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 Applying for a Notary Public Commission

Before You Apply

The application process for notaries involves several steps. It is not possible to obtain a notary commission in just a few days, so please allow time before planning to begin notarizing documents.

Before you apply, check to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for becoming a notary public. If your current commission is due to expire, apply early so there will be no break between your old and new commissions.

Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for appointment as a notary public in West Virginia are simple. A person must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States, or if not a citizen of the United States, a citizen or national of a country that permits American citizens to become notaries public therein;
  • Be at least 18 years old, and not disqualified from voter registration due to a felony conviction;
  • Not be presently under a felony conviction ("under conviction" includes probation and/or parole);
  • Be a resident of West Virginia, or a resident of another state who works at an office address within West Virginia;
  • Be able to read and write English;
  • Not have had a notary commission revoked within the last ten (10) years.

Applying for a Notary Commission

The following steps must be completed before a person can lawfully begin to notarize documents:

Step 1

Read the West Virginia Code which governs notary practice.

On the application you will be signing an oath that you have read and understand the requirements and will follow the law.  Click the icon to read the text of the law.

 


Step 2

Click the image at the right to download the application form using Acrobat Reader.

If you have never used the reader or would like help with step three, go to Acrobat Reader Help. 

 

Notary Application Image

Step 3

Fill out the form on-screen if you wish, then print it and complete the remaining sections.

  • You must obtain endorsements from three (3) qualified electors of West Virginia by having them sign the application and provide their address. A "qualified elector" is a West Virginia citizen eligible to register to vote in the state. To be eligible, a citizen must be:
    • a United State citizen,
    • a resident of West Virginia for at least 30 days, and
    • 18 years of age or older.
       
  • You must sign your oath before another notary or officer authorized to administer oaths.
  • If your current commission is due to expire and you wish to keep the same month and day of expiration, please be sure to include that on the application form and apply at least two weeks prior to your expiration date.
  • If you are applying as a government notary for the official duties of a state or local governmental entity, your supervisor must provide a letter requesting your appointment. The fee is waived for government notaries. Federal employees are not eligible.

Step 4

Make your check or money order for $52 payable to "Secretary of State".

The fee is waived for government notaries (see Step 3). For more information see Ordering and Payments.


Step 5

Mail your application and payment to:

West Virginia Secretary of State
Notary Division
Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV  25305-0770


Step 6

Wait to receive your commission letter and check your seal for accuracy.

Your commission letter will provide the exact information you need on your seal. Check to ensure your Name and Address Information are correct as they appear on your Official Seal.  If there are any corrections needed please contact the Notary Division at (304) 558-8000. You must have your stamp made with the information provided in this letter. Click on the image to the right to view an example of the letter.
 

Step 7

Order your rubber stamp seal. Provide the exact information given in your commission letter to the company making your seal.

Look in your yellow pages for "Rubber Stamps" or "Office Supplies" to find a company which makes official seals. When you order, remind the vendor that the stamp must meet specifications. Click the seal icon on the right for more information.

Click here for more information about the notary seal.

Step 8

Receive your commission certificate, valid for ten years, and your notary handbook.

When you receive this certificate, you may begin notarizing documents, but learn what to do before you begin. Click on the certificate to see a larger version.

 

Notary Commission Certificate


Step 9

Review the notary handbook and keep it handy where you provide your notary services.

Remember, improper notarization means financial liability for the notary. Every notarization must include the proper acknowledgement form.

Check the online notary handbook using the Acrobat Reader by clicking on the handbook icon.

 

Click here to download the notary handbook.