Washington state notary publics need to apply for appointment and get a $10,000 surety bond before providing notary services. Appointments are valid for a four-year term and the bond must cover the full term.
Applying for Washington state notary public appointment
Before submitting an application for a Washington state notary public appointment, make sure you meet the state’s eligibility criteria:
- At least 18 years old
- Fluent in written and spoken English
- Live in Washington or live in Idaho or Oregon while employed or regularly doing business in Washington
- Get a $10,000 surety bond covering the four-year appointment period
The surety bond is a guarantee to your clients that you adhere to all laws for notaries in Washington. It provides a line of credit in the event that a claim is made against your bond and proven. The surety company will pay the claim (up to the full amount of your bond), though you will need to reimburse the surety for any paid claims.
If you’ve determined that you are eligible to become a Washington state notary, submit the following information to the Washington Department of Licensing:
Send materials to the DOL at this address:
Notary Public Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 35001
Seattle, WA 98124-3401
Allow 30 days for application processing. After you receive your certificate, you’ll need to get a stamp or seal. Washington does not mandate the stamp’s color, but it must adhere to sizing and content requirements. You can purchase stamps or seals online or through an office supply store.
Tips for new notaries
If you’re a new notary, the DOL has several suggestions for best practices. Though not required by law, these tips can help you be successful and organized as a notary.
- Keep a journal of all notarial acts. Even though it’s not a law in Washington, having a record of all of your transactions can be helpful for your own record-keeping purposes. It can also provide proof that you acted in accordance with the law if you’re accused of wrongdoing.
- Be familiar with Washington’s laws for notaries public.
- Take a notary education class—check out the DOL’s suggestions for recommended education providers.
- Exercise your right to refuse to perform a notarial act. Don’t let yourself be talked into performing any acts that seem erroneous—you can be sued or face criminal conviction.
- Notify the DOL if your address changes.