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 Applying for a Notary Public Commission

Important The revised notary law takes effect June 3, 2018 (see House Bill 4207; see also West Virginia Code §39-4 "Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts."). The major changes to the notary law include:

  • authorizing an online electronic application process (Coming Soon!) to apply to receive a commission to act as a notary public;
  • removing the oath of office and requiring an applicant to swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that answers to questions in the application are true and if appointed, the applicant will perform faithfully all notarial acts in accordance with the law; and
  • eliminating the $1000 bond requirement.

Before You Apply

The application process for notaries involves several steps. It is not possible to obtain a notary commission in just a few days, so please allow time before planning to begin notarizing documents. Before you apply, check to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for becoming a notary public. If your current commission is due to expire, apply early so there will be no break between your old and new commissions.

Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for appointment as a notary public in West Virginia are simple. A person must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;
  • Be a resident of West Virginia, or a resident of another state who works at an office address within West Virginia;
  • Be able to read and write English;
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent;
  • Not be disqualified to receive a commission pursuant to West Virginia Code §39-4-21

 

Applying for a Notary Commission

The following steps must be completed before a person can lawfully begin to notarize documents in West Virginia.

Step 1

Read §39-4 of the West Virginia Code which governs notary practice.

On the application you will be swearing or affirming by signing under penalty of perjury that you have read and understand the requirements and will follow the law. Click the Code link above or the icon on the right to read the text of the law.

 


West Virginia Code
Chapter 39, Article 4
"Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts."


Step 2

Complete the West Virginia Application for Appointment as a Notary Public (Form N-1) to apply for your initial appointment or to apply for recommission. Click on the application link or form number above to download the application using Acrobat Reader. The filing fee is $52.

NOTE:  If you are applying for a recommission ​and your current commission end date is on or after June 3, 2018, you must use the new Notary Form that has the revision date 6/2018 (check for "Rev. 6/2018" in the upper left box of the application), regardless if you submit it prior to June 3, 2018.

NOTE: If you are applying as a state or local government notary for the official duties of a state or local governmental entity (see West Virginia Code §39-4-31), your supervisor must provide a letter requesting your appointment for the fee to be waived. This letter must be included with your application. Federal employees are not eligible.

Step 3

Fill out the application using the online fillable PDF document format, if you wish, then print it and complete the remaining sections. Otherwise, print the hard copy of the blank application and fill it out completely. 

  • If you plan on performing electronic notarial acts (e-notarization),  per West Virginia Code §39-4-19 , you must also complete and submit the application for E-Notariztion Authorization (Form N-2), [see note and image below]. There is no additional fee to file the E-Notarization Authorization application.
  • If your current commission is due to expire and you wish to keep the same month and day of expiration, please be sure to include that on the application form and apply at least two weeks prior to your expiration date.
  • If you are applying as a state or local government notary for the official duties of a state or local governmental entity (see West Virginia Code §39-4-31), your supervisor must provide a letter requesting your appointment. 
E-Notarization Authorization (Form N-2)
Complete and submit this application if you plan to perform electronic notarial acts. This application is in addition to the Application for Appointment as a Notary Public Commission (Form N-1; see details in Step 2 above). There is no fee to file the E-Notarization Authorization application. Click on the name link or the form number above to download the application using Acrobat Reader.

  

Step 4

Make your check or money order for $52 payable to "West Virginia Secretary of State."

The fee is waived for government notaries (see Step 3 above). For more information regarding acceptable forms of payment and the payment process, see Ordering and Payments.


Step 5

Deliver your application (or applications, if applying for e-Notarization) and payment to:
 

West Virginia Secretary of State
Notary Division
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
Charleston, WV  2530
5

Note: Please allow approximately 10 business days for processing AFTER the application has been received.

*Walk in customers may submit the documents and pay the filing fee.


Step 6

Wait to receive your commission letter and check your seal for accuracy.
Your commission letter will provide the exact information you need on your seal. Check to ensure your Name and Address Information are correct as they appear on your Official Seal.  If there are any corrections needed please contact the Notary Division at (304) 558-8000. You must have your stamp made with the information provided in the commission letter. Click on the image to the right to view an example of the letter.
 

Step 7

Order your rubber stamp seal. Provide the exact information given in your commission letter to the company making your seal.

Search in the yellow pages or online for "Rubber Stamps" or "Office Supplies" to find a company that makes official seals. When you order, remind the vendor that the stamp must meet state specifications. Click the seal image on the right for more information.

Click here for more information about the notary seal.

Step 8

Receive your commission certificate, valid for five (5) years, and your notary handbook.

When you receive your commission certificate, you may begin notarizing documents, but learn what to do before you begin.


Step 9

Review the notary handbook and keep it handy where you provide your notary services.

Remember, improper notarization means financial liability for the notary. Every notarization must include the proper acknowledgement form. Check the online notary handbook using the Acrobat Reader by clicking on the handbook image on the right.

 

West Virginia Notary Handbook