Notary Questions and Answers
Becoming a Florida Notary and acting as a Florida Notary is not difficult. In most cases you witness the signing of a documnet, apply your seal and you are done.
But if you have questions about becoming a notary, or performing your duties as a Notary, read below as we have attempted to answer the most common questions
What are the residency requirements to be a Florida Notary?
To be a Florida Notary you must be 18 years old and Florida Resident but there is no length of residency requirement.
Acceptable Proof of Residency include: Florida Drivers License, a Florida vehicle registration, a voter registration card, or a recorded Declaration of Domicile.
Qualification and Requirements for Florida Notaries
You may only be commissioned in your legal name (or a nickname of your legal name).
Example: John Quinton Public could be commissioned in the names:
John Quinton Public
John Q. Public
J. Quinton Public
J. Q. Public
You must sign notarial certificates in your commissioned name, and your notary seal must bear that name. No variation from the commissioned name is permitted.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must submit a recorded Declaration of Domicile. This affidavit is available at your county clerk's office.
If you were ever convicted of a felony charge, you must have your civil rights restored.
If ever convicted of a felony or if ever charged with a felony and adjudication was withheld on the charge or the sentence was suspended, you must submit several documents:
- a written statement regarding the nature and circumstances of the charges;
- a copy of the Judgment and Sentencing Order, or a comparable court document; and,
- if convicted, a copy of the Certificate of Restoration of Civil Rights (or pardon). The name of this document may vary depending on the state where the conviction occurred. This information is required for all felony convictions whether the charges were brought by the State of Florida, another state, or the United States. If adjudication was withheld and civil rights were not forfeited, the written statement and court documents are sufficient.
To obtain information about the restoration of civil rights, you may contact:
Office of Executive Clemency
2601 Blair Stone Road
Building C, Room 229
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2450
Note: Submission of all the required information does not guarantee appointment. Decisions are made on an individual basis.
- You must take the constitutional oath of office.
- You must swear or affirm that you have read the notary laws and will obey them.
- You must complete a three hour notary education course if you are a first time applicant. §668.50(b), Fla. Stat.
Florida Notary Jurisdiction
You may only perform your official duties within the geographical boundaries of Florida.
Florida Notaries are appointed with statewide jurisdiction; that is, you may perform your official duties anywhere within the state. You are not confined to the county in which you reside.
You should always indicate in the notarial certificate the location of the notarization, usually designated by State of Florida, County of .______________
Notaries from other states have no authority to notarize while in Florida.
If you are performing Notary duties on an airplane or a ship, check with the pilot or the ship’s captain to make sure that you are within the state boundaries.
Why does a Notary in Florida need a Bond, what is it for?
All notaries in Florida are required to obtain a Surety Bond of $7,500. And as a Notary you must maintain that bond throughout the term of your Notary appointment
A bond is insurance that protects the public for any mistakes, misconduct, or negligence performed by a Notary in the performance of their duty
What is a Notary Seal?
The official notary seal is the rubber stamp type seal with four elements:
- the words, “Notary Public-State of Florida”
- the notary’s exact commissioned name
- the notary’s commission number
- the notary’s commission expiration date
The name of the notary’s bonding company may be included on the seal but is not required.
The state does not furnish notary seals. You may purchase a seal from your bonding company or from a company that makes rubber stamps. Typically your bonding company provides the notary education required in Florida.
Some companies that produce notary seals include a symbol or emblem on the stamp, such as the Capitol dome, a flag, an eagle, etc., but this is optional. No emblem or symbol is required. Additionally, you may NOT use the Great Seal of the State of Florida on your notary seal.
You may sign notarial certificates with any color ink, but the notary seal must be affixed with black ink only.
You may use an impression seal (embosser) in addition to the rubber stamp seal, but not in place of it. If you choose to use an impression seal, your name should be correct and the seal should contain the words, “Notary Public-State of Florida”.
Before using your Florida notary seal, check the seal to ensure that all information is correct.
Keep your seal in a secure location to avoid its loss or misuse.
If your notary seal is lost, misplaced, or stolen, you are required to notify the Department of State (or the Governor’s Notary Section) in writing. You should include your commission name and number, date of birth, and the last date the seal was in your possession.
Additionally, if your seal was stolen, you should file a report with your local law enforcement agency.
What can you charge for your services as a Florida Notary?
The State of Florida authorizes notaries to charge up to $10 for each notarial act — administering an oath, taking an acknowledgment, attesting to a photocopy, verifying a VIN, or certifying the contents of a safe-deposit box.
Notaries may charge up to $20 to solemnize marriage (perform a marriage ceremony)