Identification Requirements for Notary’s County of Filing

  • The filing must take place in the county where the notary public maintains a principal place of business as shown in the application on file with the Secretary of State.
  • If the oath and bond are not filed within the 30-calendar-day time period, the commission will not be valid.
  • Identification Requirement:
    • At the county clerk, the notary must produce one of the following specified ID’s:
      • a California ID card or driver’s license,
      • a U.S. passport,
      • a foreign passport, or
      • a state of California employee ID issued by an agency of the state, office of a city or county of the State of California.

New Identification Documents

The identity of the signer is established by the notary public’s reasonable reliance on the presentation of any of the following identification forms.

There are two specific sets of paper identification documents, Primary and Secondary each having certain requirements.

  • The Primary Group has five identification documents which must be either:
      • Current or
      • has been Issued within five years.
    • The Five Identification Documents are:
      • California Driver’s License
      • California Identification Card
      • United States Passport
        • (a U.S. passport need not have a physical description)
      • State Prison Inmate Identification Card
        • issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,
        • if the inmate is in custody in a California state prison
          • (federal prisons do not apply)
      • Sheriff’s Department Inmate Identification
        • any form identification issued by a sheriff’s department;
        • if the inmate is in custody in a local detention facility.
  • The Secondary Group has seven identification documents which must have:
      • a Photograph,
      • a Description,
      • a Signature,
      • an Identifying Number, and
      • is Current or
        • issued within five years.
    • The Seven Identification Documents are:
      • Valid Consular Identification Document
        • issued by a consulate from the signer’s country of citizenship
      • Valid Foreign Passport
        • from the signer’s country of citizenship
      • Driver’s License issued by a public agency authorized to issue drivers’ licenses:
        • any other state
        • Canada
        • Mexico
      • Identification Card issued by another state
        • not Canada or Mexico
      • Military Identification Card by any branch of the US Armed Forces
        • Caution: Not all current military ID cards have all the requirements and should not be used.
      • State Employee Identification Card
        • for an agency of the state, office of a city or county of the State of California
      • Tribal Government Identification Card
        • issued by a federally recognized tribal government.

Responding to SOS

  • Communicating with the Secretary of State
    • Communications between the Secretary of State and notaries public to be made by certified mail, or the use of any other means of physical delivery that provides a receipt for these communications, (for example: FedEx, USPS, UPS).
  • A notary public has two separate duties to respond to written requests of the California Secretary of State.
    • Request for Information: Upon receiving a written request for information relating to official acts performed by the notary public, he/she must respond by certified mail or any other means of physical delivery that provides a receipt within 30 calendar days.
    • Certified Copies of the Journal: Within the time specified in the written request by the California Secretary of State, a notary public must furnish certified copies of the entire or any portion of his or her notarial journal that is requested.

 

 

Maximum Notarial Fee Increases

  • Acknowledgment – $15 – For an Acknowledgment or proof of a deed, or other instrument, including the seal and writing the certificate, $15 for each signature.
  • Jurat – $15 – For administering an oath or affirmation to one person and executing the Jurat, including the seal, $15 for each signature.
  • Deposition – $30 – For all services in connection with the taking of any deposition, $30, and an additional $7 for administering the oath to the witness and $7 for the certificate to the deposition.
    • Note: If a notary public is not a certified shorthand reporter, the notary public should inform the person they may wish to contact a certified shorthand reporter who is licensed by the Court Reporters Board of California to take the deposition.
  • Certifying a Copy Power of Attorney – $15 for each copy.
  • Public Request for Line Item – For a line item copied from the notary public’s journal, $.30 per line item.

How are the State Notary Exams scored?

Notary Exams are a scaled score, NOT a percent score. Not all Notary questions are weighed the same; some are given more points that others.

CPS who administers the Exam has given the following clarification:

      “Candidates who take the California Notary Public Examination receive a scaled score that ranges from 0 to 100.  A scaled score is a conversion of a candidate’s raw score on an examination form to a common scale used for all the examination forms.  Those who pass the examination receive a scaled score between 70 and 100.  Those who fail the examination receive a scaled score between 0 and 69.  A scaled score is NOT a percent score and cannot be calculated by dividing the number correct by the total number of questions on the examination.  Rather, a scaled score is a transformation of a raw score.     

