How to become a Washington Notary

Abbreviation: WA   |   42nd State   |   Statehood: November 11, 1889 |
How to become a notary in Washington:
To become a notary in Washington, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
  1. Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
  2. Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  3. Be a resident of Washington Stateor have a place of employment or practice in this state
  4. Be able to read and write English
  5. Provide court records for judgments, convictions, or fines entered against the applicant within the past ten years
 
Qualifications for becoming a notary in Washington:
In order to become a Washington notary and receive a Washington notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section
  2. Complete a Notary Public Commission Application
  3. Obtain a $10,000 surety bond
  4. Submit the completed and notarized application form to the Notary Public Program,Department of Licensing with a copy of the $10,000 bond and a $30 application fee
 
Can a non-resident become a notary in Washington?
Yes. A non-resident can become a Washington notary public if such person has a place of employment or practice in Washington.
 
Is a Washington notary bond required to become a notary in Washington?
Yes. A Washington surety bond in the amount of $10,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. The surety bond must be issued by a surety or other entity licensed or authorized to write surety bonds in the state of Washington.
 
Do I need Washington notary errors and omissions insurance?
A notary errors and omission insurance policy is optional. However, the American Association of Notaries encourages Washington notaries public to obtain errors and omissions insurance for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. An E&O policy will cover legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Washington notary public selects.
 
How much does it cost to become a notary in Washington?
To become a notary public in Washington, an applicant is required to pay an application filing fee of $30. A notary will also incur the cost of obtaining a $10,000 surety bond, a notary stamp, and a notary journal.
 
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Washington?
The term of office of a Washington notary public is four years, commencing on the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when the notary public ceases to reside in Washington; (5) if a non-resident notary no longer has a place of employment or practice in Washington; or (6) when a notary is no longer a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States.
 
Where can I perform notarial acts in Washington?
Washington notaries have the authority to perform notarial, acts anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Washington.
 
Who appoints Washington notaries public?
The Department of Licensing appoints Washington notaries public.

 

Contact information for the Department of Licensing is as follows:

 

Department of Licensing
Notary Public Program
P.O. Box 9027
Olympia, WA 98507-9027
360-664-1550
Email: notaries@dol.wa.gov
Fax: 360-570-7053

 
How to renew your Washington notary public commission:
A Washington notary public may submit a Notary Public Commission Renewal Application with a $30.00 renewal feeno earlier than 120 days prior to his or her commission expiration date. The renewal application process is the same as the initial application for appointment. To begin the renewal process, go to: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/notary/nrenew.html.
 
Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become a Washington notary public or renew your Washington notary public commission?
No. Washington state law does not require a course of study or testing to become a notary public in the state of Washington. However, the Department of Licensing strongly recommends that all new notary applicants complete a notary course study so that they can clearly understand the laws, duties, and responsibilities of being a Washington notary public. To encourage new notary applicants to learn their notarial duties and responsibilities, the Department of Licensing has provided a notary training video on its website.
 
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Washington?
Yes. Washington notary law requires all notaries public to use an official seal or stamp to authenticate all notarial acts.

 

An official notary seal or stamp must include the following:

  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The words “State of Washington”
  • The notary public’s name as commissioned
  • The notary public’s commission expiration date
  • The notary public’s commission number
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    In addition, an official notary seal or stamp must: (1) be printed in a minimum of 8-point font; (2) be affixed in permanent ink and be capable of being photocopied; (3) not include the Washington state seal; and (4) be a minimum of one and five-eighths inches in diameter if round or a minimum of one inch wide by one and five-eighths inches long if rectangular.

     

    In order to have a stamp or seal made, you must provide a copy of your notary commission certificate to your stamp or seal vendor. Vendors are not allowed to create a notary stamp or seal until they have a copy of the certificate.

