Regular Notary Commission Protect yourself and your employer by being aware of your duties, responsibilities and liability as a Notary Public. All notaries are personally liable for every notarial act that they perform. If someone suffers damages as a result of your improper or illegal notarization, whether the act was intentional or unintentional, you face unlimited liability for those damages. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with Alaska’s notary law (see sidebar) and common law notarial practices and procedures. If you need assistance with any notarization or have questions about notarial practices and procedures, contact the Lieutenant Governor’s office for assistance. If you have held a prior commission or your current commission is about to expire: There is not a special process for renewing a notary commission. Each commission is for a four-year period and when one commission expires, or is about to expire, you must apply for a new commission if you wish to continue functioning as a notary public. Commissions cannot be backdated. If you have a current commission that is about to expire and wish for your next commission to expire on the same month and day as your current commission you will need to submit your application about one month before your current commission expires. If you submit an application and your current commission will not expire for a month or longer afterwards, your application will be held until 30 days prior to the expiration of your current commission before it is issued. Overview of the application process To apply for a regular notary commission, please acquire and submit the following materials: 1. A new notary bond (see instructions below for more information). 2. A completed application form. 3. $40.00 application fee (checks payable to “State of Alaska,” we also accept Visa and Mastercard). The State of Alaska’s EIN number is 92-6001185. These materials should be submitted together to avoid any delay in processing your application. Apply online Applicants who have internet access, active myAlaska accounts, the ability to receive email messages and scan documents and who can pay the $40.00 application fee with Visa or Mastercard may now apply online through the state’s online notary database web application available at http://notaries.alaska.gov. Please contact the notary office if you need help with your online application. Detailed instructions for applications 1. PREPARE/PURCHASE/ACQUIRE YOUR NOTARY BOND Each time you apply for a notary commission you must submit a new $1,000 notary bond. What is a Notary Bond? In theory, notary bonds protect the public against financial loss caused by notarial misconduct. They are not insurance for the notary and do not serve to protect the notary. Rather, the bond is a contract between the notary and the Surety, who agrees to pay up to $1,000.00 to an obligee when terms of the bond apply. Alaska’s $1,000.00 bond requirement does not prevent the damaged party from suing the notary for the full amount of their losses. Many applicants have been requested by an employer to function as a notary. In most of these situations you will not be the first employee to become a notary and your employer will have long ago decided how they would like to acquire the necessary bond. Before you put too much effort into learning about notary bonds, try going back to whoever is asking you to do this and see if they already have a prefered method for obtaining the necessary bond. Accounts payable clerks can be a good resource for figuring out if your employer purchases commercial notary bonds. If you or your employer prefer not to purchase a commercial bond, the bonding requirement can also be met using an individual Surety via our blank notary bond form. Since the notary bond is mandatory for all regular notary commissions, please do not submit your application until you have the required notary bond in hand. The bond itself is mandatory and no other documentation related to the purchase of a bond is acceptable. Similarly, there are no substitutes for this bond. There is no other type of insurance or bond that you or your employer already have that will be accepted in lieu of the required $1,000 Alaska notary bond. If you purchase a commercial notary bond, submit the bond and any supporting documentation that is provided to you by your insurance/bonding company as part of your commission application. There is no need to submit the state’s blank notary bond form in addition to a commercial notary bond. The blank form is only intended to be used by applicants who are supplying their own third party individual Surety. The Surety must always be a third party (applicants may not function as their own Surety.) The bond obligates your Surety unconditionally for the entire four-year period of your commission. If you choose to fill out the State’s notary bond form instead of purchasing a commercial notary bond please make sure that your Surety understands that once the commission is issued they will be liable for the bond for the entire four year period and will not be able to withdraw from their obligation as Surety. Notaries may submit subsquent bonds (to become effective upon receipt,) but Sureties do not have the ability to withdraw support from a bond once it has been accepted by the state and the commission has been issued. Sureties/employers have no authority to request that regular notary commissions be revoked – even if the employer has paid fees and expenses related to the employee’s commission – since the commission is issued to the individual notary and not the employer/business. Also, when a notary-employee terminates employment they remain commissioned notaries and if the employer has accepted direct liability for the ex-employee’s notary bond, they will remain liable for that notary bond even after the employee terminates. It’s possible that the money saved by assuming the liability for these bonds directly is worth the risk involved in doing so, but if the employer does not wish to end up in this situation they should purchase commercial notary bonds for their employee-notaries rather than assume the liability for their bonds directly. Either way, this is a decision that will need to be made at the time the notary applies. Once the commission is issued the employer is stuck with whatever bond was submitted as part of the application. We will accept replacement bonds during the term of any active regular commission, but any subsequent bond that is accepted cannot retroactively cover the notarizations previously performed by the notary and will only be in effect moving forward from the date that it is accepted until the end of the commission. The original bond will still be covering the period the notary was active prior to the acceptance of subsequent bonds. Since government entities cannot be held liable for notarizations that are not related to their official function, we cannot allow government entities at any level or of any type to function as Surety on a notary bond. Each notary bond only covers one four year commission. The effective dates of the bonds must exactly match the dates of the commission, so all notary bonds submitted are actually open ended (regardless of any attempts by bonding agents, etc. to assign effective dates to them) and only receive their actual effective dates at the moment the Lieutenant Governor issues the notary commission. The way that our notary statutes are constructed prevents any other interpretation or approach, and the only solution in instances where bonding companies disagree with this assessment will be for the State to refuse to accept bonds from those businesses from that point forward. If we have accepted a notary bond as part of an application that Surety is obligated to honor the bond for any claims submitted during the term of the commission it was attached to. Each bond only covers a single four year regular commission. When one commission has expired (or is about to expire) you will need to execute or purchase a new notary bond as the old bond will have technically expired at the same moment that the notary commission expires. 2. WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR NOTARY BOND IN HAND, COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM (OR APPLY ONLINE) Please fill out the application form according to the included instructions and submit it along with your notary bond and fee. You need to have the oath on the application form administered to you by a notary and your signature on it notarized, and can ignore any oath on your notary bond. Please read the instructions carefully since there may be a delay in processing your application if you do not fill out the form properly. 3. CHECK YOUR APPLICATION PACKET Please make sure that your application form and bond have been properly completed according to the instructions. Missing and/or incomplete forms and fees or sending photocopies of documents instead of originals will delay the processing of your application. 4. SEND YOUR COMPLETED NOTARY BOND, APPLICATION FORM AND YOUR $40.00 APPLICATION FEE (MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO “STATE OF ALASKA”) TO (OR APPLY ONLINE): Office of the Lieutenant Governor Notary Public Office 240 Main Street, Room 301 Juneau, AK 99801 5. FOLLOW UP It may take up to a month to process your commission application. Please contact the office if you have not received your commission in the mail within four weeks after mailing it. 6. IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS OR NEED ASSISTANCE Please call or email with any additional questions, for hard copies of the required forms, or if you need assistance with your application. Copies of the forms you need to use for your application can be found on this site by clicking on this link. Thanks, and please let us know if you need assistance, [email protected] (907) 465-3509 (907) 465-5400 fax (877) 764-1234 toll free within Alaska Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays.