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 Frequently Asked Questions About Notary Public Applications

Q.  How long does it take to process a notary application?

If the application is correct and complete, approximately 5 to 10 business days.

Q.  How soon may I start notarizing?

Your commission is not effective until you receive your commission certificate and have had your notary stamp made.

Q.  May a federal employee apply as a government notary?

Government notaries are employees of state and local governing bodies only. Federal employees may apply as regular notaries and have the federal agency pay the fee.

Q.  May an employee of a public corporation, such as a Park Commission, apply as a government

Yes. As long as the entity is established by state law, it is considered a governing body.​

Q.  What fee can I charge to notarize documents?

          The maximum fee for notarization of each signature per West Virginia Code §39-4-30 is $5.  

Q.  Is a notary public required to secure and maintain a surety or professional insurance bond?

          Effective June 3, 2018, a surety bond or its equivalent in professional insurance is no longer required to be maintained during a notary's commission.

Q.  Because a notary was commissioned under previous law when the bond was required (prior to June 3, 2018), do they have to maintain that bond until their commission expires?  Or if they have, for example, three years left on a bond, and the insurance company will refund their three years of remaining coverage, can they cancel the bond?    

       Notaries are not required to maintain a bond after June 3, 2018. Refunds from the bonding company is a matter between the two parties (the notary and the bonding agency).

Q.  May a notary public notarize electronic documents?

          Yes. Pursuant to West Virginia Code §39-4-19(a), a notary public may select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records. A person may not require a notary public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a technology that the notary public has not selected.

          Before a notary public performs her/his initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, a notary public shall notify the Secretary of State that she/he will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records and identify the technology she/he intends to use [see West Virginia Code §39-4-19(b)]. The notary must complete and submit the E-Notarization Authorization application (Form N-2) made available by the Secretary of State as proper notification of her/his intent to perform electronic notarial acts. There is no fee to file the e-notarization application.

Q. Does the Secretary of State notify notaries when the commission is expiring?

        Yes. The application form will be sent to the address on record with the Secretary of State. However, if you don't receive the form, it is your responsibility to get the form and submit the completed application if you want to renew your commission.

Q.  If my employer pays for my notary commission, what happens if I leave that job?

        You are the person who holds the commission, not the employer, and the employer may not have the commission canceled. However, it is your duty to file a change of address and get a new seal immediately if your employer's address is on your seal. If you are a government notary, your commission expires when you terminate employment with (or are terminated by) the agency.