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Notary and Apostille Law: Becoming a Notary and Renewing your Commission


In Ohio the requirements to become a notary are now statewide.  As of September 20, 2019, the Ohio Secretary of State's Office is the place to start your notary application. The Columbus Bar Association is a certified provider of notary education. This libguide will feature the CBA's services for Franklin County.

Notary Application Process


Steps to becoming a Notary

  1. Obtain a criminal background check, current within six months of the application. Background checks can be obtained at the CBA by appointment.
  2. Register for the online notary seminar and test.
  3. Complete this online application at the Ohio Secretary of State's website.
  4. You will receive your notary commission in the mail.Your commission will expire 5 years from the date it was issued and your commission information will be posted on a public searchable database on the Secretary of State's website.
  5. Order your notary stamp here.
  6. Begin notarizing documents.
  7. Unless you are an attorney, your notary commission will expire in five years. This date will be printed on your notary stamp. At that time, you will need to file an application to renew your notary commission. You will need to get a new background check and take a one hour continuing education class. You will also need to purchase a new stamp.

Changing your name or address

If you need to change your name or address on your notary commission, go to the Ohio Secretary of State's online notary commission system. 

What does a notary do?

A notary's duty is to screen the signers of important documents for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. Notaries require the signer to swear or affirm that the information contained in a document is true to the best of their knowledge. Property deeds, wills, powers of attorney, and affidavits are some documents that must be notarized.

Generally, a notary will ask to see a current ID that has a photo, physical description and signature. Acceptable IDs usually include a driver’s license, state ID or passport.