How to Become a Notary in West Virginia

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

How to Become a Notary in West Virginia

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 West 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.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include all state-required items like your official Notary Seal Stamp, as well as five years of notary hotline phone support.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($75)

How to Become a Notary in West Virginia

In order to become a notary in West Virginia, there are a few simple steps you’ll need to complete.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirements

All notary applicants must meet the following basic requirements in order to be considered:

  • Be at least eighteen years of age
  • Be a citizen or permanently reside in the US
  • Be a West Virginia resident of or have a place of employment in the state
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Not be disqualified under WV Code §39-4-21

Note: If you are a nonresident notary applicant, you will still be able to apply as long as you are an employee of a business whose domicile or primary place of business is in West Virginia.

Step 2: Read the West Virginia Notary Public Law 

Before starting your Notary Commission Application through the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website, you will need to review the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.

Not only is this a great way to get to grips with your authority and responsibilities as a notary, it is a legal requirement in order to continue with the requirement.

Moreover, when you take your oath of office later, you will be agreeing that you have read and understand the West Virginia code.

Note: You can contact the Notary Division if you require any further assistance with the notary public commission.

Step 3: Complete the Online Application

Once you’ve ensured that you meet these eligibility criteria, the next step is to complete the application online using the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

After logging in, choose the appropriate form number and download the application to get started.

There are several caveats to this process you should be aware of:

  • If you want to be able to perform acts of electronic notarization, you’ll need to submit the E-Notarization Authorization Application in addition to the standard application
  • If you’re planning on applying to become a local government or state notary public, you will need to include a letter from your supervisor advocating for your appointment
  • If you’re applying for re-commission because your current commission ends on or after June 2018, you’ll need to use the updated “Rev. 6/2018” notary application

Note: Completing the online application requires you to pay a $52 filing fee.

Step 3: Protect Yourself with Errors and Omissions Insurance

While not required by law, it’s a good idea at this stage 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 Course

Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include all state-required items like your official Notary Seal Stamp, as well as five years of notary hotline phone support.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($75)

Step 4: Receive your Commission Letter

Once your application has been processed, you should shortly receive your commission letter information on what you will need for your notary seal.

Before continuing, quickly double-check that the name and address on your commission letter are correct and identical to how they appear on your Official Seal.

If there are any mistakes that need to be corrected, contact the Notary Division at (304) 558-8000.

Note: We’ve included an example of a notary public commission letter here from the Secretary of State website to give you an idea of what you can expect.

Step 5: Buy Your Official Notary Seal

Once you’ve confirmed that the information contained within your commission letter is correct, you’ll need to order your rubber stamp seal.

The seal is used to authenticate your notarial acts, and the record book is for logging all the notary services you provide (e.g., tangible or electronic records, etc.).

Try searching online for “Rubber Stamps” and choose a manufacturer that produces official seals. Relay the information from your commission letter onto this manufacturer to ensure your stamp meets state requirements.

Note: To find out more about the state specifications for a West Virginia notary stamp, we recommend having a look at the SOS’s website.

Step 6: Receive Your Commission Certificate

Soon after, you should receive your commission certificate; this will be valid for the next five years.

Once you’ve received this certificate, you’ll finally be able to begin notarizing documents.

Note: Buying a notary journal, while not mandatory, is highly recommended and can make your life far easier.

Step 7: Receive Your Commission Certificate

Soon after, you should receive your commission certificate; this will be valid for the next five years.

Once you’ve received this certificate, you’ll finally be able to begin notarizing documents.

Note: Buying a notary journal, while not mandatory, is highly recommended and can make your life far easier.

Step 8: Purchase a Course (Optional)

Even though this last step is not a legal requirement, you should note that several West 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 notaries fully understand West Virginia 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 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 West Virginia, many aspiring notaries find value in such courses. It’s a personal decision based on individual comfort and professional goals.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include all state-required items like your official Notary Seal Stamp, as well as five years of notary hotline phone support.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($75)

How to Become a Notary in West Virginia FAQ

How do I become a mobile notary in WV?

To become a mobile notary in West Virginia, you would first have to meet the standard requirements for becoming a notary in the state. These typically include being at least 18 years old, having no felony convictions, and being a legal resident of the U.S. Once you’re commissioned as a notary, you can then choose to operate as a mobile notary, which means you travel to your clients instead of them coming to you.

Does WV allow online notaries?

Yes. Since June 2021, West Virginia notaries have been able to perform remote online notarization (RON). Having said that, it is important to understand that acting as an electronic notary will not be permitted in all situations. When it is allowed, remote notarization will need to be performed via video conference.

What is the hardest state to become a notary?

The difficulty of becoming a notary varies from state to state due to differing regulations. For example, California is often considered one of the more challenging states because it requires passing a state-proctored exam and completing mandatory education courses. To ensure your success regardless of your state, check out our article on How to Become a Notary.

How long does a WV commission last?

In West Virginia, a notary commission lasts for a period of five years. After this time, you will need to renew your commission if you want to continue your service as a notary. The process is similar, though not identical to the initial application. See the West Virginia Secretary of State website for more information.

Do I need to take an exam to become a notary in WV?

West Virginia notaries public are not required to sit an exam in order to get commissioned. However, you will need to meet the state’s basic requirements and submit an application with the required fee. For a more in-depth look into the notary commission requirements in West Virginia, see our article on How to Become a Notary in West Virginia.

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