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District of Columbia Notary Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a new notary public? This is a list of our most frequently asked questions about becoming a notary
and what supplies you will need in the District of Columbia.


District of Columbia Notary Public: a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities such as: acknowledgements, oaths, affirmations, jurats, take depositions, issue subpoenas fro civil actions and probate proceedings, copy certification of certain documents and execute protests. A notary can also be referred to as a signing agent. The Notary Public Handbook is a great reference guide.

See our How to Become a Notary Infographic for an easy breakdown of the steps you will need to take.

How do I become a notary in the District of Columbia?

You must complete a Notary Public Application. Once that has been filled in, you can submit the form to the Secretary of the District of Columbia Notary Commission and Authentication section. In addition to the form, you must include the $75 filing fee and a copy of your $2,000 bond.

Who can become a notary in the District of Columbia?

  • Must be at least age 18
  • Must be a resident of the District of Columbia or work solely in DC

Where can I practice my notary services?

Anywhere in the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for any member of the public who makes a sensible request and meets all the requirements for notarization. For Example: Must have proof of identity and be physically present.

What kind of training do I need?

The District of Columbia requires an oral examination for proof that you are knowledgeable on the powers, duties and liabilities that come with being a notary. Those who are renewing their notary public appointment do not need to take this test unless their commission has been expires for more than one year. You can use the Notary Public Handbook as a reference or take a training course on your own.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

A bond of $2,000 is a requirement for notaries in the District of Columbia. Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) is optional, but it is recommended for your own protection.

What are the upfront costs?

  • Filing fee to process your application is $75
  • Bond prices vary based on vendor
  • Prices on Notary Supplies may vary (Notary seal stamps and embossers)

What type of equipment will I need?

  • Notary Seal Embosser

It is a requirement to use an embosser in the District of Columbia. Your notary seal must contain a circular border with the following text inside, Name, Notary Public, District of Columbia and Commission Expiration Date. Seal Impression Inker is required in addition to your embosser because it makes your raised impressions suitable for photocopying.

  • Jurat Stamp

The Jurat Stamp makes it easy to perform this type of notarization because it provides the exact wording for this type of act. Notary Public Sign Every notary public must display a Notary Public Sign. Government notaries are exempt from this requirement.

  • Notary Records Journal

You are required to keep all notarial acts recorded in a bound journal for your own protection because it keeps your notarization organized and makes it harder for pages to be misplaced or removed.

Should I get business cards or marketing materials?

Although not a requirement, if you believe it is helpful for your business to have these, then it is a good idea. If you work for a company as a notary singing agent, then discuss with them if this would be necessary.

Is there legal risk?

Yes, being a notary grants you certain permissions and responsibilities and there is the need for insurance which was noted earlier.

How much legal risk will I face?

Risk should be assessed on a case by case basis, but being a notary signing agent comes with the responsibility of fully understanding the risks involved. Having E&O Insurance can potentially reduce your exposure to risk.

How long does my commission last?

A notary term in the District of Columbia is five years.