A notary public is a state-appointed government official with the authority to witness the signing of legal documents and administer oaths. A notary helps to prevent fraud by validating the identity of a signatory and confirms that a document is appropriately executed. Additionally, a notary authenticates that the person signing a document in the notary's presence is doing so of their own free will and has a thorough understanding of what they are signing.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Take the 3 hour notary public training course, which is required by the state of Florida. You can take the course from the Florida Department of State Web site or from the National Notary Association Web site (see Resources). You will then receive a certificate of completion.
Download both the notary public application form and the bonding form from the National Notary Association. Complete and mail these back to the National Notary Association along with a copy of the course certificate of completion. The National Notary Association will activate your bond and file it with the Florida Department of State.
Obtain your notary application, alternatively, from a bonding company. You can find a list of Florida bonding companies on the Florida Department of State Web site. Fill out the application and send it back to the bonding company along with a copy of the course certificate of completion. The bonding company will then activate your notary bond and file it with the Florida Department of State.
Obtain the necessary tools to conduct business as a notary public in Florida. An inkstamp is required, and a recordbook is recommended.
Tips & Warnings
- Even if you are not required to pass an exam, it's a good idea to take a course to gain a thorough, working knowledge of the obligations, rules of conduct and guidelines to being a notary public.
- There are several private companies that will take you through the entire process of becoming a notary in Florida for a fee.
- Obtain Notary Errors & Omissions Insurance to protect yourself from any lawsuits. The notary bond protects your client from any errors or negligence on your part. The Errors & Omissions Insurance protects you.
- You will be required to pay state application fees. Check with the National Notary Association or the Florida Department of State for more information.
- Your term of office in Florida is 4 years. Be sure to renew your commission before your term expires. A refresher course is not required for reappointment of your notary commission. You can renew your commission through a bonding agent. If your commission has expired, but you have taken the course, then send your course completion certificate along with your renewal application to a bonding agent. You can also renew your commission through the National Notary Association.
- You must be 18 years of age or older, a permanent resident of Florida and be conversant in English. If convicted of a felony, you must have your civil rights restored.