Notary Frequently Asked Questions

Four (4) years. You will receive a notice to renew at 3 1/2 years (6 months prior to your expiration).

 You can download the Notary Public Handbook (updated yearly), on the Secretary of State website here:

Yes! This class is designed to be a “one stop shop”. We have packages that you can order (for a fee) that include supplies such as journal, bond, Errors and Ommissions and seal. The price range for the packages of supplies ranges from $25 to $400, depending on what you want to purchase. You can go and look in the store at . However, please take note that you do get a class discount, so these prices on the website are on the higher end.

A good rule of thumb is 6 months. So if you take the Renewing Your Notary class on January 1 and submit the paperwork that day, pass the test and do your live scans you will receive your new commission 30 days prior to your old commission expiring.

The state will send you your renewal 30 days prior to the date your current commission expires. You will receive a new commission number and you will need to get a new seal and new bond.

 Unfortunately, the proctors of the exam do require the original certificate in order to allow you to take the exam. Please wait until you have received the original to take the exam.

It is up to you. Taking your fingerprints at the class does two things. 1.) It is convenient. The Notary instructor will have the proper forms with their information and everything right there at class, making it a “one stop shop”. And 2.) It takes about 2 weeks off the process time to send the fingerprints in at the class versus going to a Sheriff or other office after the class and submitting it that way.

Yes. Come to the class at lunch break or the afternoon break at 2:45 to take care of this. If you come after 3:00, the trainer may have packed everything up since she has to be gone by the time the proctor arrives at 4:00.

Yes. As long as you took the full course within the past 24 months, you may sign up for just the exam itself. You can test once a calendar month till you pass.

No. As long as you got your fingerprints (to become a notary) done within the past 12 months, you don’t have to re-do them. State agencies do not share live scan fingerprints.

$20. You will receive a “re-take voucher” with your fail notice. However, please note that you cannot take the test more than once in the same calendar month.

Your commission is valid anywhere in California.

You don’t have to be a citizen of the US in order to become a notary, but you do have to be a resident of California.