Did you want to be a notary when you grew up? How many of us told the teacher that was our dream when going around the circle in kindergarten? It might not be a lifelong aspiration, but becoming a notary public might make a lot of sense now.
Being a notary can open doors for you in your career, in everything from banking to healthcare. Becoming a notary public in Florida even lets you perform and officiate marriages. So what does it take to become a notary? The good news is, it’s not complicated at all.
There are seven steps involved in becoming a notary in Florida.
1. Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
In Florida, the requirements to become a notary are quite simple. Before you apply, make sure:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are a legal resident of Florida.
- You must have rights restored, if convicted of a felony.
- You can read, write, and comprehend the English language.
As long as you meet those four requirements, you are qualified to start the application process to become a notary in Florida.
2. Get a Surety Bond
As you apply to become a notary in Florida, you need to have a surety bond. A surety bond is a contract between you, the surety, and the state of Florida. Its purpose is to guarantee that you will honestly and faithfully handle your responsibilities as a notary and that you will follow all required Florida laws associated with being one. The law requires you to get a $7,500 bond from a surety company that is authorized in Florida.
A surety bond is not the same as when you get insurance, because it doesn’t protect you. Instead, the bond protects the public from you not doing your job as a notary properly. Finding a surety bond provider can be the trickiest part of this step—but the Florida Notary Association provides it as part of their notary package.
3. Complete the Application
The official application is the first formal step for you to become a notary. It might seem basic, but you need to fill out the application completely to get approval. Some of the most common mistakes that invalidate the application are simple errors of not filling it out properly. Take your time and fill out every field as thoroughly as possible.
Even if some sections do not apply to you (for example, you may not have an email address), you should never leave them blank. Make sure to write “NONE” in the section so your application can still be valid.
As part of this application, you need to include an affidavit of character. This means that you will need to have a person that you have known for at least one year sign a statement that says you have good character, against a charge of perjury in court. The only restriction is that this person cannot be a family member. You’re still eligible to use a co-worker, teacher, coach, friend, neighbor, pastor, or any other person in your life that can certify that you are a morally good person.
This application is available online or through a hard paper copy. We suggest that you use the digital format so that you can quickly see if there are any fields missing and promptly fix them to avoid any delays in your application.
4. Take the Online Training Course
With the application done, it’s time to get trained as a notary. The free online training course to become a notary in Florida can be done in as few as three hours. The training is typically done in eight sections, with a minimum time of 23 minutes for each section.
If you rush to complete your training or are just a naturally fast reader, you might have to wait during some sections because it is a requirement by law that the training takes at least three hours. The course is broken up into sections which means that it is up to you if you would like to do it all in one sitting, or broken apart into separate sessions.
5. Be Prepared to Swear or Affirm to the Oath of Office on the Application
An important part of the notary process is being sworn in as a notary. It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into and what the oath is that you’re going to be held legally accountable to.
The oath of office of a notary in Florida is:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; that I have read Chapter 117, Florida Statutes, and any amendments thereto, and know the duties, responsibilities, limitations, and powers of a notary public; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of Notary Public, State of Florida, on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.
As part of your online training, you will read all of the laws and documents that are part of this oath. You should not have to do any additional reading or studying to make sure that you can uphold this oath.
6. Submit the Application and Fees
When your training and application is finished, submit it and pay your processing fee. The base cost of the application is $39. Some added factors like notary seals, surety bonds, online training, and the provider you choose to go with for this application can increase the overall cost of your notary package.
7. Order Your Notary Seal and Stamp
Once you get approved to be a notary, it’s time to get the tools of the trade. Legally, you need a rubber stamp seal. This is a customized stamp that has your information on it and is required by law for you to use when you act as a notary.
If you would like, you can also order an embossed seal that will also be used in conjunction with the stamp. The embossed seal is solely used as a form of decoration and is not required.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Notary in Florida?
If you are prepared and have time set aside for it, applying to be a notary in Florida can take less than a day. The longest time requirement comes from the online training. By law, this training has to take a minimum of three hours, so even if you are a fast reader or finish sections of the course ahead of schedule, you will have to wait until the time has passed for you to take the next section. Ultimately, how long it takes to become a notary is up to you!
Once you submit your application, processing and approval time depends on the agency you go through, but some offer it in as few as 10 business days.
Why Should I Become a Notary?
Becoming a notary can add an extra perk to your resume and give you a better chance in interviews. While being a notary might seem ordinary, it’s an essential role for many professions. If you work in law offices, schools, banks, insurance companies, or in healthcare, there is a high demand of notaries in your field.
Becoming a notary also gives you the chance to be self-employed. There are a host of businesses that can’t afford a full-time notary but occasionally need one. As a self-employed notary, you can authenticate documents as necessary for a variety of fields and companies and potentially make it your full-time job.
Florida Notary Association
The Florida Notary Association is dedicated to making sure your experience in getting trained and working as a notary in Florida is easy, affordable, and nothing short of exceptional.
How do you become a notary? Look no further. Contact us today and you’ll find a team ready to help you throughout your process of becoming a notary, as well as during your tenure as a notary public.