Washington 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 state of Washington.

 

Washington Notary Public: a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities such as: certifying or attesting copies, protesting negotiable instruments, certifying an event or act have happened, witnessing a signature, acknowledgements, oaths and affirmations. A notary can also be referred to as a signing agent.

How do I become a notary in Washington?

You must complete the Notary Public Appointment Application, obtain a surety bond of $10,000 and submit these to the Department of Licensing with a fee of $30.

Who can become a notary in Washington?

  • Must be age 18 or older
  • Must be a legal resident of Washington or residing in Idaho or Oregon, but working regular in Washington
  • Must be endorsed by three Washington residents that are registered to vote and unrelated to you Must be capable of reading and writing in English

Where can I practice my notary services?

Anywhere in the state of Washington.

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 Washington does not have any laws that say you need to take a course and exam to be a notary. However, you are encouraged to complete some type of training in order to clearly know the laws and responsibilities that come with being a notary.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

You need to obtain a $10,000 surety bond. Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) is optional, but recommended for your protection against any claims of negligence or damages that result from misconduct.

What are the upfront costs?

  • The application filing fee is $30
  • The price of courses and learning materials varies by vendor
  • The price of the bonds and insurance will vary depending on the vendor
  • Prices on Notary Supplies may vary (Notary seal stamps and embossers)

What type of equipment will I need?

  • Notary Seal Stamp or Embosser

Your notary seal will contain the following information: Name, Notary Public, State of Washington and Commission Expiration Date. If you choose to use an embosser, you will need to use seal impression inker to make the embossing visible when reproduced.

  • Notary Records Journal

This is not mandatory, but it allows you to keep all notarial acts in chronological order with numbered paged and a glossary of terms and procedures.

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.

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 Washington notary commission is effective for four years before needing to be renewed.