How to Become a Notary

What is a Notary Public?


A Notary Public is a public servant appointed by state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths.




Why are documents notarized?


Documents are notarized to deter fraud and to ensure they are properly executed. An impartial witness (the Notary) identifies signers to screen out impostors and to make sure they have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly.




What are the requirements to become a California Notary Public?


Every person appointed as a Notary Public shall:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (there is no maximum age set by statute) and
  • Be a legal California resident
  • Complete a the mandatory 6 hour course of study approved by the Secretary of State
  • Satisfactorily complete and pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State
  • Clear a background check (information on fingerprinting below)




How do I become a California Notary Public?


Platinum Professional Services offers the California Secretary of State approved Notary Public Course that is 100% online and meets the mandatory, six hour education requirement mandated by the California Secretary of State. This course is approved by the California Secretary of State and fulfills the State six hour education requirement for new and renewing Notary Publics. Click here to learn more about our Notary course.




What happens after I take the course?


After you take the mandatory 6 hour course, you must satisfactorily complete and pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State. CPS administers the testing. Click here for current testing information and schedules.




What do I take to the Exam?


To take the exam you will need:

  • A current photo identification (e.g. California Driver's License or Identification Card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles or U.S. Passport);
  • A complete and current Notary Public Application;
  • A 2" x 2" color passport photo of yourself;
  • The Proof of Completion certificate of your six-hour approved education course;
  • The registration confirmation letter; and
  • The $40.00 exam and application processing fee (or $20.00 exam fee for applicants who previously took the exam and failed). Payment must be by check or money order made payable to the Secretary of State (cash is not accepted at the exam site).




How many questions are on the test?


There are 45 multiple choice questions and you have 60 minutes to complete the test. You must get 70% or better to pass.




When will I receive my results?


Result Notification: Results from your Notary Public Examination will be emailed (if you provided an email address on the upper right corner of your application) or mailed via USPS approximately 15 business days following the examination. Result information will not be discussed over the phone.

If you listed an email address on your application, a message containing your user name and password will be sent to you from CPScontact@cpshr.us. Receipt of this message indicates we have processed your application.

This message is automatically generated and may not clear any “spam” filters. In this case, the message is likely to be in your “junk” mailbox. Exam results will be ready approximately 15 business days after the exam date.

To view your results notification online, select the “My Account” link located in the toolbar on the right side. Once logged in, select “View Notifications” to see a copy of your exam results letter. Exam results are available approximately 15 business days after the exam date.




What do I do after I pass the Notary test?


Fingerprints are submitted after you pass the state examination. Details are mailed with your testing results. You will need to submit fingerprints via live scan to the Department of Justice and FBI for your thorough background check. Click here for live scan fingerprint locations throughout California. Once you have done this you will wait for your commission paperwork to arrive (8 to 12 weeks from exam date). For renewing notaries, the commission paperwork for the new commission will be mailed out no sooner than 1 month prior to commission expiration.




Do I need any Notary supplies?


Yes, you will need to order your official Notary Public stamp and journal. You can not notarize any documents until you obtain your Notary Public seal and journal. Order your Notary Public Stamp and Journal




Do I need a bond?


Yes, you must obtain a Notary Public Bond. The bond is for the required four year term and $15,000. You must obtain your bond before you are sworn in as a Notary Public at your County Clerk Recorders office. Do not delay, you have only 30 days from the date of the Secretary of State's mailing to obtain your bond and be sworn in as a Notary. Notary Public Bond




How do I keep my commission?


To renew your commission, you will need to take a 3 hour mandatory course every four years. The 3 hour course has all the same knowledge points as the 6 hour course. Therefore, Platinum Professional Services only offers the 6 hour course. You then will be required to take the exam, and submit live scan fingerprints. Learn more about our California Notary Class





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