How to Become a Notary in Virginia

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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How to Become a Notary in Virginia

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 Virginia, 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 Virginia

There are a few simple steps to complete in order to get started as a notary in Virginia.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirements

To be able to apply for a Virginia Notary Public Commission, you must be:

  • At least eighteen years old
  • Able to read and write the English language
  • A legal resident of the United States and of the state of Virginia
  • Free of any felony convictions under the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or the laws of any other state

Note: Non-residents of Virginia can still be granted notary commission if they’re regularly employed in the state and undertake notary duties in relation to this position. However, they will have to surrender their commission if their regular employment ceases.

Step 2: Complete the Application Form

The next step involves filling out your Virginia notary application, which can be done using the online Notary Application Wizard.

Make sure to have the following pieces of information on hand, as it will make this step significantly quicker and easier:

  • Your home phone number
  • The court where you want to take the oath
  • Your employer’s name, work phone, and address

Once you’ve paid the $45 application fee (which can be done online, by check, or by money order), you’ll receive an invoice number matching your application’s barcode number. Make sure to keep this safe.

Step 3: Notarize Your Application Form

Print off a physical copy of your completed application form from your notary management account and double-check that the barcode number on this form matches the invoice number you received before.

You then need to get your signature on part three of the application notarized. Make sure to bring some form of official identification (such as your driver’s license or passport) with you in order to prove your identity to the notary.

Step 4: 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 at this stage.

This type of insurance provides coverage from any liability that may arise as a result of a negligent notarial act. This is 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: Mail Your Notarized Application Form

Once the notary has stamped the application form, you can mail it alongside your payment receipt (or check/money order) to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Submit notary applications to the address below:

Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
P.O. Box 1795
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1795

Step 6: Equip Yourself With the Necessary Supplies

Once your Virginia notary commission is approved, you will need to set yourself up with the necessary notary supplies. These include a notary seal or stamp and a Virginia notary record book.

The seal is used to authenticate your physical and electronic notarial acts, and the record book is for keeping records while you perform notary services.

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Step 7: Take an Oath of Office

After mailing your application to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, both you and the clerk of the Circuit Court you chose will be notified within two to three weeks (assuming you get approved).

If this is the case, you will need to contact the Circuit Court within 60 days in order to take your oath of office and pay the $10 fee.

As soon as you receive your commission certificate, you’re qualified to operate as a notary within Virginia.

Step 8: Purchase a Course (Optional)

Even though this last step is not a legal requirement, you should note that several Virginia 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 Virginia notaries fully understand the notary laws of the state, as well as 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 notary 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 notary regulations and practices

So, while it’s not mandatory in Virginia, 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 Virginia FAQ

How much does it cost to be a notary in Virginia?

In terms of the application process alone, it should cost $55 to become a Virginia notary. This includes the $45 application fee, and a $10 fee when you contact the Circuit Court. However, additional costs such as obtaining your Virginia notary supplies (stamps, seals, and a record book) and CE courses before each commission expiration date can further increase this figure. Note: If you want to operate as an electronic notary, you will also need to purchase an electronic notary seal.

How do I start out as a notary in Virginia?

Starting as a notary in Virginia requires several steps. First, you need to ensure you meet all eligibility criteria, such as being at least 18 years old and being able to read and write in English. Next, complete the application form available on the Virginia Secretary of State’s website and pay the required fee. To find out more, see our How to Become a Notary in Virginia article.

How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Virginia?

The duration can vary, but it typically takes several weeks after your application is received for you to hear back from the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The total time will vary depending on how quickly you complete the steps up until this point. For more information see our article on How to Become a Notary.

Who can become a notary in Virginia?

In Virginia, any legal resident 18 years or older who can read and write English is eligible to apply to become a notary. They must also be of good moral character, have no felony convictions, and have no revocations or suspensions of a notary commission during the past five years.

Do I need insurance or a surety bond for a notary commission?

Virginia law doesn’t require notaries to carry insurance or a surety bond for their notary commission. However, many notaries choose to carry Errors and Omissions insurance as a form of personal and professional protection. A surety bond is typically required in some states to protect the public from mistakes made by a notary, but this is not a requirement in Virginia.

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