tangible medium or in an electronic format. A notary may maintain a separate notary journal for tangible records and for electronic records. If the notary journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be in a tamper-evident electronic format complying with the regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of State.

A notary journal (also known as a record book, log book, or register book) is your first line of defense in proving your innocence if a notarial act you performed is questioned or if you are requested to testify in a court of law about a notarial act you performed in the past. A properly recorded notarial act creates a paper trail that will help investigators locate and prosecute signers who have committed forgery or fraud. Properly recorded notarial acts provide evidence that you followed your state laws and notary’s best practices.


The American Association of Notaries offers notary journals in tangible and electronic formats.

Click here to purchase a tangible notary journal.

Click here to become a member and access our electronic notary journal.

What information must Pennsylvania notaries record in their notary journals?


For Traditional Notarizations, Electronic Notarizations, and Remote Notarizations - Pennsylvania notaries are required to chronicle the following information in their notary journals:

  1. The date and time of the notarial act.
  2. A description of the record, if any, and type of notarial act.
  3. The full name and full address (street and number, city and state) of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed.
  4. If the identity of the individual is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect.
  5. If the identity of the individual is based on satisfactory evidence, the type of identification presented and the credential’s date of issuance and expiration. 
  6. The fee charged by the notary public.

What steps should I take if my Pennsylvania notary journal is lost or stolen?


If a notary journal is lost or stolen, the notary public must notify the Pennsylvania Department of State within fifteen days of discovering the loss or theft by submitting a Report of Loss or Theft of Notary Journal form. A notary can also file a police report if the notary journal was stolen.

How long should I retain my Pennsylvania notary journal?


Once you no longer hold the office of notary public, within thirty days, you must deliver your notary journal to the office of the recorder of deeds in the county where you last maintained an office. The notary journal must be delivered if any of the following events occur:

  • The notary resigns his or her commission.
  • The notary’s commission is revoked.  
  • The notary’s commission expires (unless the notary public applies for a renewal of their commission within that thirty-day time period).
  • The notary dies or is adjudicated incompetent.  

Where can I perform notarial acts in Pennsylvania?


A Pennsylvania notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in all counties within the geographic borders in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A notary public must be physically present in Pennsylvania regardless of whether the notarization is in-person or remote. A Pennsylvania notary public commission is only valid in and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

What notarial acts can a Pennsylvania notary public perform?


A Pennsylvania notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts:

  1. Take an acknowledgment.
  2. Administer oaths or affirmations.
  3. Take a verification on oath or affirmation (includes an affidavit).
  4. Witness or attest to a signature.
  5. Certify or attest a copy or deposition.
  6. Note a protest of a negotiable instrument.

What type of notarizations are allowed in Pennsylvania?


Pennsylvania allows the following three types of notarizations:

Traditional notarizations – This type of notarization requires the signer and the notary to meet physically in the same room within face-to-face proximity of one another. Traditional notarization involves an individual signing a tangible document with an inked pen and a notary public signing and affixing an inked notary stamp impression to the tangible notarial certificate.

Electronic notarizations (eNotarization) – This type of notarization requires the signer and the notary to meet physically in the same room within face-to-face proximity of one another. However, the notarization is performed on an electronic document using electronic signatures, an electronic notary seal, and an electronic notarial certificate.

Remote online notarizations – The signer appears remotely before a notary via audio-visual communication technology. The notarization is performed on an electronic document using electronic signatures, an electronic notary seal, and an electronic notarial certificate.

What are the steps to become an electronic notary in Pennsylvania?


Below are the steps to become an electronic notary in Pennsylvania:

  1. The notary public completes the Electronic Notary Public Application online.
  2. Upon approval, the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections and Notaries (Bureau) will notify the notary by email.
  3. The notary must then select an approved electronic notarization technology provider and inform the Bureau of their selection by completing the ENotary - Select Vendors form on the Bureau’s website.
  4. After the notary public has completed the ENotary - Select Vendors form, the Bureau notifies the electronic notarization technology provider.
  5. The notary must then contract with the electronic notarization technology provider they chose.
  6. Once access to the electronic notarization technology has been granted to the notary public, the vendor must notify the Bureau.
  7. The notary’s record will show as “e-notary capable” on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s notary search after notary has been authorized to perform electronic notarizations.

What are the steps to become a remote online notary in Pennsylvania?


Below are the steps to become a remote online notary in Pennsylvania:

  1. The notary public completes the Electronic Notary Public Application online.
  2. Upon approval, the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections and Notaries (Bureau) will notify the notary by email.
  3. The notary must then select an approved electronic notarization technology provider and inform the Bureau of their selection by completing the ENotary - Select Vendors form on the Bureau’s website.
  4. After the notary public has completed the ENotary - Select Vendors form, the Bureau notifies the electronic notarization technology provider.
  5. The notary must then contract with the electronic notarization technology provider they chose.
  6. Once access to the electronic notarization technology has been granted to the notary public, the vendor must notify the Bureau.
  7. The notary’s record will show as “e-notary capable” on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s notary search after notary has been authorized to perform electronic notarizations.

How do I update my address on my Pennsylvania notary commission?


A notary public must notify the Pennsylvania Department of State within thirty days of any change in the information on file, including the notary public’s office address or home address. The notary may notify the Department of State by completing and emailing the Notary Public Change of Address/Email form or by completing the Update Notary Information form on the Department of State’s website.

If the notary’s new office address is in a different county, the notary public must register their official signature in the recorder’s office of the new county within thirty days of moving into the new county.

How do I change my name on my notary commission in Pennsylvania?


A notary public must notify the Pennsylvania Department of State within thirty days of any change to their legal name. The notary may notify the department of state by completing and emailing the Notary Public Change of Name form or by completing the Update Notary Information form on the Department of State’s website. The notice of a change in name must be accompanied by evidence of the name change such as a marriage certificate, court order, or divorce decree.

Following notification to the Pennsylvania Department of State, the notary may use the new name or continue to perform notarial acts in the name in which the notary was commissioned until the expiration of the notary's term. However, before using the new name on notarial work, the notary public must register the new signature with the recorder of deed’s office in the county where the notary's office address is located and purchase a new notary stamp.  

Revised:


March 2024

Legal disclaimer: The information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

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.