How to Become a Notary Public in Iowa How to Become a Notary Public in Iowa

How to Become a Notary Public in Iowa

How to Become a Notary Public in Iowa

Are You a Business in Iowa in Need of a Notary?

If you’re interested in becoming a notary public in Iowa, just follow these simple steps:

  • Fill out the application form to officially apply and make your oath of office.
  • Mail your application with a $30 fee to the Notary Division of the Secretary of State’s office.
  • After your application is approved, you’ll receive your notary commission in the mail.
  • You need an official seal to notarize documents.
  • Consider getting Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance to reduce your financial risks.
  • If you want some extra guidance, consider taking Notary education courses from reputable sources like the BlueNotary Academy.

Are You a Business in Iowa in Need of a Notary?

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How to Become a Notary Public in Iowa

What are the Requirements to Become a Notary in Iowa?

If you’re thinking about becoming a notary public in Iowa, here’s what you need to qualify:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You need to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident, and you should live or work in Iowa. If you live in a neighboring state, you can also apply.
  • You must be able to read and write in English.
  • You should not have any felony convictions for fraud, dishonesty, or deceit.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Notary Public in Iowa?

Becoming a notary in Iowa involves a few costs:

  • There is a $30 fee to apply for a Notary Public commission.
  • The state-required training course also costs $30.
  • The prices for notary supplies like seals and journals vary depending on where you buy them.

Additional Costs:

  • If you’re new to being a notary, you might need extra help. This can include books, training courses, and live expert advice, which will add to your costs.
  • The cost can differ if you are renewing your commission. Prices for supply packages also vary among different vendors.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Notary in Iowa?

It typically takes about four to six weeks for your Notary Public commission application to be processed by the Iowa Secretary of State. Make sure to allow this much time to complete the process.

What Supplies Do Iowa Notaries Need?

As a notary in Iowa, you are required to use a special stamp to notarize documents. This stamp must be capable of being photocopied along with the document it’s used on. Here’s what needs to be on your notary seal:

  • It should match exactly as it appears on your commission.
  • Must include the words “Notarial Seal.”
  • State Identification: The word “Iowa” should be clearly visible.
  • Include the commission number assigned to you by the Secretary of State. This should either be the exact date your commission expires or a blank line where you can write the date.

How long does a Notary commission last in Iowa?

In Iowa, the length of a notary commission depends on where you live:

  • For Iowa Residents: Your notary commission will last for three years.
  • For Residents of Neighboring States: If you live in a state that borders Iowa, your commission will last for one year.

What About Bonds or Insurance for Iowa Notaries?

In Iowa, notaries are not required to have a surety bond. A surety bond is essentially a financial safety net. It guarantees that a notary will carry out their duties according to state laws. This bond is designed to protect the public, not the notary, by covering any losses that might arise from a notarization that was improperly carried out.

However, while not mandatory, you might consider getting Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. This is separate from a surety bond and serves to protect you, the notary, rather than the public. E&O insurance helps cover legal costs or damages you might face while performing your notarial duties up to the limit of the policy.

Iowa Notary Public FAQs

Who Oversees Notaries in Iowa?

In Iowa, the Notary Public commissions are handled by the Iowa Office of the Secretary of State, Notary Division. This office is located in Des Moines, Iowa. They are responsible for commissioning notaries public in the state.

Do I need Training to Become a Notary in Iowa?

In Iowa, there is no legal requirement to take a training course or pass an exam to become a notary. However, it’s highly recommended that you prepare yourself by studying the Handbook for Iowa Notaries Public. This handbook provides valuable information about the duties and responsibilities of a notary.

Additionally, even though it’s not mandatory, taking a training course can be very beneficial. The BlueNotary Academy offers a course tailored specifically for Iowa notaries. This course can help you feel more confident and knowledgeable about your notarial duties before you start.

Can I become a Notary Public in Iowa if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes, you can become a notary public in Iowa even if you are not a U.S. citizen. However, you do need to be a permanent legal resident of the United States. This means you must have legal residency status to qualify for a notary commission in Iowa.

Where will I be able to notarize?

As a notary public in Iowa, you are authorized to perform notarial acts anywhere within the state’s borders. This gives you the flexibility to serve the public across the entire state of Iowa.

Who can I notarize for?

As an Iowa notary, you can notarize documents for any member of the public. This is provided that the notarization meets all legal requirements set by the state. However, there are a couple of important restrictions:

  • You cannot notarize your own documents or those of your spouse.
  • You must not perform a notarial act if you or your spouse have a direct beneficial interest in the transaction.

These rules help ensure that notarizations are conducted impartially and ethically.

How much can I charge for my notary services?

In Iowa, notaries are allowed to charge a reasonable fee for each notarization they perform. It’s considered best practice to clearly inform the signer of your fees in advance. This transparency helps avoid any confusion about the cost of your notarial services.

Is Online Notary Legal in Iowa?

Yes, remote online notarization (RON) is legal in Iowa as of July 1, 2020. To become an online notary, you must first be commissioned as a traditional notary public. After obtaining your commission, you can follow specific steps to qualify as a remote notary in Iowa. This allows you to notarize documents online, providing a convenient option for both you and the signers.

What happens if I move or change my name after becoming a Notary?

If You Move: Update your address by submitting a “Notary Public Change/Amendment to Application” form to the Iowa Secretary of State.

If You Change Your Name, You have two options:

  • Start using your new name immediately. You should submit the same change/amendment form to update your records with the Secretary of State.
  • Continue using the name on your current commission until the end of your notary term. However, we recommend that you update your name as soon as possible. This helps ensure all documents and verifications remain consistent, especially if a third party needs to confirm your commission.

How do I renew my Iowa Notary Public Commission?

The renewal process for a notary commission in Iowa is straightforward and follows the same steps as your initial application. About two months before your commission is set to expire, the Iowa Secretary of State will send you a renewal form.

To ensure continuous service, complete this form and submit it according to the instructions provided. This proactive approach helps avoid any lapse in your notary commission, allowing you to continue giving notary services without interruption.

How do I become an Online Notary in Iowa?

We have already explained how to do this in our How to Become an Online Notary in Iowa guide. It is an in-depth guide that gives all you need to become a notary in Iowa for online purposes.

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