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How to Become a Notary in Vermont


The Vermont Notary Process:


Are you interested in becoming a Vermont notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Vermont notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Vermont appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Vermont is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Vermont notary. The America Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.

 

This guide will help you understand:

  1. Who can become a Vermont notary
  2. The process to become a Vermont notary
  3. Basic Vermont notarial duties

What are the qualifications to become a Vermont notary?


To become a Vermont notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following 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 or have a place of employment or practice in Vermont.
  4. Not be disqualified to receive a commission under Section 5342 of Chapter 103.
  5. Pass a basic examination approved by the Office Professional Regulation (OPR) based on the statutes, rules, and ethics relevant to notarial acts effective February 1, 2021 (26 VSA §5341[b]).

What is the process to become a Vermont notary?


To become a Vermont notary public and receive a Vermont notary public commission, a notary applicant must:

 

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Complete the Oath of Office form provided by the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) and have it notarized prior to filling out your online application.
  3. Create an account on OPR’s online licensing system and click on “Apply for Individual License” to complete the online application. Click here to access OPR’s online licensing system. Do not create an additional account if you already have one.
  4. Upload a copy of your signed and notarized Oath of Office.
  5. Pay a $15.00 application fee.
  6. Wait for notification by email once your application is approved. Your commission will then be available for printing through your online licensing account.

 

Exam: Initial applicants applying for a notary public commission on or after February 1, 2021 are required to pass an examination based on the notary public statutes, rules, and ethics relevant to notarial acts. Starting February 1, 2021, notaries public are required to complete two hours of continuing education prior to submitting their online commission renewal application and every two years thereafter. Continuing Education will be required for the 2023 renewal, unless the notary public is exempt. More information will be made available regarding Continuing Education courses soon on the Secretary of State’s website.

 

Note: A notary applicant must report all convictions and provide a detailed written explanation together with the certified court documents. For additional information and step-by-step instructions, visit the Vermont Secretary of State’s website at: Vermont Secretary of State - Office of Professional Regulation Notaries Public Section. Paper applications are not accepted.

Can a non-resident become a notary in Vermont?

Yes. A non-resident of Vermont may apply for a Vermont notary public commission (26 VSA §5341[b][3]. A non-resident must meet the following requirements:

 

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States.
  3. Have a place of employment or practice in Vermont.
  4. Not be disqualified to receive a commission under Section 5342 of Chapter 103.
  5. Pass the mandatory examination.
  6. Complete the Oath of Office form and have it notarized prior to filling out the online notary public application.
  7. Create an account on OPR’s Online Licensing System to complete the online notary application.
  8. Upload his or her signed and notarized Oath of Office.  
  9. Pay a $15.00 application fee.

How much does it cost to become a notary in Vermont?

A Vermont notary applicant’s expenses may include the cost for the following:

 

  1. A $15 filing fee to process the online application for appointment or reappointment as a notary public.
  2. A notary official seal to authenticate all notarial acts if the notary public opts to use a notarial seal.
  3. A journal if the notary public wishes to record their notarial acts in a journal.
  4. A notary bond if the notary public wishes to obtain one to protect the public or principal signer from financial damages as a result of a notary’s notarial mistakes.
  5. An errors and omissions insurance policy if a notary public wishes to obtain one for the notary’s personal protection against liability.

How do I renew my Vermont notary commission?

All Vermont notaries public’s commission remains in effect until January 31, 2021 and will need to be renewed every two years thereafter.  Every notary public will receive three courtesy renewal reminders sent to the email on file with the Office Professional Regulation about six weeks prior to the renewal expiration date. Notaries public are required to keep their email address up to date by logging in to the OPR Online Licensing system and updating their profile.

