How to Become a Notary in Illinois

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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

In this comprehensive guide on how to become a notary in Illinois, 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 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.

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Become a Notary in Illinois

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

Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Requirements

If your goal is to become a notary in Illinois, you’ll first need to ensure that you satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be an Illinois resident or a resident of a qualifying border state that is employed in Illinois
  • Speak and read English fluently
  • Not have been convicted of a felony
  • Not have had a previous notary commission revoked or suspended in the last 10 years

Once confirming that you satisfy the above requirements, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Take the Notary Training Class and Exam

In Illinois, there is no current requirement to take a notary training course or exam in order to qualify. However, applicants are highly recommended to enroll in such courses as they can provide a good understanding of the notary role as well as how to perform its duties.

Note: From January 2024 onwards, all notary public applicants will be required to complete a three-hour notary training course as well as achieve a passing grade of 85% on a notary exam.

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Step 3: Buy a $5,000 Surety Bond

The next step for all notaries public who meet the minimum eligibility requirements is to execute a $5,000 surety bond with a term of four years commencing on the date you’re appointed as a notary public.

You are required to obtain this bond from a company that is licensed to write surety bonds in Illinois and then have them complete the bond section of your notary application.

If this is your first time applying for a notary commission the bond form should be part of the rest of your notary public application, or the Secretary of State may prescribe an official bond form.

You should ONLY use the bond form on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website if you:

  • Are currently commissioned as an Illinois notary public
  • Have only previously submitted a $5,000 surety bond
  • Want to perform remote notarizations

Note: If you intend to offer remote notarizations, you will need to acquire a $30,000 Illinois Notary Bond instead and indicate this decision on your Notary Application.

Step 4: Complete the Illinois Notary Application

Once you’ve executed an appropriate bond that satisfies the Illinois Secretary of State’s requirements, the next step is to complete your Notary Public Application.

Remember to include a legible photocopy of both sides of either your state ID card or a valid Illinois driver’s license. The address on the form of ID you provide must match the home address you list in your application.

The Secretary of State recommends applicants download the application form from their website and complete it using Adobe Acrobat Reader for best results.

Note: If you are not a resident of Illinois, you’ll need to complete the Non-Resident Notary Public Application instead. Pay attention to the instructions on the first page as the application process is slightly different.

Step 5: Take Your Oath of Office

To complete your Illinois notary application, you’ll need to take your oath of office and get a current Illinois notary public to sign and stamp the “NOTARIAL OATH” section of your application.

Note: For any queries you may have about the notary process, be sure to check out the Illinois Notary Public Handbook or call (217) 782-7017 for clarification.

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.

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: Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include the mandatory training and exam, a surety bond, and four years of notary hotline phone support.

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Step 7: Submit Your Notary Application

Once you’ve completed all of the above steps, you’ll be ready to submit your notarized Illinois notary application to the Secretary of State.

If your application is approved it will be forwarded to your local county clerk, who will notify you of this progression. Upon receiving this notification, you have two options:

  • Appear at the county clerk’s office to receive the commission
  • Request to receive your notary certificate by mail (including an example of your signature)

You’ll have 30 days to respond to this before the county clerk will notify you they’ve received your notary public commission for the final time.

Congratulations! Now that you’ve obtained your Illinois notary commission certificate, you’re officially able to start acting as a notary. All that’s left to do is obtain your Illinois notary stamp and the rest of your supplies.

Note: You will need to include a $15 filing fee along with your application. This can be paid by check, money order, or card (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are accepted).

Step 8: Obtain Notary Supplies

Finally, you’ll need to acquire your notary public supplies.

These include your custom notary stamp or seal (used to affix to documents), as well as your public journal.

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

How to Become a Notary in Illinois FAQ

How much does it cost to be a notary public in Illinois?

There are very few mandatory costs associated with becoming a notary public in Illinois — outside of the $15 filing fee and the costs of your surety bond and Illinois notary supplies, there’s very little to speak of. However, this cost is likely to increase in the upcoming months as Illinois implements its examination requirement for notaries public and applicants begin to invest in education courses.

How long does it take to become a notary in IL?

The process to become an Illinois notary involves meeting the basic requirements, obtaining a surety bond, completing an application, and taking an oath of office. This process will typically take a few weeks to complete. For a more thorough look into the Illinois notary application process, see our article on How to Become a Notary in Illinois.

Is there a demand for notaries in Illinois?

Yes, there is a high demand for notaries in Illinois, just like the rest of the country, due to the crucial role they play in verifying the authenticity of documents, witnessing signatures, and preventing fraud. In fact, there is an ongoing need for qualified notaries in the state due to the number of industries that rely on their services, such as real estate, legal, financial, and business transactions.

What are the requirements for an Illinois notary?

All notaries public in Illinois must meet the Secretary of State’s basic requirements, which include being at least 18 years old, being a resident or employed in the state, and not ever having been convicted of a felony. Applicants that satisfy these requirements are then eligible to complete the rest of the application process, which we’ve detailed in our article on How to Become a Notary.

How long does an Illinois notary commission last?

An Illinois notary commission is valid for a period of four years. You can apply for reappointment before your commission expires to ensure you’re able to keep working as a notary public in the state. Ensuring you renew your commission in a timely manner (i.e., long before the deadline), is the best way to avoid disappointment.

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