Unlock Your Notary Potential: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Notary Commission in San Francisco

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Updated: September 11, 2023
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Unlock Your Notary Potential: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Notary Commission in San Francisco


It is often required to have notaries around you while signing off on a huge business deal or a financial agreement. People pursuing law become notaries to serve various clients in their legal, financial, or business matters.


However, various requirements shall be implicitly carried out to apply and become a notary. Each state has a different procedure, and the essence of it is to submit an official application, obtain the notary seal, and then renew your commission periodically.


The first step to becoming a notary is to determine your eligibility firsthand. Notaries in San Francisco must be 18 years old and have a state residential permit. Moreover, you can not have the old notary commission revoked.


Also, the state agrees that a person applying for a notary commission shall not have a criminal record of any kind and shall prove to be a law-abiding citizen. However, if you are a full-fledged attorney practicing law within the state, your chances of getting a notary commission increase greatly.


The second important aspect of becoming a notary is dusting off each requirement mentioned in your country's law. As in some parts of the USA, the notary commissions are usually at the county level whenever the county pleads. The application process is usually very different by county, so thoroughly research all the requirements for your state.


More importantly, completing the background check that makes you eligible for this commission is best. Usually, the counties run a thorough background check on your criminal records. It ensures that no criminal record prevents you from becoming a practicing notary. Usually, background checks require you to pay a fee and submit your fingerprints.


Most counties insist on drug tests as well!!


Once you know everything, the next step is to be part of exams that help your application. Most counties ask you to take an exam or a short course before becoming a notary. All the information that is required to ace the test or the course is provided by the county.


After submitting your application and ensuring the fulfillment of all the requirements, it is best to submit your application to the county. Though most counties have application fees imposed, that is a small price to pay for better success. Usually, people submit their applications to the office of the county common pleas court.


The application is on paper and delivered to the common pleas court in person or by mail!!


After all you have done, it is time to obtain your official notary seal. The notaries in each state of the USA have an official notary seal required to notarize the documents. You will be given the official seal featuring the San Francisco emblem, which will be used to notarize the documents in San Francisco only.


Also, you can get your seals from various retailers or ask the county office if they have specific recommendations on where to obtain your seal and other supplies. 


Now, you can apply at legal firms that allow you to notarize the businesses and the legal documents. However, you must use your funds to purchase your official notary seal, which ranges between $25 and $50.


The next step is to register your commission with the state and county government so that no flaw is left in your career. Mostly, the county forwards your application to the San Francisco Secretary of State, who issues you the notary public certificate. 



Once the certificate is yours, you can record that you hold the notary commission and are officially registered.


After being official, you should first purchase insurance to protect yourself against all the liabilities you may incur. However, it is not a mandatory requirement; you might want to look into it, especially if you want to notarize a high volume of documents.


Maintaining a record of all duties as a notary is also best. Notaries are always encouraged to maintain all the exact records of the documents they have notarized. By keeping the records, it will help to overcome any problem that arises in the future. 


Also, it is important to keep in the record the type of document that was notarized, the type of notarization that was performed, the name of the person whose signature they are affirming and the confirmation of the person's identity, the date at which the document was notarized along with the location in which the document was notarized.


It is also mandatory that all your commissions are renewed after every five years. This procedure must be followed as the notary commission expires after five years. Moreover, the renewals, such as the first-time applications mostly managed at the county level, should be vetted through the common pleas court.



Pro Tip:


The best way to excel as a notary is to join a firm that provides full Notary services. It will enhance your experience and will prove your liability. Make sure that before notarizing the document, you get hold of the following documents;


1.  Identification card or the driver’s license of the person, which California issues Department of Motor Vehicles; 


2. A copy of the United States passport; 


3. Other California-approved identification cards consisting of a photograph.