Notary Public Information
Over 45,000 eligible residents or employees in West Virginia currently hold notary public commissions. The Secretary of State administers the application process, and the Governor issues notary public commissions for a term of ten years.
The authority of a notary public is generally limited to acknowledging the signature of a person on a document or to an oath signed within the state. The role of the notary is to assure that the signature on a document is the true signature of the person he or she claims to be. A notary can be held financially responsible if fraud occurs because of the notary's improper notarization.
A person whose work requires that acknowledgments or oaths be notarized outside West Virginia for recording in the state, or a person who has no residence or business address in the state but must notarize documents here may apply to become a Commissioner of West Virginia.
If you are a notary or a person trying to obtain a proper notarization on a document, we urge you to review the practice handbook and the FAQs to help avoid future problems with your documents.