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How to Become a Notary Public in Illinois

If you're interested in becoming a Notary Public in Illinois, this practical guide answers many common questions. Learn about notarial duties and find out how you can receive a Notary commission from the state. Once you're ready to begin the process of becoming an Illinois notary or renewing your Illinois commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

If you're not quite ready yet, we have additional resources where you can learn what a Notary iswhat they do and why you should become a commissioned Notary.

Illinois Notary Process
Requirements to be a Notary in Illinois
General Notary Public Information

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BECOME a Notary

Illinois Notary Process

To become a Notary in Illinois, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements in Illinois (see below).
  2. Get your $5,000 surety bond. Choose a bonding company authorized to do business in Illinois and have them fill out the bond section of your Notary application.
  3. Complete the entire application to become an Illinois Notary. Use our application wizard to avoid errors.
  4. Take your oath of office. You’ll need to bring your application to a Notary who will administer the oath and notarize your application.
  5. Photocopy the front and back of your driver’s license or state ID card.
  6. Submit your application with the copy of your ID.
  7. Buy your Notary seal and other supplies.
  8. You will receive a notification from your county clerk to appear within 30 days or request your commission by mail.
  9. Receive and record your commission with the county clerk and pay the $10 fee.

How long does it take to become a Notary in Illinois?

It can take 5-8 weeks for the state to issue your Notary commission. The Secretary of State will forward it to your county clerk who will notify you to appear at their office to receive your commission. You can request to receive it by mail too.

How much does it cost?

The filing fee for an Illinois Notary application is $10. The cost of your bond, seal and journal will vary based on the vendor you choose. Be sure to check the fine print and product quality before buying your supplies. Some vendors may package items with additional or hidden fees – processing fees for example.

New Notaries may need more assistance than experienced Notaries. Training courses, books and live expert assistance are often must-haves for new Notaries who are learning how to perform their duties.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Illinois

 

Who can become a Notary?

There are several qualifications for a person to become an Illinois Notary. You must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • Be an Illinois resident, or employed in the state and reside in a qualifying border state (excludes Indiana), for 30 days.
  • Provide your date of birth.
  • Be able to read and write in English.
  • Not be convicted of a felony.
  • Not have a previous Notary commission revoked or suspended in the last 10 years.

What kind of training will I need?

Training is not required for Illinois Notaries but, as with anything new and unfamiliar, it's a good idea to take a course that will help you fully understand how to properly perform your important duties.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

Notaries in Illinois are required by law to purchase a $5,000, four-year surety bond from a company qualified to write bonds in the state. A bond is not insurance. A bond is a financial guarantee from a bonding company to those who rely on a Notary, and experience financial damages because a Notary intentionally or unintentionally violated a law. If damages are paid out from the bond, you will need to repay your surety company.

Since a surety bond does not protect the Notary, many Notaries 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 Illinois.

What kind of supplies will I need?

In addition to a $5,000 surety bond, you’ll need a Notary seal stamp. Stamps should not bleed during or after use. Ask the vendor you choose about product guarantees because quality and durability can vary greatly

A Notary journal or record book is required if you charge fees for your services. It's recommended as a best practice to record all notarizations in your journal. When you’re deciding which journal to buy, look for security features like tamper-proof sewn binding.

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.

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General Notary Public Information

 

Where will I be able to notarize?

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

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize documents for everyone who presents acceptable identification, excluding yourself.

Illinois law doesn’t specifically prohibit notarizing for family members, but you can’t notarize documents you are named in or would benefit from. You can’t notarize for someone you know is adjudged mentally ill or for a blind person unless you read the document to them. You can’t notarize for people who don’t understand English unless the document being notarized is translated into a language they do understand.

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

You can find several Notary Public training options online, including the NNA's Notary Essentials course. Online training can be convenient and can do an excellent job of preparing you for your new responsibilities. It's important to thoroughly review any company you plan to work with, as some have courses developed by on-staff Notary experts and some simply consist of information pulled from other, more authoritative, sources.

What are the most common errors made by Notaries?

Failing to properly identify a person, failing to administer an oath or affirmation, and failing to affix the Notary seal are the most common oversights made by both new and experienced Notaries.

How much legal risk will I face?

It depends. Even the most careful and detail-oriented people can make mistakes. As a Notary Public, you handle documents that are central to important transactions. Any mistake you make or misconduct you engage in could be very costly for everyone involved. But you can be sued even if you’ve done nothing wrong, and lawsuits can be expensive. If you are diligent in following the law and keep thorough records, you’ll be better prepared for any legal action that comes your way.

How do I renew my Notary commission in Illinois?

About 60 days prior to your commission expiration date, the state will mail you a notice with a new application and bond form. You must maintain your $5,000 surety bond and buy a new Notary seal with your updated commission expiration date.

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