So you’re thinking of becoming a notary public in Florida?
We don’t blame you! It’s a great way to earn extra money. After all, no matter what’s going on in our nation, people will always need a notary for getting married, incorporating businesses, buying property, and even changing their names.
If you’ve never received your notary commission in Florida, though, you can’t add that extra revenue to your income quite yet. First, you need to apply to be a notary public in Florida.
The process isn’t quite as simple as some would like it to be, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either. In this article, we’ll walk you through step by step how to become a notary public in Florida—without the stress and unending Google searches.
Let’s start with the basic requirements.
Requirements for Becoming a Notary Public in Florida
If you’re serious about becoming a notary, the State of Florida has some requirements you need to meet.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You have to be a legal resident of Florida.
- You need to be able to read, write, and understand the English language.
- You can’t have any felony convictions. (If you’ve been convicted of a felony, you need to have your civil rights restored before applying.)
It’s a good idea to gather some documents to prove you meet these requirements. For starters, make sure you have a driver’s license, car registration, and voter’s registration—all in Florida. Also have on hand your birth certificate and social security card.
If you’re not a U.S. citizen, then you need to file a Declaration of Domicile, which you can get at your county seat.
What to Do Before You Apply
Florida law requires you to read Chapter 117 of the Florida statues of being a notary public. This will walk you through the state’s laws and regulations surrounding being a notary and offering your services.
When you read this document, you’ll learn several important things about being a notary public in Florida. For example:
- Your notary commission lasts four years. After that, you need to renew it.
- You can only use your notary services within the state.
- You can’t notarize your own signature.
- If your official seal is lost or stolen, you need to report it to the Department of State or governor in writing.
Next, if you’re applying for the first time, you need to take a three-hour Florida notary course.
The Department of State offers this course free of charge. Just realize, though, that you need to spend a minimum of 23 minutes on each section and at least 3 hours on the entire course in order to get your certificate.
You can register an account and start the course here.
Application to Become a Notary Public in Florida
Now that you’ve read Chapter 117 and completed the Notary Education Course, it’s time to fill out the application and file it.
But you can’t simply download the application and file it directly with the state. Instead, you need to do it through a bonding agency. You can find a list of Florida-approved bonding agencies here.
You should check out a few of the agencies on that list and compare prices before making a final choice. Even though the state fees are fixed at $39 by law, bonding agencies can vary their prices on the bond premium. So choose the price that works best for you.
Once you choose a bonding agency, they can walk you through the application process step by step. After filling out the application form, turn it in to your bonding agency, and they’ll forward it on to the state for review.
Purchase a Notary Public Stamp
If your application is accepted, then congratulations! You are now a notary public in Florida and will receive a commission certificate from your bonding agency.
Now all you need is a notary seal.
At Creative Rubber Stamps, we offer three types of self-inking stamps specially designed for your notary public seal.
The designs vary so that you can choose a stamp that fits your preferences. But each stamp shows your name, your commission number, and your commission expiration date.
We offer rectangular and round stamps to match your unique needs. Some of our clients purchase both for the different types of documents they sign.
You can browse our notary public stamps here.
Once you’ve purchased your stamp, it’s time to start marketing your services and growing your client base. Don’t forget this step!
Click here to learn how to get consistent business as a notary public (even during a pandemic)!