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Notary Steps

Steps to become a notary public in California

Before you start, be sure that you meet all the requirements of a notary public.


Education – Complete Approved Education

The state requires that all persons seeking appointment as a notary public or seeking a renewal commission must complete a 6-Hour Notary Course or a 3-Hour Refresher Notary Course from an approved California state vendor. Our courses fit these requirements.

CA state approved notary public education

Complete the Notary Public Application

Complete the CA Notary Public application form.


Register for the Exam

Applicants must register for an in-person state exam. Exams are held weekly around the state; you are welcome to take one in your area or drive to any upcoming test location. Here is the exam schedule. Register for the exam now. Current application processing times can be found here.


Take the Exam

Applicants must take the 45-question state exam and pass with a score of 70% or greater. You will need to pay a $40 application fee, submit a 2″ x 2″ color passport photo, the completed notary application form, and your certificate of completion. This is a comprehensive list of what to bring to the testing center.

taking the notary public exam

Background Check via Live Scan

Submit the Request for LiveScan Service form with your fingerprints for your background check. The Department of Justice has a list of Live Scan locations.

Live scan background check for California notaries public

Await Commission Packet

The notary public commission packet will be mailed to you once the application has been approved and after the applicant has passed the background check.

California notary commission packet

Purchase Your Notary Supplies

Upon receiving your commission packet you can start to purchase your notary supplies.

Purchase your notary public supplies

File Notary Public Oath and Bond

A California notary public must file an oath of office and a $15,000 Surety Bond at their county clerk’s office within 30 calendar days from the commencement date of the commission. This 30-day period cannot be extended. You may purchase your bond and optional (but highly recommended) E&O insurance here.

File public notary Oath and Nnotary bond