Becoming a notary public in California is relatively simple.

A California notary public acts as an official witness to various legal matters and signings within the state of California. Although not a lawyer, notary publics can witness the signing of documents such as loan papers or wills and take written oaths and depositions. With a California notary public commission, you will have several employment options from working on a freelance basis to working for a big corporation in a position in which being a state notary public is required.

Things You Will Need

Training course
Background check

Step 1

Some basic qualifications must be met to become a notary public in the state of California. These include being at least 18 years of age and considered a legal resident of California. You must also be in compliance with any court ordered child support payments to maintain your public notary. If these conditions apply to you, then you are ready to start the process.

Step 2

Take a notary public training course that has been approved by the California Secretary of State. The state 19s public notary website has a listing of several approved public notary training companies. With these you have the option of taking a self-study course, online courses, or attending a six-hour seminar. If you are searching a notary public training website check that it is approved by the state of California before paying any money for a training course. Otherwise your training will not be accepted and you will have to take another course.

Step 3

Take the California Notary Public commission exam. You can register for the exam online or by calling 1-916-263-3520. Exams are offered in each county at different times. Larger counties will have more exam dates throughout the year than smaller counties.

Step 4

Get a background check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the California Department of Justice. You can do this by filling out the Request for Live Scan Service form available at the California Secretary of State 19s website and going to any facility that does live scanning. You will need your social security number and driver 19s license to complete the form and start the background check. A conviction of a minor crime will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a California public notary, however a felony most likely will. The department looks at each background check and makes a recommendation for approval or denial on a case-by-case basis.

Step 5

If you pass the notary public exam, then you will receive a packet in the mail with further instructions to complete your commission. Once approved you will need to purchase a bond and file it along with an oath of office in your county. You will also need a notary public journal, which you can purchase at any office supply store and a notary public seal. Your packet will give you a list of approved companies where you can purchase your seal.

Once you receive your California notary public commission you will need to update your commission regularly. This may include taking a three-hour notary public course and another exam. As rules may change, keep updated on the requirements by visiting the notary public section of the California Secretary of State’s website. Becoming a member of a notary association will also help you keep up to date on the state’s requirements as well as industry opportunities and changes.