To become a notary in Illinois, you must be at least 18 years old, you must be able to read and write English, and must not have beenconvicted of a felony. You must also be a resident of the state for at least 30 days. Apparently, if you work in Illinois and are an out-of-state resident, you may be appointed for a term of one year, but this possibility may be granted only by contacting the Illinois Secretary of State Index Department. If you are a resident of Illinois, your commission will be for four years.
Illinois notaries are appointed by the Index Department ofthe Illinois Secretary of State. The filing fee to become a notary in Illinois is $10. There is also a fee due to the Clerk of the county in which the notary resides– $5 if you appear in person, but you may record your appointment with the county clerk by mail for $10. The Illinois notary application is available online but cannot be submitted electronically as it can in some states; it must be mailed. The Illinois Notary Handbook is available online.
A surety bond of $5000 is required, but there is noeducation requirement and no exam. As an Illinois notary, you are required to have a seal in the form of a rubber stamp, and the required ink color is black. Your seal must contain your name and the date your commission expires,but it is optional whether the seal includes the name of the county or not. A record book is not required but is recommended.
The fee a notary may take for an Illinois acknowledgment, jurat, or oath of affirmation is $1. An Illinois notary is allowed to charge for travel—if a client is willing to pay for it. Also, most documents you notarize will not require what is called a Certificate of Authority, but some court documents may, and each costs $2. These certificates are available from the county clerk where you obtained your Illinois notary commission, but may be purchased directly by the signer or client. Save yourself $2.
An Illinois notary tells us this story about how her journal saved a man’s home. One day, an attorney called this Illinois notary regarding a notarization she had made years before. It seems that the attorney had a client whose property address appeared on someone else’s deed, and the bank wanted to take his house! The attorney told her, “I need to know how many pages were in the deed of trust you notarized. The bank wants to take this other man’s property.”
This notary was meticulous about her Illinois notary journal, and immediately saw she had recorded that the deed of trust was 12 pages long. “Are you sure?” asked the attorney. “Positive,” replied the notary. “On this particular loan, for every single page that needed a notarization, I had to supply my own Illinois acknowledgment. There was no Illinois acknowledgment form that came with the package. I recorded all this in my journal.” The attorney then said, “Well, there are 13 pages in this deed of trust…but the address on the 13th page is different than on the rest of the documents.” They were able to establish that the 13th page was not part of that deed of trust, but was an “exhibit,” and that the exhibit that was supposedly part of the legal property description was clearly from another property: the 13th page was NOT a notarized document!
This saved the man’s house; the bank was able to take only the property noted in the 12 notarized pages! After the attorney had requested the evidence in writing and the notary had provided the evidence from her Illinois notary journal, the attorney said, “I owe you a box of chocolates!” And sure enough, a week later, this notary received in the mail a 5 lb. assortment of chocolates. From then on, she has always used a chocolate-colored Illinois notary journal.
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Can an Illinois notary notarize a document in Wisconsin?
The answer is simply — NO! A notary public can notarize signatures in their state ONLY. Make sure both of your feet are on the soil of the state that you are commissioned in when you notarize documents. You can meet people right at the border if they are out of state, but make sure that you and the signer are on your side of the border. Imagine doing a signing at four corners in the Southwest! You could be in four states simultaneously and eat fry-bread too!
Notary Public Illinois –
If you are an Illinois notary public, please keep your notarizations to Illinois only. However, the Wisconsin notary division might allow you to apply to become a Wisconsin notary public. If you have a dual commission, then you can use your Wisconsin notary seal and Wisconsin notary journal to notarize documents on the WI side of the border and you will be within the limits of the law.
What about Louisiana Notary Law?
Louisiana is a very strange state. It has kept the laws from the colonial days when it was under Spanish and French rules. The laws are as ecclectic as the evolution of their cuisine that kept adding influences from immigrant cultures for hundreds of years. Someone could do a PhD on the evolution of Gumbo and how it went from being African, to having Spanish and Italian influences, and then how people like to use French Anduille sausange to this dish now. Wow! I’m getting hungry thinking about Louisiana. But, the bottom line is that Louisiana has PARISHES, not counties, and notaries can be commissioned in their home parish, or a group of a few reciprocal parishes, or have statewide jurisdiction. This is the only state I have heard of that has restrictions for what part of the state you can notarize in. See our Louisiana notary public search page!
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New laws for Notaries in Illinois
(1) An Illinois notary public who notarizes a document of conveyance of qualifying residential real estate in Cook county will be required to create a Notarial Record and take a THUMBPRINT of the seller and provide for record keeping of the notary record to all responsible parties.
(2) Identification documents must be current / valid at the time of the notarial act and must be issued by a state or federal government agency and must have a picture of the person’s face, plus a signature of the individual.
(3) An Illinois notary public who is a principal, employee, or agent of a title insurance company, title insurance agent, financial institution or attorney must deliver the notarial record within 14 days to their employer who must keep the record for seven years. (this is an unusual sounding rule)
(4) An Illinois notary public who is NOT an employee or agent of a title insurance company, title insurance agent, financial instritution, or attorney must submit the notarial record within 14 days to the Cook county recorder of deeds office.
(5) The notarial record must be kept confidential and may only be disclosed by subpoena. Further, the notarial record is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
(6) Thumbprints. An Illinois notary public shall require the signer of a document of conveyance, or sale of property (deeds effecting real property) to have their right thumb printed in the notary record (journal)
(7) The Illinois notary division gives a definition that residential real property means a building or buildings located in Cook County, IL that has one to four dwelling units or an individual residential condominium unit.
(8) An IL notary public may only perform notary acts if they live in the same county they were commissioned in– unless they reside in a state bordering Illinois and have a work address within that county.
Sec. 3‑105. Authority. A notary public shall have authority to perform notarial acts throughout the State so long as the notary resides in the same county in which the notary was commissioned or, if the notary is a resident of a state bordering Illinois, so long as the notary’s principal place of work or principal place of business is in the same county in Illinois in which the notary was commissioned.
(9) Moving causes your IL notary commission to be nullified
Sec. 4‑101. Changes causing commission to cease to be in effect. When any notary public legally changes his or her name or moves from the county in which he or she was commissioned or, if the notary public is a resident of a state bordering Illinois, no longer maintains a principal place of work or principal place of business in the same county in Illinois in which he or she was commissioned, the commission ceases to be in effect and should be returned to the Secretary of State. These individuals who desire to again become a notary public must file a new application, bond, and oath with the Secretary of State.