     
    Is a notary journal required in Washington?
    Yes. A Washington notary public is required to maintain one tangible journal at a time to record all notarial acts, whether those notarial acts are performed regarding tangible or electronic records. The format of a journal maintained on a tangible medium must be a permanent, bound register with numbered pages. An electronic notary may maintain an electronic format journal to record his or her electronic notarial acts, which must also be recorded in the e-notary’s physical journal. A journal maintained in an electronic format must: (1) be in a permanent, tamper-evident for; (2) be accessible only through a password or other secure means of authentication; (3) be capable of producing tangible or electronic copies of any entry made in the journal; (4) have the capacity to record the information required for a tangible journal; and (5) create a duplicate record of the journal as a backup. For Washington notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
     
    How much can a Washington notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
    The maximum allowable fees that a Washington notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Taking acknowledgments - $10.00
  • Administering oaths or affirmations - $10.00
  • Verification upon oaths or affirmations - $10.00
  • Noting protests of negotiable instruments - $10.00
  • Certifying that an event has occurred or an act has been performed - $10.00
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature - $10.00
  • Certifying or attesting a copy - $10.00
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    What notarial acts can a Washington notary public perform?
    A Washington notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts:
  • Taking an acknowledgment
  • Administering an oath or affirmation
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature
  • Taking a verification upon oath or affirmation
  • Certifying or attesting a copy
  • Protest of a negotiable instrument
  • Certifying that an event has occurred or an act has been performed
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    Can I perform electronic notarizations in Washington?
    Yes. The state of Washington has adopted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts and new regulations to implement the new notary laws, which incorporates standards, guidelines, and procedures for electronic notarizations. Individuals may only apply for an electronic records notary public endorsement if they: (1) have an active notary public commission or are applying for a notary public commission and an electronic records notary public endorsement simultaneously; (2) submit an electronic records notary public application provided by the Department of Licensing; (3) pay the application prescribed fee of $45; and (4) report to the Department of Licensing within thirty days the tamper-evident technology they intend to use to perform electronic notarizations. Washington law does not authorize notaries or electronic notaries to perform remote notarizations.

    Can I perform online notarizations in Washington?
    Online notarizations that involve notarizing documents using audio/video technologies to communicate with a signer who is located in another county, city, state, or country are not allowed in the State of Washington.
     
    How do I change my address?
    Washington notaries are required to notify the Department of License in writing within fifteen days of any changes to the information submitted on their notary public commission application or endorsement application. There is not a charge for an address change, and a new notary public commission will not be issued. You can update your address online by clicking here.
     
    How do I change my name on my notary public commission in Washington?
    Washington notaries whose names have legally changed during the term of their notary public commissionsare required to notify the Department of Licensing on a form prescribed by the department within fifteen days of the name change. The notification must include the following: (1) a bond rider from the bonding company showing the new name change; and (2) a $15 filing fee for a new notary public commission. The Department of Licensing will issue a duplicate notary public commission with the notary’s new name. For a name change, go to: https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/notary/nforms.html.
     
    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Washington notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving legal advice concerning legal documents
  • Claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary public does not provide
  • Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
  • Accepting payment in exchange for providing legal advice or any other assistance that requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of the law
  • Acting as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters
  • Accepting payment in exchange for providing immigration services
  • Using the terms “notario” or “notario publico” when advertising notarial services
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
  • Affixing his or her notary signature and seal to a document when the document signer was not present during the performance of the notarial act
  • Notarizing a document for a signer who was not personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence of identity
  • Affixing his or her notary signature and seal to a document that did not include a notarial certificate
  • Affixing his or her notary signature and seal to a blank notarial certificate to be completed later without the presence of the notary public
  • Performing a notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • Signing a notarial certificate under any other name than the one under which the notary public was commissioned
  • Notarizing a notarial certificate containing statements known to the notary public to be false
  • Allowing another person to use the notary’s notary seal/stamp
  • Affixing a notary signature and seal to a document in which the notary has a personal financial or beneficial interest
  • Notarizing an incomplete document with blanks
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    Note: The above-mentioned acts of official misconduct do not include all of the prohibited acts set forth in the Washington statutes, regulations, and the Washington State Notary Public Guide.

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

    Revised: July 2018

    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 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 state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
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