Requirements for becoming a California notary public
  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Be a legal California resident.
  • Complete a course of study approved by the Secretary of State. Our online notary courses are officially approved and licensed in California
  • Satisfactorily complete and pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State.
  • Successfully clear a background check.
Child Support
  • Applicants found to be non-compliant with child or family support orders will be issued temporary term notary public commissions.
  • Notaries public found to be non-compliant after the notary public commission is issued may be subject to commission suspension or revocation. (Family Code section 17520.)
Background Check
  • State law requires all applicants be fingerprinted as part of a background check prior to being granted an appointment as a notary public.
  • Information concerning the fingerprinting requirement will be mailed to applicants who pass the examination.
  • All applicants are required to disclose on their application any arrests for which trial is pending and all convictions.
  • Convictions dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4 or 1203.4a must be disclosed.
  • If you have any questions concerning the disclosure of convictions or arrests, contact the Secretary of State prior to signing the application.
  • For specifics about your arrest(s) and or conviction(s), please contact the California Department of Justice at (916) 227-3849.

The Secretary of State will recommend denial of an application for the following reasons:

  • Failure to disclose any arrest or conviction.
  • Conviction of a felony where not less than 10 years have passed since the completion of probation.
  • Conviction of a disqualifying misdemeanor where not less than 5 years have passed since the completion of probation; or
  • A determination that the facts of a particular case warrant denial, such as the nature and severity of the act or the presence of aggravating factors.

For additional information, please follow the steps to become a notary public and review the Disciplinary Guidelines.

List of Disqualifying Convictions on the SOS website.