Becoming A Notary Handbook

Notary Public Defined

Qualifications

Application process

  1. Complete the Application

Michigan Department of Corrections Employees

  1. Obtain a Surety Bond

  2. File the Surety Bond with the County Clerk

  3. Swear an Oath of Office with the County Clerk

  4. Submit a filing fee payment to the County Clerk

  5. File the completed Application and an additional $10.00 fee to the Department of State

Length of Appointment

Commission Renewal

Reporting Change/Corrections

 

Notary Public Defined

A notary public is an officer commissioned by the Michigan Secretary of State to serve as an unbiased and impartial witness on business, public and other documents. The most common function of the notary is to prevent fraud by attesting to the identity of a person signing a document. A notarization on a document certifies that the person whose signature is entered on the document personally appeared before the notary, established his or her identity, and personally signed the document in the presence of the notary.

 

Qualifications

To meet the qualifications of a Michigan Notary Public, all the following must be met by the applicant.

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a Michigan resident or maintain a place of business in Michigan
  • Be a U.S. citizen or possess proof of legal presence
  • Be a resident of the county in which you request appointment (if you do not reside in Michigan, maintain a principal place of business in the county you request appointment)
  • Read and write in the English language
  • Be free of any felony convictions within the past 10 years (if previously convicted of a felony, the 10-year period includes completion of the sentence for that crime, any term of imprisonment, parole, or probation, and payment of all fines, costs, and assessments)
  • Have not been convicted of 2 or more misdemeanor offenses involving a violation of the Michigan Notary Public Act within a 12-month period while commissioned, or 3 or more misdemeanor offenses involving a violation of this Act within a 5-year period regardless of being commissioned
  • Have filed with the appropriate county clerk a proper surety bond in the amount of $10,000 and taken the oath of office as prescribed by the State Constitution (Michigan licensed attorneys are exempt
  • Sign a declaration that all information on your application for Michigan Notary Public Commission is correct, that you have read the Michigan Notary Public Act, and that you will perform all notarial acts faithfully
  • Are not currently serving a term of imprisonment in any state, county or federal correctional facility is prohibited from being appointed or serving as a notary public

 

Application process

The application process is a joint process between the Michigan Department of State and the County Clerk’s Office. 

  1. Complete the Application:  Fill out the Application completely and legibly. 

    Michigan Department of Corrections Employees (MDOC): MDOC employees who are required to perform notarial services must follow specific guidelines as directed by MDOC. Please contact your institutional business office or designee for further information.

     

  2. Obtain a Surety Bond: Notaries public are required to obtain a $10,000.00 surety bond and file it at the office of the county clerk in the county where the notary will be appointed. The cost of a surety bond will vary--generally between $50.00 to $100.00. A surety must be licensed to do business in this state. You can search for licensed agencies at www.michigan.gov/difs. More information on the Surety Bond can be found on our website.

     

  3. File the Surety Bond with the County Clerk: Present the surety bond and the completed application to the County Clerk’s office

     

  4. Swear an Oath of Office with the County Clerk: The oath of office is an oral or written statement taken at your County Clerk's office when you file your bond. (If you are a Michigan resident, this must be your county of residence.) The oath is a pledge that you will uphold the constitution and perform your duties with reasonable care. After an oath is administered, a verification is completed by the clerk (or clerk designee) attesting that you swore to the statement.

Example Oath Wording: Do you solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State, and that you will discharge the duties of the office of Notary Public in and for said County to the best of your ability?

  1. Submit a filing fee payment to the County Clerk: To complete the County Clerk process, the County Clerk will collect a fee.  The fee is usually $10.00, but some counties can charge more. 

  2. File the completed Application and an additional $10.00 fee to the Department of State: Once you have fulfilled the filing requirements at the county level, forward the completed application with a $10.00 non-refundable processing fee (check or money order payable to the "State of Michigan")  to:

Michigan Department of State
Office of the Great Seal
7064 Crowner Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48918

 

Length of Appointment: Each notary public commission is for a 6 to 7-year period ending on the notary's birthday. The term is not less than 6 or more than 7 years from the date of appointment.

  • If your commission date is before your birthday in that calendar year the term will be 6 years from your birthday.
  • If your commission date is after your birthday in that calendar year the term will be 7 years from your birthday.

 

Note:  The Secretary of State issues the official commission expiration date as shown on your Notary Public commission card and certificate as well as your official commissioned name and county of commission. Please do not use the commission expiration date shown on the surety bond, as it is not the official State issued expiration date.  It is recommended that supplies such as stamps are not purchased until you have confirmed the issued by this office.  Go to http://services2.sos.state.mi.us/notarysearch/.

 

Commission Renewal: To renew a commission with no gap in the commission dates, the application process must be completed within 60 days of the current expiration date.  Since there is no automatic renewal process a commission will simply expire if it is not actively renewed.

Reporting Change/Corrections: To report changes, use the Request for Notice of Change form.  This form is used to report changes to one’s name, residence and/or business address. There is no need to reapply and there is no charge to correct our records.