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November 2, 2013

Qualifications for Becoming a FL Notary

Qualifications for Becoming a FL Notary

Florida notaries are held in incredibly high esteem. They are, after all, officers of the court. They’re tasked with an incredibly important job and given the utmost trust by people with considerable amounts of power.

It’s easy to assume, given this information, that a person would need extensive schooling and training to become a notary in Florida. Surely, someone with that much power and who is held in such high regard must have had to jump through a bunch of hoops to reach that goal, right?

The truth is that there aren’t a lot of strict or lofty qualifications for Florida notaries or notaries from most other states. You’d think there would be, but in pretty much every state, the qualifications are the same:

You have to be a US citizen

You have to be at least a certain age or older

You have to take a class

You have to get bonded by the state

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. For instance, Florida is one of only three states that allow its notaries to marry people. It is also the only state in which someone cannot obtain a commission directly through the office of the Secretary of State (Florida notaries need to go through a bonded third party).

So, if you want to become a notary in Florida, what are the qualifications you have to meet?

You have to be at least 18 years old.

You must be a legal resident of Florida.

You must be willing to commit to maintaining your Florida residency for the duration of your Florida notary commission (four years).

You have to fill out an application packet (either DS-DE 76 OR DS-DE 77).

You have to pay a $39 fee (and the fees associated with the bonding company, insurance, and your Florida notary commission seal).

You must complete at least three hours of training or instruction and provide proof of that training. That training cannot be more than a year old at the time of your application. (You only have to do this the first time you apply to become a notary in Florida.)

Ta-da! That’s it!

The truth is that becoming a notary in Florida is almost ridiculously easy. Notaries are always in demand and so most states make getting your commission as easy as possible.

Don’t think, though, that just because it’s easy to become a notary, being a notary is easy. Remember, as a notary you are an officer of the courts and you are held to a higher standard than the average person walking down the street. There are steep penalties for breaking or even bending the rules associated with notary commissions. So, before you jump into the pool, make sure you’re ready for that kind of commitment.

Erin Steiner, a former Oregon notary public, is a freelance writer from Portland. She covers all sorts of topics from profiles of professional people like Rob Law to pop culture op-eds.


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