How to Become a Notary in South Carolina

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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How to Become a Notary in South Carolina

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 South Carolina, we lay out the roadmap to achieving this goal. With easy-to-follow, actionable steps, we’ll help you navigate this intriguing process.

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 South Carolina

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

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirements

You must meet the following basic requirements in order to be eligible to apply for a notary commission in South Carolina:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of South Carolina
  • Be a registered voter in South Carolina
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Not be declared mentally incompetent by court order
  • Not be imprisoned after being convicted of a crime
  • Never have been convicted of a felony against election laws (unless you’ve served your complete sentence or received a pardon)

Note: If you do not know your voter registration number, contact your County Voter Registration and Election Commission for this information. Alternatively, you can visit the South Carolina Election Commission website.

Step 2: Complete the Application Form

Once you’ve confirmed that you satisfy all of the basic requirements outlined above, it’s time to get started on the notary public application.

To do so, you MUST complete the paper Notary Public Application and mail both pages (plus $25.00 payable to “SC Secretary of State”) to your county delegation office. You can find the required address at the end of the application.

Your county delegation will then complete the bottom portion of the application and forward your application and money to the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office.

Note: If your county does not have a delegation office, you can also mail your completed application form to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Step 3: Buy Your Notary Seal

All South Carolina notaries public need a seal of office to stamp all notarial acts. This stamp or seal must contain your name, and the terms “notary public” and “State of South Carolina.” Including the expiration date is optional.

For your notary seal, you are allowed to use either an embosser seal or a rubber stamp. Both of these can be found in any standard office supply store.

It’s worth noting that rubber stamps appear more easily when scanned, so if you will be doing this a lot, a rubber stamp may be preferable.

Note: If you want to become an electronic notary (i.e., perform notarizations remotely), you may also be required to acquire additional supplies in addition to your electronic notarial certificate.

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Step 4: Protect Yourself With Errors and Omissions Insurance

While not required by state 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.

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Step 5: Equip Yourself With the Necessary Supplies

Once your notary commission is approved, get yourself set up with the necessary supplies. You should have already acquired your notary stamp or seal by this point, though it is also highly recommended to obtain a South Carolina notary record book too.

The seal is used to authenticate each notarial act, and the record book is for logging all the notarial services you provide.

Note: If you want to become an electronic notary (i.e., perform notarizations remotely), you may also be required to acquire additional supplies in addition to your electronic notarial certificate.

Step 6: Purchase a Course (Optional)

Even though this last step is not a legal requirement, you should note that several South Carolina notary applicants choose to invest in a notary course. This is because it can offer several benefits, such as:

  • Understanding the law: Notary laws can be complex and vary from state to state. A course can help ensure that notaries fully understand South Carolina’s notary laws and how to apply them correctly
  • Professional development: A course can enhance professional skills, making a notary more effective and competent in their role
  • Reducing liability: By better understanding the rules and best practices, notaries can reduce the risk of making errors that could result in legal action
  • Increased confidence: A course can boost a notary’s confidence by giving them a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise to draw from
  • Staying updated: Laws and procedures change over time. A course can help notaries stay current with any changes in relevant regulations and practices (e.g., legal fees)

So, while it’s not mandatory in South Carolina, many aspiring notaries find value in such courses. It’s a personal decision based on individual comfort and professional goals.

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How to Become a Notary in South Carolina FAQ

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

The cost to become a notary in South Carolina can vary, but will generally fall between $75 and $200 dollars in total. This includes a $25 application fee in addition to the costs of your notary journal, stamp, and any training or education you choose to undertake.

How long does it take to get a notary commission in South Carolina?

The time it takes to get a notary commission in South Carolina can vary depending on several factors, including the time it takes for the state to process your application. Generally, it can take anywhere from two weeks to over a month — this includes the time it takes for the application to be filled out, submitted, and for the commission to be issued.

How to become a notary public in South Carolina?

Assuming you meet South Carolina’s basic requirements all that’s left to do is submit a completed application form to your county delegation, who will forward it to the Secretary of State for processing. Note that this is distinct from the process to become a notary signing agent. To find out more about this process, see our article on How to Become a Notary in South Carolina.

What disqualifies you from becoming a notary in South Carolina?

Several factors could disqualify you from becoming a notary in South Carolina. These include not being at least 18 years old, not being a US citizen or legal permanent resident, not being a resident of South Carolina, having been convicted of a felony, or having had a commission revoked in the past. We explore this topic in more depth in our article on How to Become a Notary.

How long is a notary commission in South Carolina?

A South Carolina notary commission is valid for 10 years. If you wish to continue to offer notary services after your commission expiration date, you must renew your commission by completing the application process again, which includes paying the application fee and meeting all other requirements in place at the time of renewal.

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