Arizona Secretary of State - Ken Bennett


 
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General Questions

First-Time Applicants

Renewals

Resignation

Notary Complaints

Military

Apostilles

Permission to Use the State Seal

What are ID requirements for real estate transactions?

 

Q: What is a Notary Public?

Answer: An Arizona Notary Public is a public officer commissioned by the Secretary of State to perform notarial acts. A Notary is an impartial witness. (A.R.S. §§ 38-294, 41-313(9), and 41-328(B))

Q: Can anybody become a Notary Public? What are the requirements for becoming an Arizona Notary Public?

Answer: To become an Arizona Notary Public, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be an Arizona resident;
  • You must be at least 18 years old; and
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony unless your civil rights have been restored.

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible to become an Arizona Notary Public. When you sign your application form, you are attesting that you meet these requirements. If we find that you do not meet these requirements, we may refuse to issue you a Notary commission or we may revoke your Notary commission. You could be guilty of lying or submitting false information on your application form. Lying on an application form constitutes perjury and is a fraudulent act. (A.R.S. §§ 41-213(E) and 41-330(A)(1))

Q: You say I have to be an Arizona resident. Does that mean I have to be a citizen?

Answer: No.

You can be an Arizona Notary Public if you are not a U.S. citizen but you must be an Arizona resident for tax purposes. That means you must claim your Arizona residence as your primary residence on state and federal tax forms. (Attorney General Opinion 78-119)

Q: How do I know if I'm considered an Arizona resident?

Answer: In the context of your Notary Public commission, you must be a resident of this state for income tax purposes and claim the individual's residence in this state as the individual's primary residence on state and federal tax returns. (A.R.S. § 41-312 (E)(3))

The fact that you are out of this state for a temporary or transitory purpose would not defeat or negate your Arizona residency. On the other hand, if you are in Arizona for a temporary or transitory purpose, Arizona would not be your primary residence. (A.R.S. § 41-312(E)(2))

Q: What if I have two primary residences because I spend six months in Arizona and six months at my other residence?

Answer: You must claim one residence as your primary residence for tax purposes. It is that residence that will determine whether you qualify to be an Arizona notary public.

Q: What do I need to do to become an Arizona Notary Public?

Answer:

  • Read the NOTARY PUBLIC REFERENCE MANUAL.
  • Complete the NOTARY PUBLIC APPLICATION.
  • Purchase a four-year $5,000 notary bond in duplicate form from an insurance agent. The notary bond is purchased in duplicate form so that the notary will have an original for their records and the Secretary of State will also have an original.
  • Submit a check or money order in the amount of $43.00 made payable to the Secretary of State. $25.00 Application fee + $18.00 notary bond filing fee = $43.00 Total filing fee.
  • Mail the above documents and check or money order to the Secretary of State at the address indicated on the application form. (A.R.S. §§ 41-126(A)(2), 41-312(B), and 41-315).

**If you wish to have your application expedited there is a $25.00 expedited fee. Expedite processing times vary depending on available staff and volume of workload, however, a 24-48 hour turnaround is our goal. If mailed, applications need to be clearly marked "EXPEDITE" on the envelope.

Q: Where do I get an application form to become an Arizona Notary Public? Where do I get an application form for a commission renewal?

Answer:
The same form is used for first-time applicants and renewals. Get the form:
ONLINE: You can obtain an application form online in PDF. PDF files require Adobe Acrobat 3.x Reader or above. Click here for the form.
CALL: Or, you can call 602-542-4758 and request an application be mailed or faxed to you.
E-MAIL: You can request a form be attached via e-mail by using our Contacts page.

  • NOTE: Some some bonding agents may also offer the application form, but these agents may not offer the most current form. Therefore, the Secretary of State's Office is the best place to obtain an application.
Q: Okay. I've got an application form. Now what do I do?

Answer: Follow the online instructions to fill out the form properly.

If you received a form from our office via the mail....Leave the upper right-hand corner box empty. You may see some numbers there. These are for Office use only. Skip the address box if it is blank or if your name and address are printed there.

However, if anyone else's name appears in the address box, or if you are applying for a notary commission for the first time but there are numbers in the upper right-hand box, please download a new application form or call the Secretary of State's Office for a blank form. DO NOT USE a form that has someone else's name in the address box or someone else's commission number in the upper right-hand box.

  • MAKE SURE you PRINT LEGIBLY or TYPE all information so that we can read it. If we cannot read your application form, or any portion of your application form, we will return it to you along with a new form for you to complete legibly. This will delay your Notary commission.
Q: Is all the information on my application form public information? Can it be given to someone other than myself upon request?

Answer: Only your name and your business address are now public information. All other information on your application form is confidential. (A.R.S. § 41-312(F))

Q: What if I live just across the border in another state but have an Arizona address?

Answer: You cannot be an Arizona Notary Public because you do not live within the borders of Arizona.

Q: Some states allow nonresidents to become notaries if they live outside the borders of the state but work in that state. Does Arizona allow this?

Answer: You must be an Arizona resident in order to be an Arizona notary public.

Q: I see that the statutes carve out a provision allowing additional forms of identification to be used for notarizations involving real estate transactions or conveyance. How do I know what these other forms of ID are?

