notary questions

7 Frequently Asked Notary Questions


So you've decided that you want to become a notary public -- that's great! As you go through the process, you may find that you have some notary questions about some of the steps you need to take as well as some of the paperwork you have to do. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions that the California Secretary of State receives about the process of becoming a notary.

When can I expect to receive my test score?

Within 15 days from the completion of your exam, you should receive your score either via email (if you provided it) or United States Postal Service. If it has been more than 20 days, and you have not received your results, you can call CPS HR Consulting at (916) 263-3520.

I need to have my fingerprints taken, where can I find Live Scan locations?

You can find all of the locations on this website. You will need the Request for Live Scan Service form, and you can find that here. If you would like all of your information that is shown at the top of your request form to be auto-filled onto the form, just download it and open it back up in Adobe, or any other PDF viewing program. (Please note - opening it up in a browser will not auto-fill your information.)

Can I still become a notary if I have prior convictions on my record?

It depends on the convictions. For more details about which ones can prevent you from gaining your notary commission, please view these Disciplinary Guidelines.

What if my address changes?

You have 30 days to send, by certified mail, the updated address in a letter to the Secretary of State. You can send a Change of Address form in place of the letter if you so choose. If your business address is the one that is changing, be sure to include your business name in your letter (or on your form as the case my be). If you are concerned because your business address is moving to a different county, don't be -- your commission allows you to notarize anywhere in the state of California.

What if I have a name change?

First, you will need to fill out and file a Name Change Application. Once accepted, you will receive an amended commission with the updated name reflected. After this, you will have up to 30 days from the date the amended commission was issued to file, with the county clerk, a new oath of office and an amendment to your bond. You also have 30 days from the date of filing to obtain a new seal. Once you have your amended commission, you can no longer use anything (ie, your original seal) that relates to your previous name.

The expiration date of my current commission is coming up, and I have already submitted my application for a new commission. When can I expect my updated commission to arrive?

Given that all of your application requirements have been met, you should receive your new commission 30 days before the expiration date of your current commission.

What happens if my stamp, or my journal, gets lost?

Send a letter, via certified mail, to the Secretary of State explaining the situation. If you have a police report, include a copy of that with your letter. According to the Secretary of State's notary questions website, you should include the following information in your letter:

"...your typed or printed name, notary public commission number, and your signature. If your journal was lost, include the time period of the journal entries and the expiration date of your commission in the letter."

Becoming a notary public is a big responsibility, and an exciting opportunity. If you find that you still have some unanswered questions about being a notary, or about the process involved, please let us know. We will gladly talk with you about course requirements, educational costs, and any other information about our notary classes that you would like to know.

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