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How To Become A Notary Public In Montana

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Montana, 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 Montana notary or renewing your Montana commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Requirements to be a Notary in Montana
Montana Notary Process
What Can I Do With My Montana Commission?
General Notary Public Information

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Requirements to be a Notary in Montana 

Who can become a Notary?

A Notary Public applicant in Montana must meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be at least 18 years old
  2. Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  3. Be a resident or have a place of employment or practice in Montana
  4. Be able to read and write English
  5. Not have been disqualified to receive a commission as provided in 1-5-621 MCA.

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Montana Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public?
  1. Make sure you meet all of your state’s qualifications:
    • Must be at least 18 years old
    • Must be a resident of Montana, and have lived in Montana for at least 30 days preceding appointment
    • Never have been convicted of, or plead guilty to a felony
    • Never have had a Notary commission revoked in Montana or any other state
  2. Complete a state-certified training course.
  3. Obtain a $10,000 surety bond.
  4. Submit the completed application and oath of office, your surety bond and $25 filing fee to the Secretary of State’s office. Note that the application form must be notarized. Submit your application materials to:
    • Montana Secretary of State
      Certification and Notary Services
      ‚Äč PO Box 202801
      Helena MT 59620-2801
  5. Typically an applicant receives the commission certificate within 10-14 days.
  6. Purchase your Notary ink stamp seal.
  7. Purchase your journal.
  8. Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
  9. Begin performing notarizations for the public.
  10. If you determine you need additional training, seek out continuing education or consult Notary experts for guidance.

What is the process to renew my Notary Public commission?
  1. Submit a renewal application.
  2. Renew your $10,000 surety bond.
  3. Submit your $30 renewal fee.
  4. Purchase a new seal.
How long does a Montana Notary commission last?

The term of a Montana Notary commission is four years.

How long does it take?

The Secretary of State’s office estimates approximately 10-14 days to process a Notary commission application.

How much does it cost?

There is a $25 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission. Additional costs for Notary tools and education courses vary depending on vendors.

The cost of commissioning can differ depending on whether you are a new or renewing Notary. Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more “how-to” assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees — processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

What kind of training will I need?

First-time Notary applicants and renewing Notaries whose commissions have expired for more than 30 days must complete a training program certified by the Secretary of State..

Do I need to take an exam?

No, an exam is not required.

What kind of equipment will I need?

Montana Notaries must use an ink stamp for all notarial acts.

Montana Notaries must maintain a record of all notarial acts in an official journal..

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal — they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you are constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

When purchasing a journal, there are a few important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you’re ever named in a lawsuit.

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging.

What is a surety bond and do I need one?

Montana Notaries are required to purchase a $10,000 surety bond to protect signers against financial damages resulting from the Notary’s negligence or misconduct. A surety bond is a financial guarantee that the Notary will fulfill his or her obligations to notarize in compliance with state laws. This Notary bond specifically protects the public, not the Notary. Any damages paid from the bond go to cover any signer’s losses and must be paid back to the surety company by you.

Notaries can insure themselves against possible legal costs or damages by purchasing a separate, optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy. Though not required by law, an E&O policy covers a Notary’s legal fees and damages up to the amount of the policy.

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What Can I Do With My Montana Commission?

Where will I be able to notarize?

A Montana Notary can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state’s borders, or in North Dakota or Wyoming, which are bordering states that permit Montana Notaries to act in their jurisdictions. Even when in North Dakota or Wyoming, Montana Notaries must always follow the laws and rules of Montana when notarizing.

Who can I notarize for?

Any member of the public, as long as the request meets all statutory requirements for notarization.

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General Notary Public Information

What is a Notary Public?

A Montana Notary is appointed by the Secretary of State to be an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. Montana Notaries are authorized to administer several official acts, including oaths, affirmations and acknowledgments.

Why become a Notary?

Notaries perform an important role in preventing fraud and ensuring the integrity of transactions by verifying the identity of document signers. It’s common for employees of many businesses that deal with signed document transactions on a regular basis — such as financial institutions, law firms or corporations — to become Notaries. Some entrepreneurs become commissioned 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.

Which state government office handles Notaries?

The Montana Office of the Secretary of State, Notary and Certification Services, located in Helena.

May I become a Montana Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to become a Montana Notary Public. You must, however, meet all other application requirements.

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