Arizona Notary Handbook
Chapter 4. Notary Bond
401. Do I have to buy a bond before I can become a notary?
Yes. State law requires you to buy a surety bond before you receive your commission as a notary public and the rules of the Secretary of State's Office require the bond to be in the amount of $5,000. (A.R.S. §§ 41-312 and 41-315 and A.A.C. R2-12-1103) The bond must remain in effect for the four years of your commission. If your bond is cancelled by your bonding or insurance company before the end of your four-year commission, the Secretary of State will revoke your commission.
402. Where do I buy the bond? How much will it cost me?
You must buy a notary bond from a licensed surety. Bonds may be purchased from a notary bonding company, an insurance company, or through one of the two national notary organizations. Because prices vary, you may want to check with several companies or organizations before actually buying your bond. (A.R.S. § 41-315(A)) Please note, as stated in #411, that the State of Arizona does not designate an "official" bonding company.
403. Do I buy the bond before or after I send my application form to the Secretary of State?
If it is the first time you are applying for a notary commission you should buy the bond after you submit the application. Approximately two weeks after you submit your application you can check our website (www.azsos.gov) for your assignedcommission dates. Once you have the dates for the term of your notary commission you can then purchase a bond thatcontains the bond dates that match your notary commission dates. You then send the bond to the Clerk of the Superior Court in your county of residence along with the bond filing fee.
However, if you are renewing a notary commission it is suggested that you purchase your notary bond before sendingyour application and then submit your notary application, your notary application filing fee, and a copy of your notary bond tothe Secretary of State’s Office. (A.R.S. §§ 41-312(B) and 41-315). You still need to send the bond itself to the Superior Courtin your county of residence along with the bond filing fee. Because you are renewing a notary commission you already knowthe dates of your next notary commission since your next commission term begins the date after your present term expires and ends four years from that date. For example, if your commission expires on May 31, 2005, your next commission begins onJune 1, 2005 and ends on May 31, 2009. Therefore you would purchase a notary bond consisting of bond dates beginning June 1, 2005 and ending May 31, 2009. On a renewal, buying the bond first and sending us a copy will facilitate the processing time.
404. How old can the bond be for the Clerk of the Court to accept it?
The bond cannot be issued more than 60 days before or 30 days after the beginning date of the commission for which the bond was purchased. If the Secretary of State’s Office discovers that your bond dates do not fall within that 90-day window, we will notify you so that you can get a rider on your bond. Remember that the issue date of a bond may not be the same asthe date the bond takes effect. The law states that the time limits apply to the date of issuance of a bond. (A.R.S. § 41-315(B))
405. What happens if you cannot use the dates on the bond?
If you send us a copy of your bond with your application we will attempt to contact you to let you know that the bonddates are incorrect. If we cannot reach you by telephone, we will send you a letter specifying that the dates on your bond are incorrect and that you need to get a rider for your bond with the correct dates (the letter will specify the dates) and file therider with the Clerk of the Superior Court. For your county Court Clerk’s procedure, contact the Clerk’s office directly.
406. What if I do not buy my bond before I send you my renewal application?
We will send your commission certificate showing the dates we used to the Clerk of the Superior Court in your county ofresidence. By law, the Clerk is to notify you that the Clerk’s office has received your certificate from the Secretary of State’sOffice. You then have 20 days to buy your bond and submit it to the Clerk’s Office along with the appropriate filing fee.
407. The bond I am required to buy protects me if I inadvertently do something wrong, doesn’t it?
No. The surety bond that you are required to buy before being commissioned as a notary protects the public for whomyou are performing the notarizations. If you wish to protect yourself, you may wish to purchase Errors and Omissions Insurance (also called E&O Insurance). E&O insurance will protect you in the event your mistake is inadvertent. Please note that, if you intentionally do something wrong when performing a notarization, nothing will protect you.
410. Can I sign my name any way I want on the bond or does my signature have to match something?
Your signature on your notary bond MUST match the signature on your application form.
411. Does the State of Arizona designate an “official” bonding company?
No. The State of Arizona does not designate an “official” bonding company. However, one or more bonding companiesmay solicit your business and you might think, because of the wording of their material that they send to you, that a particular company has been designated as the “official” bonding company for Arizona. DO NOT be misled.
Arizona Notary Law
- A person who has been commissioned as a notary shall file an oath of office and a bond in an amount prescribed by the secretary of state with the clerk of the superior court in the notary’s county of residence in order for the commission to become effective. A licensed surety shall execute the bond. The bond shall be effective for four years beginning on the commission’s effective date.
- The clerk of the superior court shall not accept any bond that was issued more than sixty days before or thirty days after the date on which the secretary of state commissions a notary.
Rules of the Office of the Secretary of State
TITLE 2. ADMINISTRATION
CHAPTER 12. SECRETARY OF STATE
ARTICLE 11. NOTARY PUBLIC BONDS AND FEES
- Notaries public shall purchase a bond in the amount of $5,000 before being commissioned as a notary public. The original bond shall be filed with the clerk of the superior court in the applicant’s county of residence. A copy of the bond shall be filed with the applicant’s application form submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office.
- The bond shall contain, on its face, the oath of office for the notary public as specified in A.R.S. § 38-233(B). This oath shall be as specified in A.R.S. § 38-231. The notary shall endorse the oath on the face of the bond, immediately below the oath, by signing the notary’s name under which the person has applied to be commissioned as a notary and exactly as the name appears on the notary application form filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.