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How To Become A Notary Public In Michigan

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Michigan , this practical guide will answer many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, and find out how you can become a commissioned Notary. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a Michigan notary or renewing your Michigan commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Requirements to be a Notary in Michigan
Michigan Notary Process
What can I do with my Michigan Commission?
Additional Information

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Requirements to be a Notary in Michigan

 

Who can become a Michigan Notary?

To qualify to become a Notary in Michigan, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least eighteen (18) years old;
  • Be a Michigan resident or maintain a place of business in Michigan;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or possess proof of legal residence;
  • Be a resident of the county in which you request appointment (if you do not reside in Michigan, maintain a principal place of business in the county you request appointment);
  • Read and write the English language;
  • Be free of any felony convictions in the last 10 years (if previously convicted of a felony, the 10-year period includes completion of the sentence for that crime, any term of imprisonment, parole or probation, and payment of all fines, costs and assessments);
  • Have not been convicted of two or more misdemeanor offenses involving a violation of the Michigan Notary Public Act within a 12-month period while commissioned, or three or more misdemeanor offenses involving a violation of this Act within a five-year period regardless of being commissioned;

In addition, any individual currently serving a term of imprisonment in any state, county or federal correctional facility is prohibited from being appointed or serving as a Notary Public.

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Michigan Notary Process

 

How to become a Notary in Michigan
  1. Make sure you meet all qualifications under Michigan state law.
  2. Order your state-required bond and other supplies.
  3. File your $10,000 bond and take your oath of office with the local county clerk. (A $10 filing fee will apply.)
  4. Complete the application for a Michigan Notary Public Commission. Make sure that the name as you wish to be commissioned is entered in the “Commissioned Name” field on the application. Your signature on the application must match this name. Your current address must also match on both the application and driver’s license or identification card on file with the Secretary of State’s office. Any differences may cause a delay in processing the application.
  5. Submit your application and a $10 application fee (check or money order only) to the Office of the Great Seal:

Michigan Department of State
Office of the Great Seal

7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918

The application must be submitted within 90 days of swearing your oath and filing your bond.

  1. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  2. Begin performing notarizations for the public.
  3. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance. 
     

How to renew my Notary commission in Michigan

The process to renew your commission is the same as if you were a new Notary. Applications should be filed no early than 60 days prior to your current commission expiration date.

 

How long does a Michigan Notary commission last?

The Michigan Notary commission is valid for six (6) years, after which you will need to renew it to continue as a Notary.

How long does it take to become a Notary?

The process can take several weeks, once you have purchased your bond, completed and submitted your application, and received your official seal. Notaries renewing their commissions should apply no more than 60 days prior to the expiration of their current commission.

How much does it cost?

A $10 non-refundable processing fee applies, and must be sent along with the completed application. There is also a $10 fee for filing the surety bond (although that fee may be higher in some areas). The cost of the bond and seal will vary based upon the vendor chosen.

Is training or an exam required to become a Notary in Michigan?

No exam or training is required, but the Michigan Secretary of State does require that every Notary read the Michigan Notary Public Act prior to performing as a Notary.

Do I need a bond?

Michigan requires a Notary Public to hold a $10,000 surety bond, which must be filed at the office of the county clerk (filing fees apply). If the Notary acts improperly or is negligent, and there are financial damages, the bond will cover those damages. The company that issued the bond may require the Notary to pay back any damages covered. If you are a licensed attorney in the state of Michigan, you are not required to file a bond.

Do I need insurance?

Insurance is not required, although you have the option of purchasing a policy. Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance helps protect the Notary — if you make an unintentional mistake or a false claim is filed against you, an E&O policy will cover your legal fees and awarded damages up to the coverage you select.

What kind of equipment will I need?

The use of a seal is not required in Michigan, but is recommended. The seal must be clear, legible, able to be reproduced and include the following:

  • The name of the Notary as it appears on their commission certificate;
  • The statement: “Notary Public, State of Michigan, County of ______.”;
  • The statement: “My commission expires _______.”

The notarization must include the statement “Acting in the County of _______” if the act is performed somewhere other than the county of commission. The date the act was performed must also be noted.

When shopping for seals, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Ask if the seals carry a lifetime guarantee. In particular, stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging. If you choose to purchase an embosser, you will also need to purchase an embosser inker to satisfy the requirement that the impression is able to be photocopied.

A second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced.

Keeping a journal is not required in Michigan. However, if records or a journal is kept, the Michigan Notary Public Act requires those records to be kept for at least five years.

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What Can I Do With My Michigan Commission?

 

Where will I be able to notarize

Michigan Notaries can perform notarizations anywhere within the state.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for any member of the public who makes a reasonable request and meets all requirements for notarization such as personally appearing before you and providing satisfactory proof of identity. You cannot notarize your own signature or perform a notarization if you have a conflict of interest.

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Michigan Notary Additional Information

 

What is a Notary Public?

A Michigan Notary is an officer appointed by the Michigan Secretary of State to attest the authenticity of a person’s signature, to administer oaths, and to witness acknowledgments.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Secretary of State is responsible for commissioning Notaries Public in Michigan.

Why become a Notary?

Many employees of financial institutions, law firms, corporations and other businesses are asked to become Notaries to provide services for customers signing important documents.

Small business owners often find it helpful to offer notarization services — for example, many tax preparers and mailbox rental services have Notaries on staff.

If you’re employed in a job that requires documents to be signed on a regular basis, or wish to go into business for yourself in a field that involves essential document transactions such as real estate or finance, a Notary commission may be of help to you. Some people also become Notaries as a part-time or full-time business for themselves, traveling to a signer’s home or place of business to notarize documents for a fee.

What should I do if I move or change my name?

If you change your name or address (residence or business) during your commission, you need to notify the Office of the Great Seal immediately and submit a Request for Duplicate/Notice of Change form. There is no charge for changing the information.

What do I need to know about remote notarization in Michigan?

As of September 26, 2018, remote notarization is allowed in Michigan. You may not offer this service until after March 30, 2019 when the Secretary and Department begin reviewing and approving platforms. The NNA will update this information as needed. In the meantime, we’ve published an article describing what remote notarization is and what you need to know.

Once my current commission expires, will I be automatically reappointed?

No, you must meet the requirements and reapply for a new commission.

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