Notary Public


A notary public is a commissioned public officer who is legally authorized to administer oaths, to attest and certify the authenticity of signatures and, certain classes of documents and to take acknowledgments. The main function for a notary public is to be sure that the person appearing before her or him is who he or she claims to be.

Qualifications for Appointment

  • Applicant must be able to read and write English.
  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • Applicants must be residents of the State of Virginia unless he or she is employed in the state and performs notary acts in connection with his or her job.
  • No applicant who has ever been convicted of a felony will be commissioned unless he or she has been pardoned or has had his or her rights restored.

Procedures for Becoming a Notary Public

  1. Complete the notary application - The applicant must have his or her signature authenticated by a Virginia notary or another officer authorized to administer oaths.
  2. Mail the application together with notary fee of $45 to:
    Secretary of the Commonwealth
    P.O. Box 1795
    Richmond, VA 23218-1795
  3. If the commission is approved, the Secretary of the Commonwealth will mail the commission to the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the applicant has elected to take his or her office, and notify the applicant by letter of his or her commission.
  4. Upon approval of commission, the applicant must claim his or her commission within 60 days. A notary who has not received notification within four weeks of mailing same to the Commonwealth of Virginia, should call the Clerk of the Circuit Court to verify if the commission has been received.
  5. To claim the notary commission, the applicant must appear and qualify before the Clerk of the Circuit Court and pay the clerk's fee of $10. The term of the commission is 4 years.

The notary public must be familiar with and understand everything contained in The Handbook for Virginia Notaries Public.