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 Applying for a Notary Public Commission

Important The revised notary law takes effect July 1, 2014 (see West Virginia Code §39-4 "Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts."). The major changes to the notary law include:

  • Reduces a notary's commission from ten (10) years to five (5) years;
  • Requires a $1,000 surety bond or its equivalent in professional insurance;
  • Raise the amount a notary can charge from $2 to $5;
  • Allows for the notarization of electronic documents (e-notarization)

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 at least 18 years old;
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;
  • 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;
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent;
  • Not be disqualified to receive a commission pursuant to West Virginia Code §39-4-21

 

Applying for a Notary Commission

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

Step 1

Read §39-4 of 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 link above or the icon on the right to read the text of the law.

 


West Virginia Code
Chapter 39, Article 4
"Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts."


Step 2

Complete the Application for Appointment as a Notary Public (Form N-1) to apply for your initial appointment (or to apply for recommission). Click on the application image or form number below to download the application using Acrobat Reader.

Please note:  If you are applying for a recommission ​and your current commission end date is on or after July 1, 2014 you must use the new Notary Form that has the revision date 6/14 (check for "Rev. 6/14" in the lower right corner of the application), regardless if you submit it prior to July 1, 2014.

West Virignia Application for Appointment as a Notary Public (Form N-1)
Complete and submit this application for initial registration to perform notarial acts or to file for recommission. The filing fee is $52.

NOTE: If you are applying as a state or local government notary for the official duties of a state or local governmental entity (see West Virginia Code §39-4-31), your supervisor must provide a letter requesting your appointment for the fee to be waived. This letter must be included with your application. Federal employees are not eligible. Click on the image on the right or the form number above to download the application using Acrobat Reader.

Step 3

Fill out the application using the online fillable PDF document format, if you wish, then print it and complete the remaining sections. Otherwise, print the hard copy of the blank application and fill it out completely. 

  • You must sign your oath before another notary or officer authorized to administer oaths.
  • If you plan on performing electronic notarial acts (e-notarization),  per West Virginia Code §39-4-19, you must also complete and submit the application for E-Notariztion Authorization (Form N-2), [see note and image below]. There is no fee to file the E-Notarization Authorization application.
  • You must provide proof of the type of bond (assurance) the applicant carries, per West Virginia Code §39-4-20(d). If you are submitting surety in the form of a bond, only a form issued by the Secretary of State is permitted to be used (see Notary Public Surety Bond section below.) Otherwise, you must indicate on the application the type of certification of coverage under one of the different types of insurance policies.
  • 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 state or local government notary for the official duties of a state or local governmental entity (see West Virginia Code §39-4-31), your supervisor must provide a letter requesting your appointment. The fee is waived for government notaries. Federal employees are not eligible.

 

E-Notarization Authorization (Form N-2)
Complete and submit this application if you plan to perform electronic notarial acts. This application is in addition to the Notary Public Commission application (Form N-1; see details in Step 2 above). There is no fee to file the E-Notarization Authorization application. Click on the image on the right or the form number above (Form N-2) to download the application using Acrobat Reader.



Notary Public Surety Bond (Form M0032449.1)
If you are submitting surety in the form of a bond, only a bond form issued by the Secretary of State is permitted to be used. This application is in addition to the Notary Public Commission application (Form N-1; see details in Step 2 above). Your Notary Public Commission application cannot be processed without providing proof of your current bond or certificate of equivalent coverage. There is no fee to file the Notary Public Surety Bond application with the Secretary of State. Click on the image on the right or the form number above (Form M0032449.1) to download the application using Acrobat Reader. NOTE: Most insurance policies do not cover acts in violation of the law. Any bond or insurance must cover acts in violation of the law. Any insurance policy that does not will not be accepted and you will not receive a commission until you provide adequate assurance. If, for example, a policy has exclusions from criminal, dishonest, malicious, negligent, or fraudulent acts, then it would not be acceptable and would be denied by the Secretary of State's Office.

 

 

Step 4

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

The fee is waived for government notaries (see Step 3 above). For more information regarding acceptable forms of payment and the payment process, see Ordering and Payments.


Step 5

Mail your application and payment to:

 

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


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 the commission 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.

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

Click here for more information about the notary seal.

Step 8

Receive your commission certificate, valid for five (5) years, and your notary handbook.

When you receive your commission certificate, you may begin notarizing documents, but learn what to do before you begin. Click on the certificate to view 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 image on the right.

 

West Virginia Notary Handbook