Following the effective date of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) on October 26, 2017:
BECOMING A NOTARY AND Notary Services
Under the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), the Pennsylvania Department of State appoints and commissions notaries public for a term of four years from the date of appointment.
An applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements for appointment as a notary public:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
- Be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in this Commonwealth
- Be able to read and write English
- Not be disqualified to receive a commission because of character, criminal convictions or prior sanctions
- Education – All applicants for both initial appointment and reappointment as a notary public must complete at least three hours of approved notary education within the six months immediately preceding the application for appointment or reappointment
- Examination – All applicants for a commission as a notary public who do not hold a current and unexpired commission in this Commonwealth must pass an examination administered by the Department’s examination vendor Pearson VUE
A notary public applicant will not be issued a notary public commission unless the applicant:
- Has submitted an application on a form prescribed and furnished by the Secretary of the Commonwealth accompanied by the $42 nonrefundable filing fee
Has verified that he or she has the honesty, integrity, competence and reliability to act as a notary public
- Has not made a fraudulent, dishonest or deceitful misstatement or omission in the application
Has provided proof of completion of a three-hour preapproved notary public course within six months preceding application
- Has passed the examination (for applicants who have never held notary commissions and all applicants who previously held notary commissions but whose commissions have lapsed or expired at the time their application for reappointment is received by the Department)
- Has not been convicted of or accepted Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for a felony or an offense involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit
- Has not had a finding against or admission of liability in a legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the fraud, dishonesty or deceit of the applicant or notary public
- Has not failed to discharge a duty required of a notary public, whether by RULONA, by regulation of the department or by Federal or State law
- Has not used false or misleading advertising or representation representing that the notary public has a duty, right or privilege that the notary public does not have
- Has not violated a regulation of the Department
- Has not been denied a commission, refused to renew, revoked, suspended or otherwise had a notary commission disciplined by the Commonwealth or any other state
- Has failed to maintain a bond
The Secretary of the Commonwealth may, for good cause, reject any application subject to the right of notice, hearing and adjudication and the right of appeal. Lack of proof of completion of a three-hour preapproved notary public course will result in outright rejection of an application without the right of appeal.
The following persons are not eligible to hold the office of notary public:
- A member of the U.S. Congress, and a person holding an office or appointment of profit or trust under the legislative, executive or judiciary departments of the federal government for which he or she receives a salary, fees or perquisites
- Any member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania
Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for processing new notary public applications.
Upon appointment, the Department of State will send notice of appointment to the applicant, with further instructions and an official bond and oath form to be executed by the applicant. These materials will be sent to the applicant’s employer/business address as provided on the application.
The applicant must take the oath of office and record his/her oath, completed bond and commission in the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the notary’s business office is located. The applicant must also register his/her signature with the Prothonotary’s office in the county where the notary’s business office is located. Both of these steps must be completed within forty-five (45) calendar days after the date of appointment, or the notary’s commission becomes null and void. Extensions will not be given.
Only after all these steps have been completed may an individual serve as an official notary public. If an appointee fails to record the oath, completed bond and commission or fails to register his/her signature within forty-five (45) days, the individual will be required to reapply to become a notary public by submitting a new application, the application fee and meeting all other requirements for appointment to a new commission and a new appointment date
The $42 application fee is non-refundable and may not be applied to a new application after the 45-day period has expired. If the application, bonding, recording and oath taking steps have been properly completed, the notary commission expires four years after the date of appointment.