How to Become a Notary Public in Maryland How to Become a Notary Public in Maryland

How to Become a Notary Public in Maryland

How to Become a Notary Public in Maryland (Get your Notary Commission)

The process of becoming a Maryland Notary Public involves several distinct steps and requirements that aspiring Notaries must fulfill.

  1. Ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements set forth by the state of Maryland.
  2. Obtain three character references. Note that these references should not be family members or employers. Maryland residents are preferred for this purpose.
  3. Enroll in a training course and successfully pass the exam offered by a state-approved provider.
  4. Complete the Notary Public Application online. This application should include your provided references, electronic copies of your certificates demonstrating course completion and exam success, your choice of state senator or county for commission, and the payment of a $9 application fee.
  5. The Division will send your application to your chosen state senator for endorsement. If the senator grants approval, the application is then returned to the Secretary of State for further processing.
  6. Upon approval by the Governor, your Notary appointment will be confirmed, and your Notary commission will be sent to the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office.
  7. The Secretary of State’s office will notify you via email to appear before the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office within 30 days.
  8. Contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office to either schedule an appointment or confirm walk-in availability. Attend the appointment to take your oath and pay an $11 fee. Your commission certificate will then be emailed to you.
  9. Purchase your Notary seal and journal to fulfill your official duties as a Notary Public.
  10. Consider obtaining Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, which is optional but strongly recommended for added protection in your Notary role.

Once you have completed all these steps and obtained your commission you are ready to start performing notarial acts as a commissioned notary in Maryland.

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What are the requirements to become a Notary in Maryland?

To become a Notary Public in Maryland, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Be at least 18 years old.
  2. Demonstrate good moral character, integrity, and competence.
  3. Reside in Maryland or have a place of employment or practice within the state.

For further details, consult the Maryland Notary Handbook or the Maryland SoS Website.

What are the financial requirements for becoming a Notary?
To pursue a Notary Public commission, an initial non-refundable application fee of $25 is required. Upon approval, a separate $11 fee is due to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the oath-taking ceremony and commission issuance. Costs for surety bonds, Notary supplies, and educational courses will vary based on the supplier.

The investment for commissioning varies for newcomers versus experienced Notaries due to differences in the necessity for guidance, training, and supplies. Prices for Notary supply packages are not uniform across vendors, with new Notaries often requiring comprehensive resources including manuals, training courses, and expert advice.

Be mindful that some packages might include additional charges, such as processing fees. While training is sometimes bundled in package deals for new Notaries, the caliber of these educational offerings can differ significantly. While some vendors provide proprietary Notary courses, others might lack the expertise to create and support such educational content. The availability of live support for queries also varies among suppliers.

How long does it take to obtain a commission?

The processing time for a Notary Public commission in Maryland is estimated by the Secretary of State to be between four to six weeks.

How long does a Notary commission in Maryland last?

Are Maryland Notaries Required to take a course?

Maryland mandates that all Notary applicants complete an approved training course and pass an examination that focuses on Notary laws, ethics, and procedures. The National Notary Association is among the organizations that offer a state-sanctioned course and exam. Additionally, Maryland provides a Notary Public Handbook as a valuable resource for correct notarization practices.

Required Notary Supplies

Notaries in Maryland are required to have an official stamp, which may be an inked stamp or a seal capable of photocopying. The stamp must include:

  • The Notary’s commission name.
  • The official title.
  • The county of commission.
  • The commission expiration date is optional but recommended.

The quality of Notary stamps can vary, so selecting a durable stamp that does not bleed is crucial to prevent document rejection. Having a backup seal or an embosser can prevent downtime and add a level of security against fraud.

Maryland Notaries are also advised to maintain a journal of their notarial acts. This record should be kept in a permanent, bound format with numbered pages or in a compliant electronic version for 10 years following the last entry.

Is a Surety Bond and Insurance Required?

While a surety bond is not a requirement for Maryland Notaries, it serves as a financial assurance that the Notary will adhere to state laws, protecting the public. Notaries may choose to protect themselves from potential legal expenses and liabilities by purchasing errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, which, although not obligatory, provides coverage for legal fees and awarded damages up to the policy limit.

Maryland Notary Public FAQs

Which office manages Notary commissions in Maryland?

The Notary Division of the Maryland Secretary of State’s office, based in Annapolis, MD, is responsible for overseeing the commissioning of Notaries Public in the state.

Is U.S. citizenship required for becoming a Notary in Maryland?

No, U.S. citizenship is not a prerequisite for becoming a Notary Public in Maryland. However, legal residency in the state or lawful employment within Maryland, alongside fulfillment of other application criteria, is necessary.

What is the jurisdiction of a Maryland Notary?

Notaries in Maryland are authorized to conduct notarizations throughout the entire state.

Who am I allowed to perform notarizations for?

You are able to notarize documents for the general public, excluding personal documents or those of your spouse, to ensure all notarizations meet the required legal standards. It’s advised to avoid notarizing for immediate family members or any documents where you or your spouse stand to gain a benefit, to maintain impartiality.

What actions are required for address or name changes?

Should you experience a change in address or name, it’s mandatory to inform both the Secretary of State and the Clerk of the Circuit Court in your county or Baltimore City within 30 days. For an address update, visit the specified state page.

In the event of a name change, you may continue to use your commissioned name until the end of your term, with the suggested notation “New Name, commissioned as Prior Name.” Alternatively, you may opt for a new commission under your new name by completing the necessary procedures online, including a fee to the Secretary of State, and then swearing in and paying the filing fee at the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Upon issuance of a new commission, your old one will be invalidated.

How do I renew my Maryland Notary commission?

