West Virginia 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 West Virginia.

 

West Virginia Notary Public: a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities such as: witness signatures, protest instruments, certify copies, take acknowledgements and administer oaths and affirmations. A notary can also be referred to as a signing agent.

How can I become a notary in West Virginia?

You need to read the West Virginia Code 39-4 "Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts" and sign an oath for verification that you have read the laws and are knowledgeable and understanding of the notary laws. Then you must complete the Notary Application and get it notarized before you can submit it to the Secretary of State along with a $1,000 surety bond, a $52 filing fee.

If you are applying to be a state or local government notary, you can get the filing fee waived with a letter of request from your supervisor. This letter needs to be included in your application. This exemption is not applicable to federal employees.

Who can become a notary in West Virginia?

  • Must be age 18 or older
  • Must be a U.S. citizen who legally resides or has permanent employment in West Virginia
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Must be capable of reading and writing in English

Where can I practice my notary services?

Anywhere in the state of West Virginia.

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 West Virginia does not require an exam or course. The only material you will need to read is the notary laws that are stated in the West Virginia Code.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

You need to obtain a $1,000 surety bond to be approved as a West Virginia notary. 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 $52
  • 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

Your notary seal pre-inked or self-inking stamp will have the following text: Official Seal, State of West Virginia, Notary Public, Name, Address, Commission Expiration Date and the image of the State of West Virginia Montani Semper Liberi state seal. The stamp should be no larger than 1" x 2 1/2" in size with a serrated border.

  • Notary Records Journal

This is not mandatory, but strongly recommended because 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 term of a notary commission in West Virginia is five years. You must submit a renewal application two weeks before your commission expires. You cannot file more than 60 days in advance.