Become a Notary

(800) 432-4254

Bi-lingual helpline

Important Information

Overview

It is important that a notary public understands the duties and responsibilities of this office in the State of Florida. The law considers many instruments to be of such importance that they be signed by the maker in the presence of a notary public. The notary's function is to authenticate signatures and administer oaths on these documents, and therefore prevent fraud. The notary public is directly responsible for determining that the person signing is who he/she states. It is also important that the person signing the document states he/she understands what is being signed.

When you are appointed as a notary public, you may notarize documents anywhere in the State of Florida.

Requirements to Become a Notary Public

  1. At least 18 years of age
  2. United States Citizen (if not a U.S. Citizen, the applicant must also submit a recorded Declaration of Domicile from the local courthouse)
  3. Florida Resident (A FL driver's license number is required. If the applicant does not have a FL driver's license, a photocopy of one of the following is required: FL identification card, FL voter's registration card, FL homestead exemption, income tax form, recorded Declaration of Domicile, or a sworn Affidavit of Residency.)
  4. No Felony Record (if an applicant has a felony conviction, or one which adjudication was withheld, additional documentation is required)
  5. New applicants are required to complete a three hour course on the duties of a notary public. The Florida Notary Association offers access to a free interactive web site course that complies with these State education requirements.

Procedures for Notarizing Documents

  1. A notary public may notarize a signature on a document if the following conditions are met:
    1. The person whose signature is being notarized is in the presence of the notary public at the time the signature is notarized.
    2. The document is complete.
    3. The person signing the document is mentally competent and understands what he/she is signing.
    4. The notary is in the State of Florida.
    5. The notary is not a party to the transaction - or mother, father, son, daughter, or spouse to the signer.
  2. A notary public must specify in the certificate of acknowledgement what type of identification was relied upon, and whether or not an oath was taken.
  3. Valid identification must be obtained from each person whose signature is to be notarized. Proper identification is necessary since legal consequences of an error are severe. The following examples are good forms of identification:
    1. Personal acquaintance of the notary
    2. Driver's license
    3. Passport
    4. Photo identification card issued (within the past five years) by a state or branch of the federal government
  4. A notary public must specify in the certificate, when two or more signatures are to be notarized, which signature is being notarized. It will be presumed that absent these specifics, notarization by the notary public is for all signatures on the document.
  5. When notarizing a document, it is important that the state, county, and date be completed before the acknowledgment and seal are affixed.

A Florida Notary Public... Can:

  1. Perform a marriage ceremony in the State of Florida for all individuals (including any family members) with a valid Florida marriage license.
  2. Charge up to $10.00 per notarial signature on a document; charge up to $20.00 for performing a marriage ceremony.
  3. Act as a notary anywhere in the State of Florida.
  4. Notarize foreign documents as long as the notary is confident that the signer can read and understand the document that is being signed.
  5. Notarize documents from another state or country. Documents leaving the state or country typically require an Apostille or Certificate of Notarial Authority (authentication). This certification can be obtained by mailing the request, notarized document and payment of $10 (made payable to the Secretary of State) to:Department of State?Notary Commissions and Certifications Section?Room 1801, The Capitol?Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250?For any questions regarding Apostilles or Certificate of Notarial Authority, contact the Department of State at (850) 413-9732 or (850) 921-5268.
  6. Supervise the making of a photocopy from an original document and attest to the trueness of that copy, provided the document is not a vital or public record (such as birth certificates & marriage licenses). If the document is a Florida vital record, a certified copy can be requested from:Department of Health?Bureau of Vital Statistics?Vital Records Section?217 Pearl Street?Jacksonville, Florida 32202
  7. Be both witness and notary for the same document.
  8. Affix the optional embossed seal (for decorative purposes only) in conjunction with the required Florida rubber stamp seal. The rubber stamp seal must be affixed in photographically reproducible black ink, however, to be legal by state law.

A Florida Notary Public... Can Not:

  1. Notarize a document unless the signer personally appears before the notary public at the time of the notarization.
  2. Notarize a document outside the State of Florida.
  3. Notarize a signature on a document requiring two signatures unless the notary stipulates which signature is being notarized by indicating such in the acknowledgement.
  4. Notarize a document that has blank spaces therein.
  5. Post date or antedate any acknowledgement on a document.
  6. Notarize a document if the signer is the mother, father, son, daughter, or spouse of the notary public.
  7. Notarize a document if the notary public has a financial interest in or is a party to the underlying document.
  8. Notarize his or her own signature.
  9. Transfer a Florida notary commission to another state (since notary laws differ from state to state, commissions are not transferable).

Additional Education Material

Additional information on the proper procedures to be followed by a notary public in the State of Florida can be obtained as follows, free of charge:

Executive Office of the Governor - Notary Section provides the following manuals:

  1. Laws Related to Florida Notaries Public
  2. Governor's Reference Manual for Notaries
  3. Performing Marriage Ceremonies

For any questions concerning these manuals, or detailed legal questions, please telephone the Governor's Notary Section at (850) 922-6400, ext. 8.

Definitions

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT - The declaration of a person described and who has executed a written instrument that he executed same.
  • ADDENDUM - A separate written addition to a contract or agreement.
  • AFFIANT - A person who makes and subscribes his signature to an affidavit.
  • AFFIDAVIT - A signed statement, duly sworn to by the the affiant, attesting to the truth, to the best of his knowledge, of the facts in a document.
  • ATTEST - To certify as true.
  • ATTORNEY-IN-FACT - A person legally authorized to execute specific types of instruments for another person, corporation, etc.
  • DEPOSITION - The written testimony of a witness taken out of court under oath before a notary or other person authorized to take it.
  • EXECUTOR - A person names in a will to carry out the provisions of the will.
  • FELONY - A crime punishable by death or imprisonment in state prison.
  • FRAUD - A cheat; an act of trickery to delude a person into a false sense of well-being, enabling another person to gain dishonestly.
  • JURAT - "Sworn to before me this _______ day of ______, 20__."
  • LIEN - A lien is placed on property to establish prior rights and indicates a debt.
  • MISDEMEANOR - Any crime other than a felony.
  • PERJURY - A false swearing under oath.

Weddings

After the wedding ceremony your responsibilities are:

  1. Be certain that two witnesses sign the marriage license (one of the witnesses can be you).
  2. Sign and seal the license and return it to the Office of the County Judge or Clerk of Circuit Court which issues the license within 10 days after solemnizing the marriage.
  3. The license may be returned by mail to the Marriage License Bureau as indicated above.

Ceremony

Couple must have valid license.

(Man should stand on woman's right, and the notary public asks the man as follows:)
"___________________ , do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together in the Holy Estate of Matrimony; to love, honor, comfort her and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto her as long as you both shall live?"
(Man answers "I do.")

(The notary public asks; the woman as follows:)
"____________________ do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together in the Holy Estate of Matrimony; to love, honor, comfort him and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto him as long as you both shall live?"
(The woman answers "I do.")

(If the couple brings rings, ask the man to place the ring on her finger and have them both repeat after you:)
"With this ring I thee wed in love and truth and with all my worldly goods I thee endow."

(Then ask the couple to join right hands and pronounce them man and wife as follows:)
"Inasmuch as________________ (man) and_________________ (woman) have this day consented together in Holy Wedlock and have given and pledged their troth each to the other in the presence of this company, by virtue of the authority vested in me under the laws of the State of Florida, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife."