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5 Steps to Renew a Notary Public Commission in California

15th April, 2023

5 steps to renew your notary public commission in California

If you’d like to continue working as a California notary you should be aware of how to renew a notary public commission in advance. The state of California requires notaries to renew a notary public commission every four years to ensure that they remain qualified to perform notarial acts and continue to serve as a trusted and reliable notary public. We strongly recommend you get prepared to pass the state notary exam 6 months prior to the date of your current notary commission expiration.

Notary public renewal in California is a step-by-step process. So, it’s important to follow the state requirements thoroughly in order to avoid mistakes. Make sure you’re guided by a state-approved notary course vendor and get proper instructions for a hassle-free notary renewal.  

In this guide from Notary Course Online, we’ll take a closer look at the 5 steps to notary public commission renewal in California. 

Table of Contents

1. Check the CA state requirements

Before you even start to renew your notary public commission, get updated on the actual state requirements in terms of the notary public commission requirements and changes. It’s best to visit the California Secretary of State’s official website and check the Notary Public Commissions section of the Notary FAQs. Besides, you can find more answers to frequently asked questions regarding the notary courses and requirements on our FAQ page: 

Notary Frequently Asked Questions __ California Secretary of State

2. Complete a 3-hour notary refresher course

Renewing notaries public are required to pass a 3-hour notary course from a state-approved education vendor. The 3-hour notary refresher course covers updates to California notary laws, regulations, ethics, and procedures. The Proof of Completion certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of issuance. However, it’s necessary to pass the state notary exam before the current commission expires. 

State-approved course

The course is approved by the California Secretary of State. After receiving the same-day completion certificate, you can apply for the state notary exam.

Comprehensive materials

The course for renewing notaries covers all the topics required by the state, including California notary laws, procedures, and ethical standards. You’ll also receive the official California Notary Public Handbook that presents the material in an easy-to-understand way.

Interactive learning

During the 3-hour course, you’ll be able to pass an online practice test that covers the state exam topics. This is important to make sure you’re ready for an examination.

Easy access

You can access the course from any device and location. The format allows you to study at your own pace and complete the course when you’re ready.

Affordable Cost

The 3-hour course by Notary Course Online is offered at a competitive price with no hidden fees or extra charges. This makes it one of the most affordable notary courses in California and other states.

Enroll for the 3-hour notary course right away:

3. Fill out the notary renewal application

The next step after completing the 3-hour notary refresher course is to fill out the Reappointing Commission Application (Form SOS/NP-30). The application form is available for download in the PDF file format here

Attach a 2” x 2” color passport photograph to this application. Also attach the proof of completion certificate of either a 3-hour notary refresher course or a 6-hour course from an approved course vendor.

4. Pass the CA notary exam

Renewing notaries in California are required to pass the notary exam administered by the Secretary of State. To avoid a break in the commission validity, you should pass the exam not less than 6 months before your current notary public commission expiration. If you don’t meet the terms, we recommend taking the 6-hour notary course and re-applying in accordance with the initial steps for notaries public.  

When at the exam site, a renewing notary must submit the Reappointing Commission Application form along with attachments and pay the fees. Keep on reading to learn more.

For additional information, check out our ultimate guide to the California notary public exam.

5. Pay the fees

Both new and renewing notaries shall pay a total $40.00 fee that includes a $20.00 application fee and a $20.00 State of California Exam fee. It is payable in the form of a check or money order at the exam site.

The state of California requires notaries public to purchase and maintain a $15,000 Notary surety bond for a 4-year term of the commission validity. The effective date of the bond should match the commission date on the notary license.

The Secretary of State’s office will send a renewal notice to all current notaries approximately 60 days before their commission expires. However, it’s the notary’s responsibility to ensure that they met all of the renewal requirements before their current commission expires to avoid a gap in their notary status. Renewing applicants who met all the requirements will receive the new notary public commission 30 days prior to the expiration date of the current commission.

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