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Illinois Notary Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a new notary public? This is a list of our most frequently asked questions about how to become a notary in Illinois
and what supplies you will need in your state.


Illinois Notary Public: a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities such as taking acknowledgements, administering and verifying oaths or affirmations and witnessing signatures. A notary can also be referred to as a signing agent.

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

Where can I register/apply?

All Illinois notary applications must come with a legible photocopy of your drivers license or state ID card. Failure to provide a legible copy will result in rejection of your application.

In State Application

Out of State Application

Check List for the Out of State Application

Why become a notary in Illinois?

  • Makes additional income
  • Increases your skill-set and looks good on a resume
  • If working alone, you can make your own schedule
  • Easy and effective way to help out the community

Most common types of notarization.

  • Acknowledgements
  • Jurats
  • Oaths/Affirmations
  • Copy Certification
  • Signature Witnessing

Who can become a notary in Illinois?

  • Anyone 18 or older
  • Legal resident of Illinois for the last 30 days preceding the application process
  • U.S. citizenship is not required, but you must fill out applicable forms
  • If you are a business owner, you must have maintained business in the state for at least 30 days preceding the Illinois notary application process
  • Out of state applications are accepted, but treated differently. Must reside in a bordering state which mainly applies to people who work in Illinois, but don't reside there
  • Must never have been convicted of a felony or had your commission revoked in the past 10 years

Where can I practice my notary services?

Anywhere in the state of Illinois.

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 state of Illinois does NOT require any formal notary training.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

Illinois requires all new notaries to have a surety bond of at least $5,000 prior to applying. Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) is NOT required, but it is recommended.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

A surety bond is a promise to pay anyone harmed if you fail to honestly, diligently and faithfully discharge your responsibilities as a Notary. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover a signer’s losses and you must pay back the surety company. The surety company may also require you to repay any costs the company incurs in defending the bond. A surety bond does NOT provide insurance coverage for you.

Illinois requires this to thwart any fraudulent activity that occurs with the notary at fault. This is designed to protect potential victims.

What are the upfront costs?

  • The Illinois notary application fee is $10 and must be submitted with the application
  • The price of a surety bond is $30 and can be purchased from Notary Rotary
  • Clerical filing fees will vary depending on the source and location
  • Training materials are optional, but range from $15 to $60 Prices on
  • Notary Supplies may vary (Notary seal stamps and professional kits)

What type of equipment will I need?

  • Rubber Notary Stamp

Stamp must have ink that does not bleed during or after use because documents can be rejected due to smudging. Illinois requires the stamp to be rectangle with a border and have the following text: Official Seal, Name, Notary Public, State of Illinois and your Commission Expiration Date.

  • Notary Records Journal

Journal of notarial acts must be listed in chronological order in a paper format. Though not required by the state, it is highly suggested that you use a bound journal for your own protection because it 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, since being a notary grants you certain permissions and responsibilities, there is also 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?

The commission of a notary public in Illinois lasts for a four year term, but it can be renewed. Out of state commission only lasts for one year.

Here is a list of prohibited acts that a notary should not engage in:

  • Perform a notarial act if the notary is a signer or named in the document to be notarized
  • Select notarial certificates
  • Make representations to have powers, qualifications, rights or privileges that the notary does not have
  • You do not have the power to counsel on legal matters
  • Overcharge for notary services
  • Engage in the unauthorized practice of law
  • Notarize his or her own signature
  • Notarize the signatures of his or her relatives
  • Notarize a document if her or she is a party to the document
  • Act as a witness to and notarize the same instrument