• support@thenotarypublicinstitute.com
  • 650-394-7646


Who is is my instructor?

  • Chris Morgan has been a practicing Notary Public, in the State of California for over 25 years. Over the years, he has notarized several thousand documents in his various capacities as a notary. Chris started training notaries as a statewide instructor in 1993. Three years later he formed his own school, The Notary Public Institute. He then contracted with community colleges, state colleges and adult schools throughout California to provide face-to-face classroom training at their locations. This allowed Chris to train notaries at local facilities in their own communities. Since 1993, Chris and his team have trained over 25,000 individuals to serve as California state notaries. Chris is the author of three training manuals, audio programs and self paced PowerPoint presentations for notaries. He has also co-authored two other notary-training manuals.In addition to training notaries, Chris also teaches public policy, public finance and economics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Chris holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Master in Economics and a Master in Public Administration.

    Chris is a well-known consultant, writer, speaker and lecturer, in California. Chris’ expertise as a lecturer and consultant on notary issues has earned him the nickname “Doctor Notary”. I’m sure that you will find this course to be informative and a pleasure to complete. There is no other training material, on the subject, that can better prepare you for the California State notary public examination or to operate as a notary public.



Why should I take a class with The Notary Public Institute?

  • The most important reason is our over 20 years of Notary experience. We will give you all the tools to pass the state exam and continue on to a profitable career.
  • Taking the course online with us also gives you the flexibility to learn at your own pace 24 hours a day.
  • Our course is fast, easy and convenient while still providing you with all the information you need in an easy to understand format.

How do I become a Notary in California?

  1. You should start the process to become a Notary 4-6 months prior to when you will need the commission to be active.
  2. Complete a California State Secretary approved education class: The Notary Public Institute is approved by the California State Secretary and is up-to-date with all the current regulations.  If you are going to become a Notary you will need to take 6 hours of pre-licensing education prior to taking the state exam.
  3. Print your course completion certificate directly in the course after you complete the course.
  4. Register and take the California State Notary Exam: Schedule your exam at www.cpshr.us/exams/notary/info.html  or call 916-263-3520. Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) – Notary Public Examination Services administers the Notary Public exam. They are under contract by the California Secretary of State to manage the entire exam process.
    1.  The exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions
    2. You must correctly answer 21 of the 30 questions to receive a passing score of 70%
    3. You will have 50 minutes to complete the exam. That’s approximately one minute and 40 seconds per question. Pace yourself and use your time wisely.
  5. Submit your application photo: All commissioned Notaries are required to submit a 2×2″ passport style photo with their application. The fees for this photo vary based on where you have them taken.  Need it quick? Print it on photographic paper at www.yourpassportphoto.com/
  6. Receive your exam results in the mail within 15 days. If you do not pass your exam you can retake it. You will receive your original application, a re-take voucher and failure notice. You can then re-take the exam once per month. Note: extra fees to the California Secretary of State apply.
  7. Have you fingerprints taken by a LiveScan vendor: New or renewing Notaries whose commission has lapsed more than 6 months must have their fingerprints taken. When you receive notice that you have passed the state exam you will also receive information concerning LiveScan fingerprinting. Contact the California Secretary of State’s office office at 916-653-3595 for a listing of  LiveScan locations. You may also obtain the listing by visiting https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations.
  8. After you pass the state examination and pass your background investigation you will receive your Notary Commission package from the California Secretary of State within 10-12 weeks: The kit will include 1. Notary commission certificate 2. Two oaths of office 3. Certificate of Authorization to Manufacture a Notary Seal. At this time you should ensure that your name is spelled correctly and the date of your commission is accurate.

Who is eligible to become a Notary Public in California?

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a legal resident of California
  • Must complete a six-hour pre-licensing course of study approved by the California Secretary of State
  • Must pass an on-site exam prescribed by the Secretary of State with a score of at least 70%
  • Must pass a background check by the FBI and the California Department of Justice
  • Must have the ability to read, write and speak basic English
  • Must NOT have been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude

If I don’t pass the state exam how do I receive a refund for my class?

  • Contact us and provide us with a copy of your fail letter. You may review and retake the course again or request a full refund. Refunds are processed within 10-15 days.

Can I be commissioned in California as a Notary Public if I’m not a resident of California?

  • No, you must be a resident

Do I need Error and Omission insurance?

  • Although insurance is optional, the Notary Public Institute recommends that California notaries insure themselves against claims of negligence through Errors and Omission insurance.

Is there a filing fee associated with becoming a Notary Public in California?

  • Yes, there is a filing fee for new and renewing Notary Publics in California.

How long is a Notary Public commission valid for in California?

  • Your commission will be valid for 4 years.

What training is required to be commissioned as a Notary in California?

  • Required. Every notary must satisfactorily complete a six or three-hour course approved by the Secretary of State prior to appointment. After completing the approved six or three-hour course, the vendor will issue a Proof of Completion Certificate that will be valid for two years from the date of issuance. After receiving the Proof of Completion Certificate, the applicant registers for an exam by contacting Cooperative Personnel Service (CPS). The written examination must be passed with a score of at least 70%.

Do I have to provide my own Notary Seal?

  • Yes, it is required.
  • Type rubber-inked stamp is required, an embosser is optional.
    Ink color – any color as long as the seal can be reproduced under photographic methods.
    Shape – round or rectangular
    Dimensions – circular form of not more than 2″ in diameter or, if rectangular, 1″ in width and 2 1/2″ in length
  • Required elements – state seal, name of notary public, commission expiration date, name of county where oath and bond are on file, commission number, identification number assigned to the manufacturer or vendor, and the words “Notary Public.” The seal must have a serrated or milled edge border. The notary seal must be kept in a locked and secured area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary, and must not be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment.

