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How to Become a Notary Public in Georgia

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

Georgia Notary Process

Requirements to be a Notary in Georgia

General Notary Public Information

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Georgia Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public?

  1. Make sure you meet all of Georgia’s eligibility requirements (see below).
  2. Complete the application and bring it to the Clerk of Superior Court in your county of residence or employment.
  3. Pay the $37 filing fee and take your oath of office.
  4. The clerk’s office issues your Notary certificate of appointment.
  5. Buy your Notary seal.
  6. Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure (optional).
  7. Continuing education and Notary experts are always available if you want additional training or guidance.

How long does it take?

For new Notaries, you are required to take your application to the Clerk of Superior Court in person, where they issue your commission certificate while you are there. Some counties allow for a mail-in renewal, but the processing time would depend on that particular office.

How much does it cost?

The state filing fee is $37. The cost of your seal 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 Georgia Notaries but the Secretary of State does provide a free online course that explains Notary law and basic Notary procedures. You may also request “The Georgia Notary Handbook” through the Notary Handbook Online Order System or fill out the Notary Handbook Mail-In Order Form on the Georgia Secretary of State website.

Do I need to take an exam?

No, passing an exam is not required to become a Notary in Georgia.

What kind of supplies will I need?

You’ll need a Notary seal for every notarization you perform. The Notary seal may be a stamp or an embosser, but must contain your name, the words "Notary Public,” “Georgia" or “GA,” and the name of the county in which you are commissioned. Your commission expiration date on the seal is optional, but strongly recommended by the state, as this is required for some notarizations.

While a Notary journal is not required by law, Georgia considers it a best practice for Notaries to use a Notary record book.

It is strongly recommended that you use a journal of notarial acts to keep record of your notarizations, even though your state doesn’t require it. 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.

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.

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?

No. A bond is not required for Georgia Notaries, but many 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 Georgia.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Georgia

Who can become a Notary?

There are basic qualifications for a person to become a Notary in Georgia. Applicants must be 18 years old, reside in the state and be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S. You must also be a resident of the county in which you apply. If you reside in a state bordering Georgia, you must be employed in the county in which you apply. You must also have and provide an operating telephone number and be able to read and write English.

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General Notary Public Information

Although Georgia 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.

Where will I be able to notarize?

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

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. Georgia 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.

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

The process to renew your Georgia Notary Public commission is the same as applying for a new Notary commission. You may want to buy 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.

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