Part A. Eligibility for Appointment
The California Secretary of State appoints notaries public in California. The California Secretary of State may appoint as many notaries public as necessary for the public convenience.
California Government Code section 8200 To be eligible for appointment, a person must:
Be at least 18 years of age;
Complete a course of study approved by the California Secretary of State;
Pass a written, proctored, closed-book examination; and
Pass a background check.
Section 1. Residence/Citizenship Requirement
Except for notaries public appointed to
serve on military and naval reservations, a notary public appointed in
California must be a resident of California at the time of appointment.
a notary public does not need to be a United States citizen; however,
California law requires that a notary public appointed to serve on a
military or naval reservation must be a United States citizen.
Section 2. Age Requirement
Section 3. Course of Study Requirement
An applicant for a notary public commission must satisfactorily complete a six-hour course of study that is approved by the California Secretary of State concerning the functions and duties of a notary public. California Government Code section 8201(a)(3)
Also, an applicant for a notary public commission who
(1) holds an active notary public commission and
(2) has satisfactorily completed a six-hour notary
public education course approved by the California Secretary of State
must satisfactorily complete a three-hour refresher course approved by
the California Secretary of State prior to reappointment as a notary
California Government Code section 8201(b)(2)
Notaries public who have satisfactorily
completed another six-hour course within two years of applying for
reappointment as a notary public have satisfied the three-hour refresher
Section 4. Examination Requirement
All applicants for appointment must pass
a written, proctored, closed-book examination prescribed by the
California Secretary of State.
Section 5. Background Check Requirement
All applicants must complete a
background check by submitting fingerprints to the California Department
of Justice within one year of satisfactorily completing the examination.
The Department of Justice will compare the applicant’s fingerprints and identity information with California conviction records. The Department of Justice will forward the applicant’s fingerprints and other identifying information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and both the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation will advise the California Secretary of State whether the applicant has a criminal history record anywhere in the United States. An applicant convicted of a disqualifying crime may be denied appointment. California Government Code section 8214.1(b)
A disqualifying crime is any
felony, or a lesser offense involving moral turpitude or of a nature
incompatible with the duties of a notary public.
For more information about disqualifying crimes, please review the Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines available on the California Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ca.gov/business/notary/.California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 20804
Section 6. Application
All applicants for appointment must complete the Notary Public Application form prescribed by the California Secretary of State each time they apply for a commission, whether they currently hold a commission as a notary public, a previous commission has expired or they are applying for the first time.
A Notary Public Application form and information regarding the appointment process can be found on the California Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ca.gov/business/notary/ .
The California Secretary of State must determine that an
applicant possesses the required honesty, credibility, truthfulness and
integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the office of notary
applicant must disclose any arrest for which trial is pending and any
conviction, whether or not the conviction may be a disqualifying
conviction, and regardless of where and when the conviction occurred,
including any convictions dismissed under California Penal Code sections
1203.4 or 1203.4a. Convictions and arrests for which a trial is pending
must be disclosed on every application submitted to the California
Secretary of State, even those convictions that were disclosed on a
previous application, and including convictions dismissed under
California Penal Code sections 1203.4 or 1203.4a. Failure to disclose
any conviction or arrest for which a trial is pending may be a
substantial and material misstatement or omission on the application and
grounds for denial of an application for appointment.
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