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How To Become A Notary Public In Hawaii

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

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

 


Requirements to be a Notary in Hawaii 

Who can become a Notary?

There are basic qualifications for a person to become a Notary in Hawaii. All applicants must be 18 years of age. You must reside in Hawaii, and be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident alien authorized to work in the U.S. You must be able to read, write, and understand English. Applicants must also not be addicted to, dependent on, or a habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, opium, cocaine, or other drugs or derivatives of similar nature.

 

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Hawaii Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public?
  1. Make sure you meet all of Hawaii’s eligibility requirements.
  2. Complete your application online.
    • Include your $10 filing fee, unless you are exempt. If you are not exempt - a check, cashier's check or money order should be mad payable to 'State Director of Finance"
    • Include your letter of justification and character.
    • Include your letter of character
  3. Once your application has been approved, your exam date, time, and place will be provided to you, usually within two to three weeks of submission.
    • You may purchase or access a copy of Hawaii’s Notary Public Manual.
  4. Once you have been notified that you passed your exam:
    • Pay the $40 commission fee.
    • Purchase your Notary seal stamp.
  5. Purchase your $1,000/four-year bond from a surety company, which must be approved by a judge of the circuit court.
  6. File a copy of your commission and imprint of your Notary seal with the clerk of the circuit court where you reside. You will be charged a fee to file this.
  7. Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure.
  8. Continuing education and Notary experts are always available if you believe you need additional training or guidance.

What is the process to renew my commission as a Hawaii Notary?

The state will send you a renewal application two months before your commission expiration date. You may purchase a new Notary seal to reflect your updated commission expiration date. You may also choose to get a new record book (journal) if your old one is full.

  1. Make sure you meet all of Hawaii’s eligibility requirements.
  2. Complete your application online.
    • Include your $10 filing fee, unless you are exempt. If you are not exempt - a check, cashier's check or money order should be mad payable to 'State Director of Finance"
    • Include your letter of justification and character.
    • Include your letter of character
  3. Once your application has been approved, your exam date, time, and place will be provided to you, usually within two to three weeks of submission.
    • You may purchase or access a copy of Hawaii’s Notary Public Manual.
  4. Once you have been notified that you passed your exam:
    • Pay the $40 commission fee.
    • Purchase your Notary seal stamp.
  5. Purchase your $1,000/four-year bond from a surety company, which must be approved by a judge of the circuit court.
  6. File a copy of your commission and imprint of your Notary seal with the clerk of the circuit court where you reside. You will be charged a fee to file this.
  7. Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure.
  8. Continuing education and Notary experts are always available if you believe you need additional training or guidance.
How much does it cost?

The state application filing fee is $10. If you are a government Notary, there is no application fee. The cost of your bond, seal, journal, and Notary Public sign will vary based on the vendor you choose.

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?

Training is not required for Hawaii Notaries.

Do I need to take an exam?

Yes, passing an exam is required to become a Notary in Hawaii. The exam is given on Oahu at least once a month and on other islands periodically. You’ll schedule your exam online, once you’ve created an online account.

What kind of equipment will I need?

A Notary seal is required. Your Notary seal can be either an inked stamp or an embosser, but not both. The size of the seal must be circular, with a serrated or milled edge border. It must contain your name, commission number, “Notary Public”, and "State of Hawaii”. Note that your commission expiration date is not allowed in your seal. However, all Hawaii Notaries are also required to put their commission expiration date on all notarized documents.

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. A second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced, and an embosser can help add an additional layer of fraud prevention security.

A Notary journal is also required by law, which keeps record of your notarizations performed. 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. Simple notebooks or glue-bound journals simply do not offer the same level of security.

Unless you are a government Notary, you will also need to display a “NOTARY PUBLIC” sign, which must be no smaller than three inches by five inches.

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.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

Yes. A $1,000/four-year bond is required for Hawaii Notaries. Additionally, many also choose to purchase optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies to protect themselves from legal expenses. E&O insurance is not a requirement in Hawaii.

How long does it take?

The state will inform you if you have passed or failed the Notary exam within 30 days.

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What Can I Do With My Hawaii Commission?

Where will I be able to notarize?

You will be able to notarize anywhere in the state of Hawaii.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for everyone, excluding yourself. You cannot notarize your own signature, nor can you notarize documents you are named in or would benefit from. Hawaii law doesn’t specifically prohibit notarizing for a spouse or relative or for a spouse’s business. If you perform notarizations as part of your employment, your employer may limit the notarizations you perform during your work hours.

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General Notary Public Information

Why become a Notary?

Anyone who is interested in serving the public as an impartial witness should become a Notary. Notaries properly identify signers, and verify that the signer understands and is willing to sign the document in hand. Notaries help prevent fraud and add integrity, trust and authenticity to signatures on various important documents. Many companies in the healthcare, real estate finance and legal industries employ Notaries.

Although Hawaii does not require training, where can I get it?

You can find several reputable Notary Public training providers with a quick online search. It’s important to note that the Secretary of State does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does the Secretary endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training. Since the Secretary of State doesn’t have jurisdiction to take action regarding a business that offers Notary training, make sure you thoroughly review any company you plan to work with.

How much legal risk will I face?

It depends. Even the most careful and detail-oriented people can make mistakes. As a Notary Public, any unintentional mistake you make or intentional misconduct you engage in could be very costly for everyone involved. Notaries have been sued for financial damages that signers incur and lawsuits are expensive even if you’re innocent. If you are diligent in following the law and keep thorough records, you’ll be better prepared if any legal action does come your way

Can anyone help me become a Notary?

Yes. Several companies offer Notary training, supplies, insurance and assistance with the entire application process. Also, the Secretary of State’s website has the application with submission details, if you want to get the process started on your own.

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