Do I have to provide my own Notary Record Book?

  • Yes, you must provide your own Record Book. A notary public must maintain one active sequential journal for all notarial acts performed. The journal must be kept in a locked and secured area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary. If the journal is stolen, lost, misplaced, destroyed, or damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable as a record, the notary shall immediately notify the Secretary of State by certified or registered mail. Such notice must include the periods of journal entries, the notary”s commission number, the commission expiration date, and a police report, if applicable. A notary must surrender his notary journal immediately when requested by a peace officer investigating a criminal offense if such officer shows probable cause as required by law. A peace officer or law enforcement agency that seizes a notary journal must notify the Secretary of State by facsimile within 24 hours. A power of attorney document is added to the list of documents that requires a thumbprint in the journal. Upon receipt of a request for information from a notary”s journal, the notary must provide such information within 15 business days.

How much can I charge for my Notary services?

  • Notary fees are set by state law. A notary public is allowed to charge up to the maximum listed for each notarial act.

What authority do I have as a commissioned Notary in California?

A California notary has the authority to:

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Perform jurats
  • Take depositions
  • Protest instruments
  • Certify copies of power of attorney
  • Certify copies of non-recordable documents

Do I need Error and Ommission insurance?

  • It is not mandatory however highly recommended.

How do I contact the state?

Office of the Secretary of State

Business Programs Division

Notary Public Section

PO Box 942877

Sacramento, CA 94277





You will need 3 hours of continuing education if you are currently commissioned.

When must I renew my Notary commission?

  • A notary public may apply up to one year before the expiration of the current commission by completing a renewal application form and by completing the approved three-hour refresher.

How long is a Notary Public commission valid for in California?

  • Your commission will be valid for 4 years.

How much can I charge for my Notary services?

  • Notary fees are set by state law. A notary public is allowed to charge up to the maximum listed for each notarial act.

I’ve moved since becoming commissioned. What should I do?

  • The Secretary of State must be notified of any changes in business or residence address by certified mail within 30 days of the change. An address notification must include the notary”s commission name, commission number, commission expiration date, and new address. If a notary transfers to a new county, the notary is not required to file a new oath of office or bond. A notary public who willfully fails to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address within 30 days of the change on a form prescribed by Secretary of State may be subject to a fine of not more than $500. Click here to download the change of address form–

I’ve changed my name since becoming commissioned. What should I do?

  • A change in name requires a notary to complete an Application for Name Change form that must be sent by certified mail to the Secretary of State within 30 days of the change. Within 30 days after the amended commission is issued, the notary must file a new oath of office and an amendment to the bond with the county clerk with the amended name. If the notary fails to file the amended oath and bond within the 30-day time limit, the name change will become void and the commission will revert back to the previous name and a new name change application will have to be submitted. A notary public who willfully fails to notify the Secretary of State of a change of name within 30 days of the change on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State may be subject to a fine of not more than $500. Click here to download the change of name form–

What happens to a Notary commission in the case of resignation, removal, or death?

  • A notary or notary”s representative must provide the Secretary of State a written notification when the notary”s commission is revoked or expired, when the notary resigns, or in the case of the death of a notary. A notary or notary”s representative must deliver all of the notarial records and papers to the clerk of the county in which the oath of office is on file within 30 days, and the seal must be destroyed.

What actions are prohibited?

  • Prepare, draft, select, or give advice concerning legal documents
  • Perform acts that constitute the practice of law
  • Use the phrase “notario” or “notario publico” to advertise notary services
  • Advertise or promote yourself as an immigration specialist or consultant
  • Overcharge for notary services
  • Notarize a document without the signer being present at the time of the notarization
  • Authorize a confidential marriage unless he is approved by the county clerk
  • Notarize a signature on a document unless the signer”s identity has been established by satisfactory evidence
  • Attest to the trueness of a photocopy of a recordable document
  • Sign under any other name than his commission name
  • Notarize a document that is incomplete
  • Sign a notarial certificate that contains false statements
  • Notarize a document in which you have a financial or beneficial interest or is named as a party to the transaction

Are there any possible civil or criminal penalties I could face as a commissioned Notary?

  • No acknowledgment may be taken or jurat executed on the basis of personal knowledge alone. A notary who violates this law may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
  • The certificate of acknowledgment must be executed under penalty of perjury. A notary who willfully states as true any material fact known to be false can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
  • Willful failure of a notary to surrender his notary journal to a peace officer may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,500.
  • A notary who fails to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address or a name change may be subject to a fine of up to $500.
  • A notary who fails to obtain a thumbprint as required by Government Code Section 8206 may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,500.
  • A notary who knowingly and willfully with intent to defraud performs any notarial act in relation to a deed of trust on real property with knowledge that the deed of trust contains any false statement or is forged, in whole or in part, is guilty of a felony.
  • A notary is guilty of a misdemeanor if he willfully fails to properly maintain a notary journal.
  • A notary is guilty of a misdemeanor if he fails to keep his seal under lock and key or willfully surrenders the seal to any person not authorized to possess it.
  • A notary”s who willfully fails to deliver his notarial records to the county clerk within the 30-day period after the commission has been revoked, or the notary resigns, or the commission expires may be guilty of a misdemeanor.



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