Answer: A.R.S. 41-311(11)(B) states that in addition to the forms of identification that are acceptable for other notarizations, in instances of real estate transactions or conveyance, a notary may also accept:

  • A valid unexpired passport that is issued by a national government other than the United States government and that is accompanied by a valid unexpired visa or other documentation that is issued by the United States government and that is necessary to establish an individual's legal presence in the United States .
  • Any other valid unexpired identification that is deemed acceptable by the United States Department of Homeland Security to establish an individual's legal presence in the United States and that is accompanied with supporting documents as required by the United States Department of Homeland Security.*

*For examples of such items, please visit the United States Department of State website for a list of visa waiver nations, nations whose visitors may not be required to obtain visas prior to visiting the United States. Additionally, please visit the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative website for examples of alternative forms of documentation accepted from certain visitors from Canada and Mexico.

Q: If I was convicted of a felony but have had my civil rights restored, may I become an Arizona Notary Public?

Answer: Perhaps. But you need to send a copy of the court papers restoring your civil rights at the same time you send your application to the Secretary of State's Office. Even if your civil rights have been restored, we may deny you a Notary commission if your felony conviction had a reasonable relationship to the functions of the office of Notary Public.

Q: How long does it take to become a Notary Public?

Answer: From the time you mail us your application until you receive your commission certificate in the mail, the entire process can take up to 4-6 weeks.

Q: Does it take as long to renew my Notary commission as it does to get a first-time Notary commission?

Answer: Yes.

The process for renewing a commission and obtaining a commission for the first time are exactly the same.

Q: How much does it cost to become an Arizona Notary Public?

Answer: Our fees schedule is posted online.

  • You must submit a total of $43.00: $25.00 for application processing and $18.00 for the bond filing fee to the Secretary of State’s Office (A.R.S. § 41-126(2) and (11))
  • You must also purchase a $5000 bond, covering the four years of your commission. The cost of the bond varies. Bonds are available for purchase from an insurance or bonding company. This bond protects the public if the notary notarizes a document incorrectly or illegally. (A.R.S. §§ 41-312(B) and 41-315 and A.A.C. R2-12-1103)
  • You must also purchase a Notary seal and a Notary journal in which to record your notarial acts. (A.R.S. §§ 41-321 and 41-319)
  • You may also wish to purchase Errors and Omissions Insurance (commonly referred to as “E & O Insurance”) through your insurance or bonding company. This insurance protects the notary if the notary inadvertently makes an error or leaves something off when notarizing a document. This insurance is not required and its cost may vary.
  • If you failed to notify us about a change in your mailing address or about a lost or stolen journal or seal within the time limits specified in A.R.S. § 41-323, you must also pay the $25 civil penalty per offense before we will renew your commission. (A.R.S. § 41-323)

Q: After I've sent the Secretary of State's Office the appropriate fees and then I decide I don't want to be a Notary after all, can I get a refund?

Answer: No. You cannot get a refund from the Secretary of State's Office. Once your application has been processed, we consider it processed and filed. Therefore, we have already used your processing/filing fee. The only exception to this occurs when you send us a duplicate application and application fee for the same Notary commission term. In this instance, we can process a refund for you for the duplicate application (but not the first one) but please note that the refund process may take several weeks.

Q: I am in the military. Can I become an Arizona Notary Public?

Answer: If you are a commissioned officer in the armed forces of the United States, you are federally commissioned to perform notarial functions for other members of the armed forces and their dependents. The Arizona Attorney General specified this in Opinion I97-011. People other than commissioned officers wishing to become Arizona Notaries Public must meet the qualifications for Arizona Notaries Public and must apply just as if they were not in the military.

Q: Once everything is completed, how long is my notary commission?

Answer: An Arizona Notary Public commission is a four-year term. This means that a commission beginning on June 1, 1999, will expire at midnight on May 31, 2003. (A.R.S. § 41-312(A))

Q: How and when do I renew my commission?

Answer: Within 60 days of the expiration of your commission, you must submit your renewal application and new bond along with the appropriate filing fees. In other words, the procedure for renewing your Notary commission is the same as it was to apply for the first time.

Q: If I forget to renew my commission in a timely manner, can I get the renewal expedited so that I don't miss time serving as a notary?

Answer: Yes. If you wish to have your application expedited there is a $25.00 expedite fee. Expedite processing times vary depending on available staff and volume of workload, however, a 24-48 hour turnaround is our goal.

Q: How do I obtain an Apostille for a document sent to a foreign country? (Or a certificate of notarization authenticity)

Answer: Pursuant to A.R.S. § 41-326, the Secretary of State issues apostilles on documents going to a foreign country and also authenticates public documents going to foreign countries. The cost for this service is $3.00 per document. Checks should be payable to the Secretary of State.

You may mail your documents to:

Arizona Secretary of State
Attn: Notary Department
1700 W. Washington, 7th Fl.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Our average turnaround time is 5 business days. If you require same day service, please visit our Customer Service Center at:

1700 W. Washington Street, State Capitol Executive Tower in Phoenix
We are just south of Adams and north of Jefferson
There is free visitor's parking. Directions are available here.

Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed state holidays.

In Tucson, you may also visit the Southern Arizona Satellite office, located at:

400 W. Congress, 2nd Floor, Room 252 in Tucson. Directions are available here.

Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed state holidays.

If you send your documents by mail and require a quick turnaround you may want to send your documents by express mail and include a prepaid envelope for express return mail service. Please remember to include your payment of $3.00 per document (no cash please). When mailing your documents, please indicate the name of the country to which you will be sending your documents. You are urged to include your name and daytime telephone number so that we may contact you should any question arise when processing your document(s).

Q: I no longer want to be an Arizona Notary Public. How do I resign?

A letter must be sent to the governor and a copy sent to our office. Other requirements include surrendering your notary seal and journal. See the Arizona Notary Public Manual for more information. A resignation form letter is available online to assist you to resign your commission.