 

If notaries do not complete their renewals by midnight of the day their commissions expire, late penalties will apply pursuant to 3 V.S.A §127(d)(1). The renewing notary public must: (1) complete the online renewal notary public application; (2) provide evidence of eligibility; (3) report all convictions, if applicable; and (4) pay the non-refundable renewal fee (if applicable). Upon receipt of a notary public's completed renewal online application, payment of the filing fee, and evidence of eligibility, the Office Professional Regulation shall issue the renewing notary public a new notary public commission (26 VSA §5343a). Town and county clerks and other agencies are no longer accepting notary public commission renewals.

 

Effective February 1, 2021, a notary public applying for renewal must complete a two-hour continuing education course approved by the Office Professional Regulation during the preceding two-year period (26 VSA §5343[b]). No continuing education is required for notaries public to renew their commissions for the January 31, 2021 renewal. Continuing Education will be required for the 2023 renewal unless the notary public is exempt from such a requirement. The Vermont Secretary of State shall establish by adopted rule guidelines and criteria for continuing education credit.

Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a Vermont notary public or to renew my Vermont notary public commission?

First-time notary applicants submitting an online notary application on or after February 1, 2021 are required to pass an examination based on the notary public statutes, rules, and ethics relevant to notarial acts. A notary public applying for renewal must complete two hours of continuing education approved by the Office of Professional Regulation prior to submitting his or her online commission renewal application (26 VSA §5343[b]). No continuing education is required for notaries public to renew their commissions for the January 31, 2021 renewal. Continuing Education will be required for the 2023 renewal and every two years thereafter unless the notary public is exempt from the examination requirement.

 

The Vermont Secretary of State shall establish by adopted rule guidelines and criteria for continuing education credit. A list of approved continuing education vendors will be available on the Office of Professional Regulation website. Notaries public will be asked to upload their course completion certificate(s) with their online renewal applications. The Office of Professional Regulation does not provide notary public training. Attorneys licensed and in good standing in Vermont are exempt from the examination requirement. To review the list of exemptions, click here: Alfresco » Notaries Public List of Exemptions.pdf (state.vt.us). Additional information on continuing education requirements will be outlined in the administrative rules. More information will be made available regarding Continuing Education courses soon on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website at: Vermont Secretary of State - Office of Professional Regulation Notaries Public Section.

Can I perform electronic notarization in Vermont?

Yes. Effective July 1, 2019, the State of Vermont passed House Bill 526 (2018) by enacting the “Uniform Law on Notarial Acts” (26 V.S.A. Chapter 103), which includes a provision authorizing a notary public to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records from the tamper-evident technologies approved by the Vermont Secretary of State by adopted administrative rule.

 

In addition, Vermont adopted the “Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (9 VSA Chapter 20), including the provision on notarization and acknowledgment, which authorizes the electronic signatures used by notaries public. House Bill 526, which required the Vermont Secretary of State to adopt rules to implement the new act, specifically states that “neither electronic notarization nor remote online notarization shall be allowed until the Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards in these areas” (26 VSA §5323[c]).

 

The Vermont Secretary of State adopted Emergency Rules for Notaries Public and Remote Notarization (“Rules”) effective from September 21, 2020 to March 19, 2021. The Office of Professional Regulation, within the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, also issued Guidance for the Rules. The guidance clarifies that the purpose of these emergency rules is to facilitate notarial acts taking place when the signer of the record and the notary public cannot physically be in the same space. The emergency rules were issued to clarify requirements for personal appearance before a notary public, as set forth in 26 V.S.A. §5364.

 

The guidance stipulates that the procedures set forth in the rules should be used sparingly and only when a notary public and the signer of a record cannot be physically present in the same space. Moreover, these rules state, “These rules do not permit electronic notarization or remote online notarization of electronic documents.”  The Secretary of State issued these emergency rules to establish the requirements for “personally appearing” before a notary public through communication by a “secure communication link” due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Moreover, the rules specifically clarify, “All other provisions of the Vermont Uniform Act on Notarial Acts, as set forth in 26 V.S.A. Chapter 103, continue to apply.” Although, Section 5371 set forth in 26 VSA Chapter 103 authorizes a notary public to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records, the Secretary of State has not yet establish the standards by rule for electronic notarizations as specified by state notary law.

Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in Vermont?

Yes. Effective July 1, 2019, the State of Vermont passed House Bill 526 (2018) by enacting the “Uniform Law on Notarial Acts” (26 V.S.A. Chapter 103), which includes a provision authorizing a notary public to perform a remote online notarial acts for a remotely located individual through a secure communication link approved by the Vermont Secretary of State by adopted administrative rule. House Bill 526 requires the Vermont Secretary of State to adopt rules to implement the new act and specifically dictates that the adopted rules prescribe: (1) the standards for remote online notarization; (2) the standards for credential analysis; (3) the process through which a third person affirms the identity of an individual; (4) the methods for communicating through a secure communication link; (5) the means by which the remote notarization is certified; and (6) the form of notice to be appended disclosing the fact that the notarization was completed remotely on any document acknowledged through remote online notarization. Furthermore, Section 5323 states, “neither electronic notarization nor remote online notarization shall be allowed until the Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards in these areas.”

 

The Vermont Secretary of State adopted Emergency Rules for Notaries Public and Remote Notarization (“Rules”), effective from September 21, 2020 to March 19, 2021. The Office of Professional Regulation, within the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, also issued Guidance for the Rules. The guidance clarifies that the purpose of these emergency rules is to facilitate notarial acts taking place when the signer of the record and the notary public cannot physically be in the same space. The emergency rules were issued to clarify requirements for personal appearance before a notary public as set forth in 26 V.S.A. §5364. The guidance stipulates that the procedures set forth in the rules should be used sparingly and only when a notary public and the signer of a record cannot be physically present in the same space. Moreover, these rules state, “These rules do not permit electronic notarization or remote online notarization of electronic documents.”  The rules also clarify, “All other provisions of the Vermont Uniform Act on Notarial Acts, as set forth in 26 V.S.A. Chapter 103, continue to apply.” Section 5364[b][2] (26 VSA Chapter 103) states that the requirement for a personal appearance is satisfied if the notary public and the person are communicating through a secure communication link using protocols and standards prescribed in rules adopted by the Secretary of State.

 

The Vermont Secretary of State issued these emergency rules to establish the requirements for “personally appearing” before a notary public through communication by a “secure communication link” due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. However, the Secretary of State has not yet established the standards by promulgated rules for remote online notarization, the standards for credential analysis, the process through which a third person affirms the identity of an individual, and the methods for communicating through a secure communication link as mandated by state notary law. The Office of Professional Regulation recommends that notaries public frequently visit their website for updates, information, and notices of administrative rules adopted by the Secretary of State. To review the Secretary of State’s emergency rules and guidance for the rules referenced herein, go to the Secretary of State’s website: Vermont Secretary of State - Office of Professional Regulation Notaries Public Section.

How long is the term of a notary public commission in Vermont?

A notary public commission is now effective on a fixed two year cycle. In January of odd years, notaries public will need to renew their commission if they wish to continue to perform notarial acts, and their commissions will need to be renewed every two years thereafter. The first renewal for notaries public will be January 31, 2021.  The first courtesy reminder is usually sent six weeks prior to the deadline.

Is a Vermont notary bond required to become a notary in Vermont?

No. New applicants seeking appointments as notaries public and renewing notaries public applying for reappointment are not required by state notary statute to purchase a notary bond to obtain their notary public commission in the state of Vermont.

Do I need a Vermont notary errors and omission insurance?

No. An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Vermont. It is not a statutory requirement to have E&O insurance when applying for appointment or reappointment as a notary public. The American Association of Notaries highly recommends that Vermont notaries public obtain an  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 or other type of loss to the public or a client for whom a notary public is sued for recovery . An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Vermont notary public selects.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Vermont?

