Becoming a Notary in WA: Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I am qualified to become a notary?
In order to become a notary within your state, you must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the state. In the state of Washington, you may also live in either Oregon or Idaho and work within Washington or do business in Washington to become a WA notary. You must also have never committed a felony.
How long does my notary certification last?
The length of your notary certification depends on the state within which you have received your notary certification. In Washington, you must renew your certification every four years.
When should I start renewing my notary certification?
You may start your renewal process as early as 120 days before the end of your notary certification. It takes at least six months for the renewal process to be finalized.
Is it required to have a notary seal and stamp?
While some states may not require a notary seal and stamp, most states do. Those that do not require the stamp and seal highly recommend having them.
Does becoming a notary require taking a training course?
A training course is required in Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania. A training course is not required in the state of Washington.
Do I need to buy a notary surety?
Yes, you must purchase a surety bond in order to become a notary in any state, though the price will vary. For Washington, you must have a $10,000 surety bond.
Is it required to purchase E&O insurance?
While it is highly recommended to purchase Notary Errors and Omission insurance (E&O insurance), it is not required in any state. E&O protects the notary against any possible lawsuits that may be filed against them, due to a mistake. This is the first line of defense against any future mistakes that may occur before your bond is needed.
Am I under the protection and insurance of my employer as a notary?
No, you are not under the protection of your employer as a notary, even if you use your notary certification for your employer. As a notary, you are solely responsible for any actions you take as you notarize any documents.
What is a notary journal, and is it required for me to have one?
A notary journal is a record you keep of all notarization you make with your certification. This official document is required in most states. However, even in the states it is not required, it is highly recommended.
What services does a notary provide?
The duties of a notary may include notarizing acknowledgments, providing oaths and affidavits, authenticating vehicle identify numbers, bearing witness to photocopies of legal documents being made and verifying the contents in safe deposit boxes. These documents that you notarize verify that they are true and no fraudulent activity had been performed.
Does my employer pay for my notary services?
Yes, your employer may pay for you to become a notary and any services you perform as a notary. If you leave that employer, you will still keep your notary certification.
Can I notarize documents for my family?
No, you may not provide any notary services to your immediate family, including your mother, father, sister or brother. You may provide notary services to your extended family.
Who needs to be present when notarizing a document?
Whoever has signed the document you are notarizing must be present and you must witness the signature of the document. If you do not witness this, you are in violation of the state notary statutes.
Washington State Department of Licensing: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/notary/index.html