The Secretary of State will send a renewal notification about two months before your commission’s expiration. Renewal includes completing a Notary training course, submitting the application form online along with the course completion certificate and a $25 fee. You must also finalize the process at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office within 30 days of commission approval to avoid revocation.

What should I understand about remote notarization?

This enables Notaries to service signers from any location, provided the Notary is physically in Maryland during the notarization. Detailed registration instructions for remote authorization are available.

For those still exploring the profession, further resources are accessible to deepen your understanding of the Notary role, responsibilities, and the benefits of obtaining a commission.

Are Online Notaries Legal in Maryland?

Yes. As of October 1, 2020, active Maryland Notaries can register to conduct remote online notarizations. The legalization of Remote Online Notarization in Maryland was established through Senate Bill 678, which has already become permanent.

To perform remote online notarizations in Maryland, Notaries are required to maintain a valid traditional notary commission and collaborate with an approved RON technology provider.

Why Should You Think about Becoming An Online Notary In Maryland?

Becoming an Online Notary in Maryland is a simple way to offer convenient and secure services to clients from wherever you are. Online Notaries offer faster booking and easier document completion turnaround times! Save clients and yourself time by working from home. What are you waiting for?

How Do You Become An Online Notary In Maryland?

As of October 1, 2020, Maryland Notaries have the opportunity to register and perform remote ink notarizations. To become a remote Notary in Maryland, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start by holding an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public in Maryland.
  2. Contract with a remote notarization technology provider or providers that facilitate remote notarization services.
  3. Download and complete the Remote Notary Notification Form, which is a crucial document for the registration process.
  4. Submit your completed Remote Notary Notification Form along with a copy of your current Notary commission to [email protected]. This submission is a key step in the registration process to become a remote Notary in Maryland.

Once you’re authorized to perform RON in Maryland and approved with your platform, you can start performing Remote Online Notarizations. Be sure to stay current with all your state’s local Online Notary laws!

How to Become an Online Notary in Maryland
How to Become an Online Notary in Maryland

MarylandOnline Notary FAQ’s

Requirements for Becoming a Remote Notary in Maryland

Before you can proceed with registering as a remote Notary in Maryland, you must first satisfy the state’s prerequisites, which include holding a traditional Notary Public commission. Essential qualifications involve being at least 18 years old, possessing a reputation for good character, integrity, and competence, and either residing or working within the state. Notably, starting from October 1, 2021, Maryland will introduce new requirements for Notary applicants, necessitating the completion of a state-mandated course and examination to obtain traditional commissions. This change will also eliminate the previous requirement related to residency or employment within the state.

Training and Examination Requirements for Online Notaries

Regarding training and exams for remote Notaries in Maryland, there is no mandatory training or examination required to become a remote Notary. However, commencing on October 1, 2021, individuals applying for traditional Notary commissions and those seeking renewal will be obliged to participate in a course and successfully pass an examination.

Tools and Technology for Online Notarizations in Maryland:

To embark on a career as a remote Notary, you will need specific tools and technology. These include a computer, webcam, microphone, and a secure internet connection. Your computer must possess the capability to facilitate live two-way audio and video transmissions. While the Maryland Secretary of State does not endorse particular third-party Remote Online Notarization (RON) platforms, there are several options available that meet state requirements. These platforms should encompass identity proofing and credential analysis features. Additionally, you’ll need to acquire essential digital tools such as a digital certificate housing your electronic signature, an electronic seal, and an electronic journal. It is imperative to verify the compatibility of these items with your chosen RON system.

Is an Additional Surety Bond Required?

Maryland does not mandate Notaries to obtain a surety bond.

E&O Insurance in Maryland

Although not obligatory, the acquisition of errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies is highly recommended for Notaries in Maryland. These policies serve as a safeguard in situations where errors or omissions occur during notarizations, effectively limiting your financial liability. Unlike surety bonds that primarily protect the interests of the public, E&O policies are designed to offer personal protection for Notaries in cases of inadvertent mistakes on notarized documents.

How to Become an Online Notary in Maryland
How to Become an Online Notary in Maryland

What to Expect as a Notary?

As in other professions, the amount of work an online notary receives can vary widely. Generally, the busiest time is tax season, when documents such as tax returns need to be signed and notarized. However, there is also a steady demand throughout the year from businesses and individuals in need of authentication services. There are many businesses that need consistent notarizations. Did we mention there are over 1.25 billion notarizations performed annually?

It is important to remember that when working as an online notary, you are responsible for adhering to the regulations set forth by the state. This includes making sure documents are properly notarized and witnessed. Always ensure documents contain all of the necessary information. The most successful online notaries spend some time doing their own client acquisition and sales funneling, especially those who are doing it online.

How Much Can You Expect To Make as a Notary in Maryland?

As you gain more experience and have notarized more documents, you will be able to earn even more by taking on loan signings (where the industry standard is $150 per session) and other creative packages and invoicing clients outside of BlueNotary. You will be able to earn a very decent income – all from the comfort of your home office.

BlueNotary lets you bill your clients at your own rates. This makes your earnings very flexible depending on your ability to build a network.

How do I Start Notarizing Online in Maryland?

A great place to start is the BlueNotary Free Training Group. There you will find advice from other Maryland notaries who’ve been through the process and can answer your questions.

Becoming an online notary can be a great way to supplement your income and make a positive impact on the community. As an online notary, you get to decide which platform to use for finding clients.

BlueNotary is the best option for super simple onboarding and for an independent notary looking to grow their own business or a business looking to offer a better experience for their customers with a quicker turnaround. We even have training videos, signing simulator, and our test with a friend feature to get you comfortable with the process.

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