     A scaled score is used because it allows for numerical comparison between candidates, no matter which examination form the candidate received.  This is important because there are multiple versions of the California Notary Public Examination.  Each version of the examination may be slightly easier or more difficult than other versions.  To ensure fair treatment to all candidates, the examination cut scores (i.e., pass points) are adjusted based on the difficulty of each examination form.  An easier examination form will have a proportionally higher raw cut score and a more difficult examination form will have a proportionally lower raw cut score.  The cut scores are derived from a statistical equating procedure.  The scaled cut score is always 70, which allows the comparison of scores between candidates across the numerous versions of the examination.” 

Hopefully this information is helpful and provides clarity to the scoring process.  Please direct your questions to the CPS office directly at 916-263-3520.

Lost or Stolen Seal/Stamp Requirements

If the seal is lost, misplaced, destroyed, broken, damaged, or is rendered otherwise unworkable shall, the notary public must immediately mail or deliver written notice of that fact to the Secretary of State.

  • The Secretary of State, within five working days after receipt of the notice, if requested by a notary, shall issue a certificate of authorization which a notary may use to obtain a replacement seal. Government Code section 8207.3(e)

Lost or Stolen Journal Requirments

If the sequential journal is stolen, lost, misplaced, destroyed, damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable, the notary public must immediately notify the Secretary of State by certified or registered mail.

The notification must include:

  1. The periods of journal entries
  2. The notary public commission number
  3. The commission expiration date
  4. When applicable, a photocopy of the police report that lists the journal.

What do I do if I lost my stamp or journal?

From the Secretary of State’s website:

Notaries public who have lost their stamp or journal must send a letter immediately by certified mail to the Secretary of State explaining what happened to their stamp or journal and, if applicable, a photocopy of a police report. The letter should include your typed or printed name, notary public commission number, and your signature. If your journal was lost, include the time period of the journal entries and the expiration date of your commission in the letter. Upon written request, the Secretary of State will send a duplicate certificate of authorization so you can have a new stamp made. (California Government Code sections 8206 and 8207.3(e).) Please refer to Contact Information for the mailing address.

What do I do with my notary public journal and stamp once my commission is no longer valid?

This is a common question the Secretary of State’s website answers well:

If any notary public resigns, is disqualified, removed from office, or allows his or her appointment to expire without obtaining reappointment within 30 days, all notarial records and papers must be delivered to the clerk of the county in which the notary public’s current official oath of office is on file within 30 days. The notary public stamp should be destroyed. (California Government Code section 8209(a).)

I did not file my oath and bond on time, what do I do?

This is why we stress you make a concerted effort to go to the county clerk early in the 30-day period to take, subscribe, and file the oath of office and the bond. The problem is if the oath and bond are not filed within the 30-calendar-day time period, the new commission will not be valid. Below is the Secretary of State’s answer on their website:

If you did not file your oath and bond on time, you must reapply to become a notary public.

If you are a new notary public applicant, you must attach a current Proof of Completion certificate of an approved six-hour notary public education course to your new notary public application, along with a 2″ x 2″ color passport photo of yourself and a check for $20.00. You also will need to submit new fingerprints via Live Scan.

If you are a notary public seeking reappointment and took an approved three-hour notary public refresher education course, you will still need to take an approved six-hour course. The three-hour course does not meet the education requirements once your current commission has expired. You will need to attach the Proof of Completion certificate for the six-hour course to a new notary public application, along with a 2″ x 2″ color passport photo of yourself and a check for $20.00. You also will need to submit new fingerprints via Live Scan.

If you are a notary public seeking reappointment and took an approved six-hour education course, you must attach a current Proof of Completion certificate to a new notary public application, along with a 2″ x 2″ color passport photo of yourself and a check for $20.00. You also will need to submit new fingerprints via Live Scan.