How to Become a Notary Public in Maine How to Become a Notary Public in Maine

How to Become a Notary Public in Maine

How to Become a Notary Public in Maine

Here are the steps to become a Notary Public in Maine:

  • Obtain and complete the application form, which includes an open-book exam.
  • Submit the completed application along with a $50 commission fee to the Maine Secretary of State’s office.
  • After approval, you’ll receive a Certificate of Office and a Certificate of Qualification in the mail.
  • Within 30 days of receiving the credentials, make an appointment with a Dedimus Justice to take the Oath of Office.
  • Return the completed Certificate of Qualification to the Secretary of State within 45 days.
  • Purchase a notary journal and a notary seal to perform your duties.
  • While not mandatory, Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance is highly recommended for protection. 

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What are the Requirements to Become a Notary in Maine?

To qualify as a Notary Public in Maine, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a resident of Maine or have a place of business or employment located in Maine.
  • Demonstrate the ability to read, write, and understand English effectively.
  • Not have had a Notary commission revoked or suspended for misconduct in Maine or any other jurisdiction within the past five years.
  • Not have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more or a lesser offense deemed incompatible with the duties of a Notary Public within the past ten years.

Where can I find a Dedimus Justice?

Visit the official website of the Maine Secretary of State. They likely maintain a directory or search function to locate Dedimus Justices within the state. Check local libraries or town offices. Many stock the “Maine Register,” a publication that often includes listings of Dedimus Justices within the state.

What is the Cost to Become a Notary Public in Maine?

There are a few categories of costs to consider when becoming a Notary Public in Maine:

  • A $50 Application Fee is mandatory and must be paid to the Maine Secretary of State’s office when you submit your application for a Notary commission.
  • While not mandatory, Notary Bond/Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance is highly recommended for liability protection. Prices vary depending on the provider.
  • The cost of a Notary Journal and Notary Seal varies depending on the vendor and features.
  • Finally, education Courses are not mandatory but can be helpful, especially for new Notaries. Costs will vary depending on the vendor, the type of course, and whether it’s included in a package deal.

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

Expect the process to take 4-6 weeks. This depends on your speed and the Secretary of State’s processing time (typically 15-20 business days). Complete the application quickly, then factor in scheduling the oath and returning documents within the deadlines.

What Supplies Do Maine Notaries Need?

Being a Maine Notary Public doesn’t require specific supplies, but having these tools will make your life easier and project a professional image:

  • Notary Seal (Optional but Recommended): This stamp (or embosser) helps authenticate your notarizations. It should include your name, “Notary Public,” “State of Maine,” and your commission expiry date. Choose a high-quality seal that doesn’t bleed ink to avoid document rejections.
  • Notary Journal: This bound book with numbered pages keeps a record of your notarizations. Look for a journal with tamper-proof sewn binding to prevent tampering. Skip the regular notebooks – Maine requires a specific format.

How long does a Notary commission last in Maine?

A Maine Notary Public Commission is valid for seven years. This means you can perform notarization acts within the state for that duration without needing to renew your commission.

What About Bonds or Insurance for Maine Notaries?

While Maine doesn’t require Notaries to purchase a surety bond, understanding the difference between a bond and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance can help you make informed decisions about protecting yourself and your clients.

A Surety Bond serves to safeguard the public, not the Notary. If a signer suffers financial loss due to your negligence or misconduct while performing a notarization, the bond will cover those damages. However, any amount paid out by the surety company must be reimbursed by you, the Notary.

Unlike a surety bond,  Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance is designed to protect you, the Notary. In the event of a legal claim arising from errors or omissions during a notarization, your E&O policy would cover your legal defense costs and any damages awarded up to the policy limit.

How to Become a Notary Public in Maine

Maine Notary Public FAQs

Who Oversees Notaries in Maine?

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State is your one-stop shop for becoming a Notary Public. Their Notary Public Section issues commissions, maintains records and provides resources to guide you through the process.

Do I need Training to Become a Notary in Maine?

Formal training isn’t required, but it equips you to ace the exam and excel as a Notary. Consider the BlueNotary Academy or similar vendors. Training strengthens your knowledge, reduces errors, and boosts confidence. Choose a course that aligns with your learning style and covers the Maine Notary Public exam content.

Can I become a Maine Notary if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Becoming a Maine Notary Public is open to all qualified individuals, regardless of U.S. citizenship. As long as you meet the age, residency/employment, and background check requirements, you can apply. The Secretary of State’s website has details and resources to guide you through the process.

Where will I be able to notarize?

As a commissioned Maine Notary Public, your authority to perform notarizations is geographically limited to within the state of Maine. You cannot use your commission to notarize documents outside of Maine’s borders.

Who can I notarize for?

Maine Notaries can assist the public with notarizations, but they have some limitations. You cannot notarize the document for yourself, close relatives (including in-laws and step/half relatives), your spouse/partner, or anyone you have a financial interest in.

How much can I charge for my notary services?

Maine doesn’t set specific rates, so aim for reasonable fees reflecting your time, expertise, and local market rates. Always disclose fees upfront to avoid misunderstandings.

Is Online Notary Legal in Maine?

Online notarization is legal in Maine as of July 1, 2023, thanks to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). While a temporary authorization existed before, it expired in January 2023. 

However, keep in mind that:

  • Notaries need approval from the Secretary of State for online notarizations.
  • Specific technology is required.
  • Document types might have limitations. 

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

Report address or name changes to the Secretary of State within 30 days (free online update on their website).

For name changes, provide a copy of legal documentation (marriage license, etc.). A new Certificate of Office isn’t automatic, but you can 

How do I renew my Maine Notary Public Commission?

Complete the online renewal process on the Secretary of State’s website, including the 30-question exam and $50 fee. Get the downloadable Certificate of Qualification and have your residency validated. Have the application notarized, then take the oath of office before a Dedimus Justice. Submit the completed application package to the Secretary of State’s office.

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