How to Become a Notary in South Carolina
To become a notary in South Carolina, you must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements detailed in the next section.
- Download the Notary Public Application and Renewal Instructions from the South Carolina Secretary of State’s website.
- Carefully type or print legibly all information requested on the top portion of the notary application. Your county’s legislative delegation office will complete the bottom portion of the application.
- Sign the Oath of Notary Public section of the notary application before a notary public.
- Mail both pages of the original notary application and a $25 check or money order to the legislative delegation office of the county where you currently reside.
- Wait for your notary application approval and your notary commission certificate to arrive in the mail. The application process can take anywhere from two to twelve weeks, depending on the county in which you reside.
- Enroll your notary commission within fifteen days of being commissioned with the clerk of the court in the county in which you reside and pay a $10 filing fee.
Note: You can find your legislative delegation office's address and contact number at the end of the notary application. If your county does not have a delegation office address, send your application to the House of Representatives.
Who can become a notary public in South Carolina?
To become a notary in South Carolina, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a registered voter in South Carolina.
- Be able to read and write the English language.
To verify your voter registration number, call your County Board of Elections and Voter Registration or visit the South Carolina Election Commission website.
This South Carolina notary guide will help you understand the following:
- Who can become a notary in South Carolina.
- How to become a notary in South Carolina.
- The basic duties of a notary in South Carolina.
How do I renew my notary commission in South Carolina?
To renew your notary commission in South Carolina, you must follow the same steps as when you first applied for a notary commission. You must:
- Complete a Notary Public Application and Renewal Application.
- Mail the completed notary application and $25 application fee to the Legislative Delegation Office of the county where you reside.
- Enroll your notary commission with the clerk of the court in the county in which you reside within fifteen days of being commissioned and pay a $10 filing fee.
The Office of the Secretary of State does not send renewal notices; therefore, you should start the renewal application process at least eight to twelve weeks before your commission expiration date to allow adequate time for renewal processing by your legislative delegation and the secretary of state.
Note: A renewal application that indicates a notary has changed his or her name or address will be rejected if a Change in Status and Duplicate Commission Request Form is not filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Who appoints notaries in South Carolina?
South Carolina notaries public are appointed by the governor and commissioned by the secretary of state.
The South Carolina Secretary of State can be contacted at:
South Carolina Secretary of State
Notary Public Division
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
Can a non-resident of South Carolina apply for a commission as a notary public?
No. South Carolina does not allow out-of-state residents to become South Carolina notaries public, even if they are employed within the State of South Carolina.
How long is a notary public's commission term in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, notaries public are appointed for a term of ten years commencing with the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void:
- By resignation, death, or revocation.
- When a notary’s right to vote is revoked.
- When a notary ceases to be able to read, write, and understand English.
Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in South Carolina?
No. South Carolina notary statutes do not require a notary applicant to take any training or an exam.
How much does it cost to become a notary public in South Carolina?
You must pay the following to become a notary public in South Carolina:
- A $25 application fee for processing your notary application.
- A notarial fee to have your notary application notarized.
- A $10 fee to enroll your notary commission with the clerk of court in the county where you reside.
Other expenses include the cost of purchasing:
- A notary stamp.
- A notary journal if a notary wishes to adhere to the recommendations of the secretary of state that South Carolina notaries maintain a journal of their notarial acts.
- An errors and omissions insurance policy to protect yourself if you are sued for unintentional mistakes or if a false claim is filed against you as a notary. (This policy is optional.)
Do I need a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to become a notary in South Carolina?
An errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is optional in South Carolina and is not required to become a South Carolina notary public or to renew your notary commission. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends every South Carolina notary obtain a notary E&O insurance policy. This insurance protects you from a claim if a client sues you as a notary. An E&O policy covers unintentional notarial mistakes and pays for legal fees and damages based on the coverage a South Carolina notary public selects.
Do I need a notary bond to become a notary in South Carolina?
A notary bond is not required in South Carolina to become a notary public or to renew your notary public commission.
Note: A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from their negligence, errors, official malfeasance, or omissions. South Carolina notaries are encouraged to purchase a notary E&O insurance policy to insure themselves against such claims.
Do I need to order a notary stamp in South Carolina?
Yes. You must use a rubber notary stamp or a notary seal embosser every time you notarize a document.
The South Carolina notary statutes do not provide the legal specifications regarding the layout and dimensions required for a notary’s seal or stamp. However, state law provides the following specifications under S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-5(18):
Notary Seal Type: Embosser or rubber-inked stamp
- The name of the notary public
- The words “Notary Public”
- The words “State of South Carolina”
Note: The notary’s commission expiration date may optionally be included in the notary’s seal or stamp. A notary public is required to include their commission expiration date below the notary’s signature (S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-60). Furthermore, Section 26-1-90(B)(3) states, “The statement of the date that the notary’s commission expires may appear in the notary’s stamp or seal or elsewhere in the notarial certificate.”
To order a South Carolina notary stamp, notary seal, complete notary package, and notary supplies, please visit the American Association of Notaries website at https://www.notarypublicstamps.com/notary-stamps/south-carolina
How much can a South Carolina notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
South Carolina notarial fees are set by state notary statute (S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-100). The maximum fees that may be charged by a South Carolina notary public for various notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgment: $5 per signature
- Oath or affirmation without a signature: $5 per person
- Jurat: $5 per signature
- Signature witnessing: $5 per signature
- Verification of fact: $5 per certificate
According to S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-100(C), a notary public may charge a travel fee when traveling to perform a notarial act if both of the following are true:
- The notary and the person requesting the notarial act agree upon the travel fee in advance of the travel.
