Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) provide our office the rules for processing applications and duties of notaries upon being commissioned.
Application Instruction and Processing for New and Renewing Notaries
You must submit an original notary application, an original signed and notarized bond and the $43.00 application and bond filing fee. Make sure to submit everything together by mail to our Phoenix office.
A notary bond is required with your application and our office will not process an application without a bond. A.R.S. § 41-315. Our office does not provide bonds.
A notary bond, also called a surety bond, is similar to an insurance policy. However, the key distinction is that the bond protects the public (whoever needs the document notarized) and not the actual notary.
To protect yourself, you also can look into purchasing Errors and Omissions Insurance (“E&O”). E&O policies protect you, the notary, and will repay the bond should someone make a claim against it. It is not mandatory to have E&O insurance when applying.
This distinction is hugely important because if someone makes a claim against your bond, you, the notary, must repay the difference back to the bonding company. Similarly, if you are taken to court, a judge can hold you to unlimited liability. Simply because you are bonded for $5,000 doesn't mean you will not be expected to repay more than $5,000.
4-6 weeks. Expedite process is currently not available.
The earliest you can start the renewal process is 60 days before the end of your current commission. You can either check the expiration date on your stamp or check our notary public search website for the expiration date.
Payment must be included with the application and bond by mail to our Phoenix office. We request either a check or money order be sent with the mailed forms. Please make checks and money orders payable to the “Arizona Secretary of State".
No, you do not. However, you will be required to have an Arizona identification when you renew.
No. Only citizens or legal permanent residents can apply for a commission. A.R.S. § 41-312(E)(2). A work permit does not constitute legal permanent residency.
By signing the application, you are attesting to the accuracy of the information on the application. Our office can open a complaint against a commission, and may permanently revoke a commission, due to a falsified application.
No. If you have been convicted of a felony you must provide an explanation of the circumstances involving the charge(s), along with court documentation showing the original charge(s), and court order showing your civil rights have been restored.
Now that you've been commissioned
You are officially commissioned once we have your application and bond on file, and you have your stamp, journal and notary public reference manual.
You can buy a stamp and journal from an office supply store or a stationary store. Your bonding company may provide those items to you but not all bonding companies do so.
No. You as a notary can only perform notarizations with acknowledgment, jurat, copy certification or oath/affirmation language. Examples and explanations of these certificates can be found in the Notary Public Reference Manual.
Yes. You must notify us of any address change (mailing, home or public record/business) within 30 days. Failure to do so may result in a $25 civil penalty. A.R.S. § 41-323(C).
Our system will update only the addresses you tell us to change. If you have an outdated address as your mailing and public record address, but you only inform our office of a public record address change, your mailing address will still be incorrect. As a result, you may be assessed the $25 civil penalty. To potentially avoid paying the penalty, we recommend updating all three addresses with a Notary Public Address/Name Change Notification form.
Yes. You should submit a Notary Public Address/Name Change Notification and include legal documentation to show why your name has changed (marriage license, divorce decree, etc.)
Not necessarily, you can continue your term or resign your commission. Even though your company paid for your commission, it is yours and cannot be transferred between individuals or states. Don't forget to update your change of address.
You have several options to consider:
You may continue your commission. The burden of renewing will fall on you once your current commission ends. If you choose not to renew once your term ends, you must send in your journal, seal and all other records to our office within 3 months of your expiration date or you may be assessed a $50-$500 fine. A.R.S. § 41-317(A). You may resign your term. It is not a permanent resignation; you can apply again in the future. However, when you resign, our office will retain your journal and records, and will be responsible for responding to any public record requests on your behalf. If you don't want to be a notary, our office recommends that you resign your commission. Our office does NOT recommend letting your commission run out. It will be your responsibility to respond to any public record requests and you are required to turn in your journal, seal, and all other records to our office up to 3 months after your term expires. This is a reminder to turn in your materials to avoid a $50-$500 fine. A.R.S. § 41-317(A).
You must complete the resignation form and send in your journal, seal, and all other records to our office within 3 months of your resignation date or you may be assessed a $50-$500 fine. A.R.S. 41-317(A).
Yes, a notary may notarize a document in a foreign language if the signer signs in a language that the notary public understands and the notarial certificate is worded and completed using only letters, characters and a language that is read, written and understood by the notary public.