A notary public commissioned under 26 V.S.A. Chapter 103 may only perform notarial acts anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Vermont (26 VSA §5361a).

Who appoints Vermont notaries public?

The Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) administers the commissioning process for new and renewing notaries public and maintains an electronic database of all active notaries public. To contact the Vermont Secretary of State:

 

Vermont Secretary of State
Office of Professional Regulation

89 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Montpelier VT 05620-3402
(802) 828-1505

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Vermont?

Yes. Section 5367 (26 VSA Chapter 103) states, “If a notarial act regarding a tangible record is performed by a notary public, an official stamp shall be affixed to or embossed on the certificate, or, in the alternative, the notary shall clearly print or type the notary public's name and commission number on the certificate.” Section 5367[b][2] states that if a notarial act regarding an electronic record is performed by a notary public and the certificate contains the information specified herein, an official stamp may be attached to or logically associated with the certificate. Further, any combination of official stamp and printing is acceptable as long as the notary public’s full legal name, jurisdiction, and commission number are affixed to the record. The official stamp of a notary public must contain the following (26 VSA §5369):

 

  1. The notary public's name
  2. Jurisdiction
  3. Other information required by the Secretary of State

 

The stamp must also be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated.

 

In addition, the Vermont Secretary of State recommends that a notary public clearly print or type to a notarized record the following:

 

  1. A signature (made at the same time as the performance of the notarial act).
  2. The date of the notarial act.
  3. The title of office of the notary public.
  4. The date of expiration of the notary public’s commission.
  5. The notary public’s commission number (or “credential number”), which is found on the notary public’s commission.

 

A notary public is responsible for the security of the notary's stamping device and must not allow another individual to use the device to perform a notarial act. If a notary public's stamping device is lost or stolen, the notary public or the notary public's personal representative or guardian shall notify promptly the Office of Professional Regulation on discovering that the device is lost or stolen (26 VSA §5370). For Vermont notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com,  calling 800.721.2663, or clicking here.

Is a notary journal required in Vermont?

No. The Vermont notary statute does not require Vermont notaries public to record their notarial acts in a notary journal. While a journal is not required by state law, the American Association of Notaries recommends that Vermont notaries public (1) maintain a record of their official acts to assist in recalling past notarial acts if needed or in the event they are legally challenged; (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; (3) not surrender their journals and/or record to another notary public or to an employer upon termination of employment; and (4) retain their journals for seven years after the expiration of their last commission. Notaries public are better protected when their notarial journals are well-maintained with clear and concise documentation that proper notarial procedures were followed during the performance of their notarial acts. For Vermont notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com,  calling 800.721.2663, or clicking here.

How much can a Vermont notary charge for performing notarial acts?

The state notary statute does not prescribe the maximum allowable fees that a notary public may charge for his or her notarial services.

What notarial acts can a Vermont notary public perform?

A Vermont notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts whether performed with respect to a tangible or an electronic record (26 VSA §5304[7]A):

 

1. Taking an acknowledgment

2. Administering an oath and affirmation

3. Taking a verification on oath or affirmation

4. Attesting a signature

5. Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument

6. Taking a deposition (VRCP 28a)

7. Issuing a subpoena (VRCP 45a)

How do I update my address for my Vermont notary commission?

A Vermont notary public can update his or her address, name, and email address online with the Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation’s Online Services System.  The Office of Professional Regulation’s main form of communicating with a commissioned notary public is through email. It is crucial for notaries public to keep their email addresses updated. A non-resident Vermont notary public must also follow the above-mentioned procedures if he or she has a change of employment or practice in Vermont during the term of his or her notary commission.

Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in Vermont?

A notary public must log into their online account and click “update profile.” He or she must then upload both of the following: (1) a copy of an acceptable name change document (marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other court documents supporting the name change) and (2) a new revised Oath of Office/Affirmation that has the notary’s new legal name and signature to the update license/application option within their account.

 

 

Revised:  January 2021

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.