- The notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the travel fee is separate from the notarial fee prescribed by S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-100(A) and is neither specified nor mandated by law.
- “A notary who charges a fee for his notarial services shall display conspicuously in his place of business, or present to each principal outside his place of business, an English language schedule of fees for notarial acts” [S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-100(B)].
- Notarial fees are optional. You are not required to charge a fee for a notarial act you perform.
- An electronic notary public may charge a reasonable fee to recover any cost of providing a copy of an entry in the electronic journal of notarial acts [S.C. Code of Laws §26-2-90(E)].
Is a notary journal required in South Carolina?
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 and fraud. Properly recorded notarial acts provide evidence that you followed your state laws and notary’s best practices.
Notary journal requirements in South Carolina:
- Traditional Notarizations – South Carolina notaries are not required to record their notarial acts in a notary journal. However, the South Carolina Secretary of State strongly recommends that all notarial acts be recorded in a journal. A notary public can maintain a journal in a tangible medium or electronic format.
- Electronic Notarizations – An electronic notary public is required to create and maintain an electronic journal of each electronic notarial act. The electronic notary journal can be created and stored in a computer or other electronic storage device or process that protects the electronic journal against unauthorized access by password, biometric verification, token, or other form of authentication. An electronic notary journal must be tamper-evident.
The American Association of Notaries offers a wide variety of notary journals.
Click here to purchase a tangible notary journal.
Click here to become a member and access our electronic notary journal.
What information must South Carolina notaries record in their notary journals?
For Traditional Notarizations – Although notaries performing traditional notarizations are not required to maintain a notary journal, the secretary of state recommends that they record the following information:
- The principal’s signature and address.
- The manner in which the principal was identified.
- The notarization date and time.
- The fee for the notarial act, if applicable.
- The document date.
- The type of notarial act.
- The type of document.
- Any special comments.
For Electronic Notarizations – South Carolina requires notaries performing electronic notarizations to chronicle the following information in their notary journals:
- The date and time of the electronic notarial act.
- The type of electronic notarial act.
- The title or a description of the record being notarized, if any.
- The printed full name of each principal.
- If the identification of the principal is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect.
- If the identification of the principal is based on satisfactory evidence of their identity pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws Section 26-1-5(17), a description of the evidence relied upon and the name of any credible witness or witnesses.
- The address where the notarization was performed, if the notarization was not performed at the electronic notary public's business address.
- If the notarial act is performed electronically, a description of the electronic notarization system used.
- The fee, if any, charged by the electronic notary.
Prohibited Information: An electronic notary public may not record a Social Security number in the electronic journal.
Where can I perform notarial acts in South Carolina?
You may perform notarial acts while you are physically anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of South Carolina.
What notarial acts can a South Carolina notary public perform?
A South Carolina notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (S.C. Code of Laws §26-1-90):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Execute attestations and jurats
- Witness signatures
- Take verifications of fact
- Perform marriage ceremonies (S.C. Code of Laws §20-1-20)
- Perform any other acts authorized by law
Can I perform electronic notarizations in South Carolina?
Yes. You can perform electronic notarizations in South Carolina. Read the next section to learn how to apply for an electronic notary commission.
What is the process to become a South Carolina electronic notary public?
To become an electronic notary public in South Carolina, you must:
- Have an active notary public commission.
- Create an account on the South Carolina Secretary of State’s website to register as a South Carolina notary and to:
- Watch an educational video
- Complete an online test
- Select an approved vendor to provide the technology to perform electronic notarizations
- Print your electronic notarial certificate
Can I perform remote online notarizations in South Carolina?
No. South Carolina is one of the few states that does not allow remote notarizations.
How do I update my address on my South Carolina notary commission?
You must notify the Secretary of State's Office within forty-five days if your residence, business, or mailing address, county of residence, or telephone number on file changes while you are an active South Carolina notary public.
To update your information on file with the secretary of state, you must:
- Download, print, and complete a Change in Status and Duplicate Commission Request Form.
- Have the form notarized by an active notary public.
- Mail the form with a $10 filing fee to the Secretary of State’s Office.
- Enroll your notary commission with the clerk of court in the county in which you reside (only applicable to notaries who have moved to a different county).
If you no longer live in the state of South Carolina, you must resign your commission.
How do I change my name on my notary commission in South Carolina?
If your legal name changes, you must notify the Secretary of State’s Office within forty-five days of the change.
To change your notary name and receive a new South Carolina notary commission certificate, you must:
- Download and print a Change in Status and Duplicate Commission Request Form.
- Have the form notarized by an active notary public.
- Mail the completed form with a $10 filing fee to the Secretary of State’s Office.
- Enroll your notary commission with the clerk of court in the county in which you reside.
You must use your former name for notarial duties until you receive your updated notary commission certificate with the new name.
Once you receive your new notary commission certificate, you will need a new seal that reflects your name change. You will also need to destroy or deface any seals bearing your old name so they cannot be misused. The expiration of your term as a notary public will remain the same as it was assigned prior to your name change.
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 various 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.