How to become a Wisconsin Notary

Abbreviation: WI   |   30th State   |   Statehood: May 29, 1848 |
To become a Wisconsin notary public, a person must meet all of the requirements listed below:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a United States resident
  • Have at least the equivalent of an 8th-grade education
  • Be familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a notary public
  • Have demonstrated adherence to laws according to the Wisconsin Statutes with regard to arrests/citations/convictions
  • Not have been convicted in state or federal court of a felony, or convicted of a misdemeanor involving a violation of the public trust unless there is proof of a pardon relating to the convictions
In order to receive a Wisconsin notary public commission, an applicant must:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements
  • Purchase an engraved seal or rubber stamp prior to completing the notary application form
  • Take the online notary public exam and print the notary exam certificate
  • Properly complete a notary application form, a $500 bond, oath of office, a notary exam certificate, and submit all forms to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions with the required $20 filing fee. An applicant may apply online, or click here to download the application form-
Non-Resident Wisconsin Notary:
Permitted. A non-resident who maintains a permanent dwelling place in the United States and is in fact living in the United States may apply to become a Wisconsin notary public, but he or she must still meet eligibility requirements.
Wisconsin Notary Bond:
A $500 surety bond is required for all applicants applying or reapplying for a four (4) year notary public commission. No bond is required for attorneys licensed to practice law in Wisconsin who are applying for a permanent commission.
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 Wisconsin notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of Notary Errors and Omissions insurance.
Filing Fee:
A $20 filing fee is required for new and renewal notary applications. For attorneys, a $50 fee is required for a lifetime notary public commission.
Wisconsin Notary Term:
Four years; lifetime for notaries public who are attorneys. (OAG-03-09 issued July 13, 2009, states that those Wisconsin attorneys who have had their law licenses suspended or revoked for any reason, whether disciplinary or administrative, are not statutorily entitled to permanent notary public commissions. Upon restatement of their law licenses, such attorneys are entitled to a fixed, four-year notary commission that may be renewed.)
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Notary Records Section
P.O. Box 7847
Madison, WI 53707-7847
Notary Commission Renewal:
The Department of Financial Institutions is required by law to mail an expiration notice to each notary public’s last-known address at least 30 days before the current notary commission expires. The reappointment procedure is the same as the initial appointment, including the required bond, oath, notary application, exam certificate showing a score of 90 % or better, the filing fee, and conviction documents, if any.
Required. Each applicant for an initial notary public appointment must score 90% or better on the online Notary Public exam provided on the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website:
Wisconsin Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:

Type – embosser or rubber-inked stamp

Ink color – ink color--any color as long as the seal can be reproduced under photographic methods

Shape – round or rectangular

Dimensions – any size

Required elements – the seal must contain the notary’s commissioned name and the words “Notary Public” and “State of Wisconsin.” Before using a new seal/stamp, a notary must send samples to the Department of Financial Institutions along with his or her signature, commission expiration date, and future date of intended use. When a notary seal is lost or stolen, the notary public must immediately notify the Department of Financial Institutions in writing and order a new seal/stamp that has a different appearance than the previous seal.

Record Book:
None Required. It is strongly recommended by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the American Association of Notaries that Wisconsin notaries public record every notarial act in a notary record book or journal. For Wisconsin 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
  • Jurats - $5.00
  • Protests - $5.00
  • Copy of other protest - $5.00
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature - $5.00
  • Taking a verification upon oath or affirmation - $5.00
  • Copy per folio - $0.12

Note: No fee shall be charged by any officer for administering or certifying any official oath or any oath to any person relative to his or her right to be registered or to vote.

A Wisconsin notary public has the authority to:

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Take verifications on oath or affirmation
  • Witness or attest signatures
  • Take depositions
  • Protest instruments
Electronic Notarization:
The State of Wisconsin has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, and/or procedures for electronic notarizations.
Address Change:
A notary public must provide a written notice of any change of address to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions within 10 days of the change. Click here to download the Change of Address form--
Name Change:
If a notary public changes his or her name for any reason, he or she must purchase a new seal or stamp stating the notary’s new name, and submit a Name Change form to the Department of Financial Institutions. For the remainder of a notary’s present commission, it is permissible for a notary public to continue to perform notarial acts using his or her commissioned name and seal. A new or different name may not be signed in addition to the previous name, as in parentheses or in a hyphenated manner. No new name and seal may be used when performing notarial acts unless the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions is first notified in writing. Click here to download the Name Change form--
When a notary public ceases to hold office as notary public or dies, the notary (or his or her representative) shall deposit the official records and papers with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions within three months.
Prohibited Acts:
A notary public may not:

  • Prepare, draft, select, or give advice concerning legal documents
  • Perform acts that constitute the practice of law
  • 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
  • Act as an immigration consultant, unless the notary is an “accredited representative” as defined in 8 CFR 292.1(a)(4)
  • Solicit or accept compensation to obtain relief of any kind on behalf of another person from any officer, agent, or employee of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States
  • Overcharge for notarial acts
  • Notarize a document without the signer being physically present
  • Notarize his or her own signature
  • Notarize a document if he or she has a financial or beneficial interest in the transaction
  • Notarize a document that does not contain a notarial certificate
  • Sign a notarial certificate under any other name than what is on the official notary seal
  • Certify copies of documents recordable in the public records
Criminal Violation:
  • A notary public who prepares or issues anything that carries the appearance of an original or copy of a vital record could be fined not more than $10,000, imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
  • Notaries who are not attorneys and practice law may, for the first violation, be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to nine months, or both.
  • A second violation may result in a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to six years, or both.
Notarial Certificates:
Click here to view your state's notarial certificates.

Revised: September 2015

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