How to Become a Notary in North Carolina

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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Looking to make a difference in your community? Let us guide you on a rewarding journey toward a unique profession.

In this comprehensive guide on how to become a notary in North Carolina, we lay out the roadmap to achieving this goal. With easy-to-follow, actionable steps, we’ll help you navigate this intriguing process, turning the complex into the simple.

Whether you’re looking to serve your community or generate additional income, this article will offer everything you need to know to get started.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include all state-required notary supplies in addition to five years of notary hotline phone support.

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Become a Notary in North Carolina

In order to become a notary in North Carolina, you will need to complete a few simple steps.

Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Requirements

There are basic qualifications for a person to become a notary in North Carolina. Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old (or a minor emancipated from the control of their parents)
  • Be a North Carolina resident or regularly conduct business in the state
  • Legally reside in the United States
  • Be able to read, write and speak English
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification
  • Keep the notary manual most recently approved by the North Carolina Secretary of State
  • Not have been incarcerated, on probation, or parole within the 10 years preceding application

Step 2: Register to Take the Notary Public Course

The first step is to register to take the Notary Public Course at a local community college. This can be done using the North Carolina Community Colleges website. Here, you can view a schedule of community college course offerings.

Remember to bring an acceptable form of ID to be able to take a Notary Public Course, as you will be dismissed from the course if you’re unable to present it.

The course is composed of six hours of instruction, which can be taken as a full-day schedule or broken up over a period of two days.

Step 3: Purchase a North Carolina Notary Public Manual

Once you’ve registered to take the Notary Public Course at your local community college, the next step is to purchase a 2016 North Carolina Notary Public Manual. This can be bought from:

  • Local bookstores
  • Local community colleges
  • UNC School of Government bookstore (or by calling (919) 966-4119)

This guidebook contains tips and best practices for North Carolina notaries public, including up-to-date information on North Carolina law, that you will use throughout the duration of your course to help prepare you for the final exam.

Note: To complete your notary training, you must attend all six hours of the course and achieve a minimum score of 80% on the final test.

Step 4: Complete the Notary Public Application

Once you’ve successfully completed the Notary Public Course by passing the final exam, the next step is to fill out your application.

You can obtain the official notary application from several sources, including:

  • A registered notary public instructor during class
  • The Secretary of State’s website
  • A Register of Deeds office

Submit the application to your instructor for a signature upon completion of the class. You cannot sign your application yet as you need to get your signature witnessed by a notary.

Note: Your application must not contain any errors when you submit it. The Secretary of State will reject your application if it contains three or more blank spaces.

Step 5: Notarize and Submit Your Application

Finally, you’ll need to present your application to a notary public and sign it in front of them before submitting it to the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State alongside a $50 application fee to the following address:

North Carolina Secretary of State
P.O. Box 29626
Raleigh, NC 27626-0626

This needs to be done within three months of successfully passing your course.

The Secretary of State may also carry out a criminal background check on applicants as part of the review process to ensure all qualifications are met.

Note: Non-US citizens will also be required to submit proof of their legal residency with this application (e.g., permanent resident card or work visa).

Step 6: Protect Yourself With Errors and Omissions Insurance

While not required by law, it’s a good idea to consider protecting yourself with Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance before you begin operating as a notary.

This type of insurance provides coverage for any potential mistakes or omissions that you might make as you perform notarial acts. It’s an extra layer of protection that can give you peace of mind while operating for a relatively low opportunity cost.

Recommended Course

Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include all state-required notary supplies in addition to five years of notary hotline phone support.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($95)

Step 7: Take the Oath of Office

If your application is successfully processed, the Secretary of State’s office will shortly send you a Notary Oath Notification Letter through the post or via email.

When taking your oath of office, keep in mind that it must:

  • Be taken in front of a person authorized to administer oaths (notary public)
  • Be taken at the Register of Deeds office
  • Be taken in your county of residence
  • Be taken within 45 days of receiving the notification letter

Notary appointments are not valid until you’ve taken your oath of office. After this, the Register of Deeds will grant you a Notary Certificate, which indicates you’re a notary public in the state of North Carolina.

Note: Remember to bring a form of ID along with a $10 fee when taking your oath of office.

Step 8: Obtain Notary Supplies

Finally, you’ll need to obtain your notary supplies.

This includes your notary stamp or seal, as well as your notary journal (used for maintaining a record of all of your notarial acts).

Remember that, as a notary, you will serve a vital role in your community. This responsibility requires diligence, precision, and a high ethical standard.

Take your time, follow all the steps, and prepare to provide a valuable service.

Note: This is the perfect time to decide if you want to qualify to become an electronic notary, which would allow you to carry out remote notarizations.

How to Become a Notary in North Carolina FAQ

How much does it cost to become a notary in North Carolina?

There are certain necessary costs to take into account, such as the $50 application fee, a $10 submission fee to the Register of Deeds, and the cost of your mandatory education course. In total, you can expect to spend between $150 and $200 to become a notary in North Carolina. We cover how you can get your notary commission easily in our How to Become a Notary article.

How long does it take to get a notary license in North Carolina?

It typically takes between three to six weeks to get your notary license in North Carolina. This includes time to complete the mandatory six-hour notary education course, wait for your exam results, and allow for the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office to process your application. Check out our article on How to Become a Notary in North Carolina for more information.

Do I need to purchase a surety bond as a notary public in North Carolina?

No, it’s not mandatory to purchase a notary surety bond in order to become a notary public. However, if you want to protect yourself, Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance is a great option. E&O insurance protects you from the potential financial consequences of mistakes or omissions you might make as a notary public, though it is not a legal requirement in North Carolina.

How long does a notary commission last in North Carolina?

A commission in North Carolina lasts for five years. If you wish to continue offering notary services after this five-year period has ended, you’ll need to apply for a commission renewal. This process involves taking a refresher course and successfully passing an exam (unless the applicant is a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar).

How much can you charge as a notary public in North Carolina?

A notary signing agent in North Carolina can charge up to $5 per notarial act — a fee set by the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office. It’s important to note that notaries can charge less than this maximum fee, but charging more can lead to penalties and potential revocation of their notary commissions.

For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary page.