How to become a Virginia Notary

Abbreviation: VA   |   10th State   |   Statehood: June 25, 1788 |
To become a Virginia notary public, a person must meet all of the requirements listed below:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to read and write the English language
  • Be a legal resident of the United States
  • Live or work in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Not have been convicted of a felony, unless there is proof of a pardon for such felony or the applicant had his or her rights restored

To receive a Virginia notary public commission, a person must:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Answer the interview questions found on the online notary application (Notary Application Wizard). All questions must be complete in order for the notary application to be processed.
  • Have his or her signature properly notarized by a notary public on Part 3 of the printed notary application. This must be done prior to mailing the notary application to the Secretary of the Commonwealth for processing.
  • Properly complete and submit an Application for Appointment as a Virginia Notary Public form either by mail or through the online Notary Application Wizard to the Secretary of the Commonwealth with a filing fee of $45. To download the application form or apply online through the Notary Application Wizard, go to
  • Within 60 days of appointment, take an oath and be sworn in before the clerk of the circuit court. The clerk will then provide the new notary with his or her commission certificate. There is a $10 fee paid at that time to the court. If a notary commission is not claimed within 60 days from its issuance, it becomes invalid.
  • Submit a specimen of his or her signature to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Non-Resident Virginia Notary:
Permitted. Non-residents living in adjoining states may be appointed if they are regularly employed in Virginia and perform notary services in connection with their employment. Non-residents must meet the same qualifications as Virginia residents. A non-resident notary who ceases to be regularly employed in Virginia must surrender his or her notary commission.
Virginia Notary Bond:
None required.
Notary Errors & Omissions Insurance:
Optional. A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from his or her official misconduct as a notary public. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Virginia notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of Notary Errors and Omissions insurance. To purchase a Notary Errors and Omissions Insurance policy, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling (800) 721-2663 or by visiting our website: for more information
Filing Fee:
A filing fee of $45 is required for new and renewal notary applications.
Virginia Notary Term:
Four years.
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Post Office Box 1795
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1795
(804) 692-2536
Notary Commission Renewal:
A notary public may apply before the expiration of his or her current notary commission by completing and submitting a renewal application form to the Secretary of the Commonwealth in person, by first-class mail, or online, provided online notary applications contain electronic signatures authorized by the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act.
None Required.
Virginia Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:
Required. A notary public and electronic notary public are required to affix a seal or stamp on every notarized document. The seal/stamp must be sharp, legible, permanent, and photographically reproducible. For an electronic document, the notary shall attach an official electronic seal. The seal/stamp must contain the name of the notary public exactly as it appears on the notary commission, the words “Notary Public” and “Commonwealth of Virginia.” Pursuant to state law, the notary’s registration number and commission expiration date must be included in every notarial certificate a notary executes if the notarization is to be valid. Therefore, it is acceptable and a widely used practice for Virginia notaries to include their notary registration numbers and commission expiration dates as part of their official seals. Electronic notaries are required to have all five components listed herein as part of their official seal. The attached seal of electronic notaries must be capable of independent verification. It is the responsibility of the notary to dispose of or destroy the notary seal once the notary ceases to be a notary public.
Record Book:
None Required. It is strongly recommended by the Secretary of Commonwealth and the American Association of Notaries that each Virginia notary public record and maintain every notarial act in a notary journal. For Virginia notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling (800) 721-2663 or by visiting our website at
Notary Fees:
Notarial fees are set by state law. A notary public is allowed to charge for each notarial act, but not more than:

  • Acknowledgments - $5.00
  • Oaths or affirmations - $5.00
  • Certifying affidavits - $5.00
  • Certifying depositions of witnesses - $5.00
  • Copy certification - $5.00
Travel fees are allowed only if the notary and the signer agree beforehand on the travel fees. Electronic notaries may not charge more than $25 for an e-notarization.

A Virginia notary has the authority to:

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Perform verifications of fact
  • Certify affidavits or depositions
  • Certify copies of non-recordable documents

Electronic Notarization:
Permitted. The Secretary of the Commonwealth website provides the online electronic application for Virginia notaries to become Electronic Notaries Public and perform electronic notarizations. In addition, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website provides the Electronic Notary Assurance Standards as well as A Notary Book for Virginia Notaries Public, which outlines guidelines, procedures, and standards for the performance of electronic notarizations.
Address Change:
Required. Any notary public who changes his or her residence must notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth by mailing or delivering a written notice of his or her new address. A non-resident notary public must notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth of any change of his or her place of employment.
Name Change:
Not required. Notaries who legally change their names during their terms of office must print on certificates the words: “I was commissioned a notary public as ____________.” However, electronic notaries public who legally change their names must make an application with the Secretary of the Commonwealth for a new electronic notary commission within 90 days of the legal name change.
A written notification must be provided to the Secretary of Commonwealth if any of these significant events occurs during the notary’s term of office. The notary public must dispose of or destroy the notary seal.
Prohibited Acts:
A notary public may not:

  • Prepare, draft, select, or give advice concerning legal documents
  • Perform acts that constitute the practice of law if the notary is not an attorney
  • Claim to have powers, qualifications, rights or privileges that the office of notary public does not provide
  • Use the phrase "notario" or "notario publico" to advertise notary services
  • Solicit or accept compensation to prepare documents for or otherwise represent the interest of another in a judicial or administrative proceeding, including a proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, United States citizenship, or related matters
  • Notarize his or her own signature
  • Notarize a document if the signer is not in the presence of the notary at the time of the performance of the notarial act
  • Use the official notary title or seal to endorse, promote, denounce, or oppose any product, service, contest, candidate, or other offering
  • Notarize a signature on a document without notarial certificate wording on the same page as the signature unless the notarial certificate includes the name of each person whose signature is being notarized
  • Affix an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete
  • Perform any official act with the intent to deceive or defraud
  • Notarize a document if the notary is a signatory or is named in the document
  • Notarize a document if the notary or spouse is named as a party to the transaction
  • Notarize a document if the notary has a direct financial or beneficial interest in the document
  • Certify true copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates or of court issued documents
  • Perform marriages
  • Notarize political petitions for a campaign if the notary is a paid employee of such political campaign

Criminal Penalty:
It is a criminal offense if a notary public:

  • Notaries who knowingly and willfully fail to disclose a felony conviction on their applications shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • A notary who knowingly and willfully commits any official misconduct shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
  • A notary who fails to surrender his or her notary commission pursuant to an order of the Secretary shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
  • A notary who knowingly takes a false oath or completes a false certificate may be guilty of perjury.
  • A notary who intentionally uses his or her notarial powers to perpetrate a fraud or to embezzle or steal from another may be found guilty of a felony.
  • A notary who knowingly obtains, conceals, damages, or destroys the certificate, disk, coding, card, program, software, or hardware enabling an electronic notary to affix an official electronic signature or seal, without authority, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Notarial Certificates:
Click here to view your state's notarial certificates.

Revised: September 2015

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