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How to become a notary in ohio?

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Ohio notaries may submit their renewal applications within the three-month period prior to their commission expiration dates. An attorney’s notary commission lasts as long as the attorney is an Ohio resident or maintains a principal place of business or primary practice in Ohio, remains in good standing with the Ohio Supreme Court, and the commission is not revoked. Click here to complete the application and upload the certificate of completion for the education requirement.

An Ohio non-attorney notary public whose commission expires after September 20, 2019 can renew his or her commission by:

The Secretary of State processes notary applications, issues notary commissions, maintains the online database of notaries, approves the entities to administer the educational program and related test, and maintains all the records regarding notaries. The new notary law removed the responsibilities of notary application processing and notary commissioning from the common pleas court clerks. To contact the Ohio Secretary of State, use the following information:

Ohio Secretary of State Notary 180 E. Broad St., 16th Floor Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 644-4459

Yes. A nonresident attorney who is licensed to practice law in Ohio by the Ohio Supreme Court with a principal place of business or primary practice in Ohio may apply for an Ohio notary public commission. Attorney applicants seeking a notary public commission are:

Each notary public, except an attorney admitted to the practice of law by the Ohio Supreme Court, shall hold office for the term of five years unless the notary public commission is revoked. An attorney admitted to the practice of law in Ohio shall hold office as a notary public as long as the attorney is a resident of Ohio or has the attorney's principal place of business or primary practice in Ohio, the attorney is in good standing before the Ohio Supreme Court, and the notary commission is not revoked. A notary public appointed prior to September 20, 2019 shall remain valid until that commission’s expiration date.

All first-time notary applicants submitting an online notary application on or after September 20, 2019 are required to complete a three-hour educational program and pass a related test demonstrating knowledge of the notary statutes, rules, what constitutes a legal notarial act, and other relevant notarial issues.

All renewing notaries are required to complete a one-hour continuing education class prior to submitting their online renewal applications.

The Secretary of State does not provide training on how to be a notary public in Ohio. An attorneys licensed to practice in Ohio and in good standing with the Ohio Supreme Court seeking to be appointed as a notary public is exempt from the examination requirement. However, attorneys are required to complete an educational program to become Ohio notaries public. Click here to contact an authorized education and testing provider.

To become a notary public in Ohio, a notary applicant’s expenses may include the following:

A notary errors and omissions insurance policy is optional. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Ohio notaries public obtain errors and omissions insurance for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage an Ohio notary public selects.

All new applicants seeking an appointment as a notary public and renewing notaries are not statutorily required to purchase a notary bond to obtain their Ohio notary public commissions.

Ohio notary law requires all Ohio notaries public to use a rubber-inked stamp or embosser to authenticate all official acts (ORC §147.04). Section 147.04 provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary stamps.

Dimensions: The seal shall consist of the state’s coat of arms in a circle having a diameter between three-quarters of an inch to one inch, surrounded by the required text.

Required Elements: The official stamp must contain the following elements:

Note: The name of the notary public may, instead of appearing on the seal, be printed, typewritten, or stamped in legible, printed letters near the notary's signature on each document signed by the notary public. A notary commissioned before September 20, 2019, may continue to use a seal that was in the notary’s possession before that date.

To order an Ohio notary stamp, notary seal, complete notary package, and notary supplies please visit the American Association of Notaries website, or call 713-644-2299.

Ohio notary fees are set by statute (ORC §147.08). The maximum allowable fees that an Ohio notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:

Note: An online notary public may charge up to $25 for an online notarization. Section 147.08 prohibits notaries from calculating fees on a per signature basis. An Ohio notary may charge a reasonable travel fee, as agreed to by the notary and the principal prior to the notarial act. The Secretary of State may adopt rules to increase the maximum allowable notarial fees. A notary public who charges or receives a notarial fee greater than the amount prescribed by law may be removed and be ineligible for reappointment to the office of notary public.

The Ohio notary statute does not require Ohio notaries public to record the notarial acts they perform in a journal. However, online notaries are required to maintain an electronic journal of all online notarizations performed. While a physical journal is not required by state notary law, the American Association of Notaries recommends that Ohio notaries:

To order an Ohio notary journal, please visit the American Association of Notaries website, or call 713-644-2299.

Ohio notaries public have statewide jurisdiction, and they must be physically within the geographic borders of the State of Ohio.Likewise, an Ohio notary public may not perform notarial acts outside Ohio.

An Ohio notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (ORC §147.51):

Yes. Since September 29, 2017, the State of Ohio has authorized notaries public to obtain an electronic signature and electronic seal to notarize electronic documents in the physical presence of the individual seeking the notarization.

Yes. The State of Ohio enacted the “Notary Public Modernization Act” (“Act”), effective September 20, 2019. The new law allows the Secretary of State to issue notary commissions to Ohio notaries to perform online notarizations using live video links, electronic signatures, and electronic notary seals.

To be commissioned to perform online notarizations, a notary must:

Upon approval, the Secretary of State issues a written authorization to the notary approving him or her to perform online notarizations. The authorization runs concurrently with the underlying notary public commission and can be renewed along with the underlying commission, unless the notary is also an attorney.

Ohio notaries public are required to update their address information within thirty days after the address change by submitting the notice electronically to the Secretary of State. Under the new notary statute, all submissions to the Secretary of State for receiving and renewing notary commissions, updating name and address information, notifying the Secretary of State of certain criminal convictions, or resigning a notary public commission must be submitted electronically. All updates and changes to a notary public commission must be filed electronically with the Secretary of State.

Ohio notaries public who legally change their names during their commission terms must amend their notary public commissions within thirty days of a legal name change with the Secretary of State. A notary public also has the option to resign his or her notary commission by notifying the Secretary of State. All updates and changes to a notary public commission must be filed electronically with the Secretary of State.

Geof Halperin