Notary Bulletin

Officials Urge Early Applications To Renew Your Commission

Letting your Notary commission lapse can make a complicated renewal process even more difficult. If your commission is nearing expiration, keep in mind that delays in processing due to additional requirements and current government staffing levels can slow the process  possibly resulting in a gap in your commission.

The amount of time a Notary should allow when renewing a commission varies from state to state. Because of furlough days, reduced staffing and, in some cases, the additional time a background check can add to the process, state officials suggest starting the renewal process months in advance.

In California, for example, Secretary of State Deborah Bowen recommends that Notaries apply for reappointment at least six months before the current commission expiration date. California law changed in January 2008 to require that all applicants appointed or reappointed as a Notary Public must undergo a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the California Department of Justice. This means that a Notary needs to submit fingerprints and photos for screening purposes. These additions to the renewal process, along with mandatory education requirements are creating extra processing time for new and renewing Notary applicants.

Similarly, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Colorado officials recommend that Notaries begin the commission renewal process three months in advance. In Ohio, where Notary renewals are handled through individual counties, commission renewal processing times can be lengthy depending on what part of the state the Notary renews in. And in Michigan, Notaries are urged to begin the renewal process up to 60 days before their commission expires.

Marylands Secretary of State Office is closing periodically for furlough days through June 30, 2010. Although Richard A. Morris, director of Charities and Legal Services with the Secretary of States office, says Notary applications are processed the day they are received, it behooves Notaries seeking new or renewed credentials to allow for potential delays.

Notaries should always check with their local Notary-regulating agency to find out how much time they should allow for renewals. Notaries can also renew their commissions with the help of the NNA.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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