How to Become a West Virginia Notary
The West Virginia Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a West Virginia notary? Are you interested in generating extra income as a notary, starting your own West Virginia notary business, adding a West Virginia notary title to your resume, or helping to notarize documents for people in your community? West Virginia notaries are appointed by the state to serve the public as an unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. The process to become a notary in West Virginia a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the state notary law requirements listed below, you can apply to become a West Virginia notary. The American Association of Notaries can help you with the West Virginia notary application process from start to finish, and when your application is approved, we can manufacture your notary stamp and notary supplies and provide you with support during your West Virginia notary commission term so you can fulfill your notary duties accurately. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994. We can help you, too, become a notary!
This guide will help you understand:
- The process to become a West Virginia notary
- Who can become a West Virginia notary
- Basic West Virginia notary duties
What are the qualifications to become a West Virginia notary?
To become notary public in West Virginia, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;
- Be a resident of West Virginia, or have a place of employment or practice in this state;
- Be able to read and write English;
- Have a high school diploma or its equivalent; and
- Not have a conviction for any felony or for a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit or be disqualified to receive a commission pursuant to West Virginia Code §39-4-21.
What is the process to become a West Virginia notary?
In order to become a West Virginia notary a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Read §39-4 of the West Virginia Code.
- Complete an online application at the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website and pay a $52 filing fee.
Can a non-resident become a notary in West Virginia?
Yes. A non-resident can become a West Virginia notary public if such person has a place of employment or practice in West Virginia.
How much does it cost to become a notary in West Virginia?
To become a notary public in West Virginia, an applicant is required to pay an application filing fee of $52. The notary will also incur the cost of obtaining a notary stamp.
How do I renew my West Virginia notary commission?
The Secretary of State will send West Virginia notaries an application form to the last known address on record with the Secretary of State. West Virginia notaries may apply for renewal no more than sixty days prior to the expiration date of their current notary commission. The renewal application process is the same as the initial application for appointment. To begin the renewal process, go to: https://sos.wv.gov/business/Pages/NotaryApp.aspx.
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a West Virginia notary public or to renew my West Virginia notary public commission?
No. West Virginia state law does not require a course of study or testing to become a notary public in this state. However, every person applying for a West Virginia notary public commission must swear or affirm under the penalty of perjury in the application that they have read and understand the notarial requirements and will follow the notary laws.
Can I perform electronic notarization in West Virginia?
Yes. The state of West Virginia has adopted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts and regulations to implement the notary statute, which incorporates standards, guidelines, and procedures for electronic notarizations. Before a notary public performs his or her initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, a notary public must: (1) provide proper notification to the Secretary of State of the notary’s intent to perform electronic notarial acts; (2) complete the “Application E-Notarization Authorization” form; (3) submit the completed Application E-Notarization Authorization form to the Secretary of State (no filing fee is required); and (4) identify to the Secretary of State the tamper-evident technology he or she intends to use for electronic notarizations.
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in West Virginia?
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 West Virginia.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in West Virginia?
The term of office of a West Virginia notary public is five 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 West Virginia; (5) if a non-resident notary no longer has a place of employment or practice in West Virginia; or (6) when a notary is no longer a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States.
Is a West Virginia notary bond required to become a notary in West Virginia?
No. A notary bond is not required to become a notary in West Virginia.
Do I need a West Virginia notary errors and omission insurance?
A notary errors and omission insurance policy is optional. However, the American Association of Notaries encourages West Virginia 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 West Virginia notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in West Virginia?
West Virginia notaries have statewide jurisdiction to perform notarial acts anywhere in the state of West Virginia.
Who appoints West Virginia notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints West Virginia notaries public.
Contact information for the West Virginia Secretary of State is as follows:
West Virginia Secretary of State
1900 Kanawha Blvd, East
Bldg. 1, Suite 157K
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0775
Toll Free: 1-866-767-8683
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in West Virginia?
Yes. West Virginia notary laws require all notaries public to use a rectangular notary stamp larger than one inch by two and one half inches with a border.The notary stamp impression must be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed.A notary stamp must include the following elements:
- The words “Official Seal”
- The words “Notary Public”
- The words “State of West Virginia”
- The notary public’s name
- The notary public’s address (residence or business)
- The notary public’s commission expiration date
- An image of the West Virginia State Seal
An embossed seal is permitted by West Virginia law, but it may NOT be used as a substitute for an inkednotary stamp. An embossed seal must include the following elements:
- The notary seal
- The words “Notary Public”
- The words “State of West Virginia”
- The notary’s name
Is a notary journal required in West Virginia?
No. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that West Virginia notaries public record every notarial act in a notary record book or journal for their protection. An electronic notary public may keep, maintain, protect, and provide for lawful inspection a chronological journal of notarial acts that is either a permanently bound book with numbered pages or an electronic journal of all electronic notarial acts. To order West Virginia notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling (800) 721-2663 or visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com.
How much can a West Virginia notary charge for performing notarial acts?
The maximum allowable fees a West Virginia notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Take an acknowledgment--$5
- Administer an oath or affirmation--$5
- Take a verification on oath or affirmation--$5
- Witness or attest a signature--$5
- Certify or attest a copy--$5
What notarial acts can a West Virginia notary public perform?
A West Virginia notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take verifications on oath or affirmation
- Witness or attest signatures
- Protests negotiable instruments
- Certify or attest copies
How do I update my address with the West Virginia Secretary of State?
West Virginia notaries are required to provide a written notification to the Secretary of State on a form prescribed by Secretary of State no later than thirty days after any change of their residence address or employment address. These notaries are also required to obtain a new notary stamp that contains their new address. Failure to notify the Secretary of State of such address change could result in the suspension, revocation, or conditioning of their notary public commission. To download the address change form, go to: https://sos.wv.gov/business/Pages/NotaryApp.aspx.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in West Virginia?
West Virginia notaries whose names have legally changed during the term of their notary public commissions are required to provide a written notification to the Secretary of State on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State within thirty days of the name change. These notaries are also required to obtain a new notary stamp that contains their new name. There is no fee to file a name change. Failure to notify the Secretary of State of such address change could result in the suspension, revocation, or conditioning of their notary public commission. To download the name change form, go to: https://sos.wv.gov/business/Pages/NotaryApp.aspx.
Prohibited West Virginia notarial acts
A West Virginia notary is prohibited from performing any of the acts listed below:
- Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving advice concerning legal documents
- Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
- Claiming to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges the office of notary public does not provide
- Using the phrase "notario" or "notario publico" to advertise notary services
- Soliciting or accepting compensation for preparing documents for or otherwise representing 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
- Acting as an immigration consultant
- Withholding access to or possession of an original record provided by a person that seeks performance of a notarial act
- Notarizing his or her own signature
- Notarizing a document that contains blanks
- Notarizing a document without the signer being in the notary’s presence at the time of the notarization
- Notarizing a signature on a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
- Affixing an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete
- Performing any notarial act with the intent to deceive or defraud
- Notarizing a document if the notary is a signatory or is named in the document
- Notarizing a document if the notary or spouse is named as a party to the transaction
- Notarizing a document if the notary has a direct financial or beneficial interest in the document
- Notarizing for immediate family if the notary receives money or property interest from the transaction
- Notarizing for an incompetent document signer who does not have the capacity to understand and sign the document
- Notarizing a signature of a signer who does not sign knowingly or voluntarily
- Certifying true copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates or court issued documents
- Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
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.
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.