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How to get a Washington Notary Commission

This Washington notary public guide is for informational purposes only. SuretyBonds.com does not regulate or manage commissions for notaries public in Washington. Contact the Washington Department of Licensing for the state’s latest official notary public commission requirements.

According to the Revised Code of Washington 42.45.010, a notary public is a person authorized to perform notarial acts such as verifying signatures, creating legal documents, or verifying documents. To become a notary in Washington, you must report to the Department of Licensing to be commissioned to perform any notarial acts. As a notary you will screen the individuals when signing documents to validate their identity, certify their willingness to sign without coercion or intimidation, and verify their understanding of the contents of certain documentation or transactions.

To become a notary public commission in Washington, you must complete the following steps.

How to get a Washington Notary Commission

How do I become a notary public in Washington?

Step 1: Verify you're eligible for a Washington notary commission.

To be commissioned with the Washington Department of Licensing, you must meet the following requirements.

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be able to read and write English
  • be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • have a residence or employer located in Washington

Step 2: Complete your Washington notary public commission application.

You must submit either a mailed or online application to the Department of Licensing. If applying by mail, complete your Washington notary public commission application. You can also apply online through the Department of Licensing.

Step 3: Purchase your $10,000 Washington notary public bond.

You must purchase and file a $10,000 Washington notary bond to become a notary public to comply with the Revised Code of Washington 42.45.200. You can buy your Washington notary bond online 24/7 and have it delivered in minutes by email. You'll file your official notary bond along with your application before you receive your notary commission.

Step 4: Submit your application packet to the Department of Licensing.

If submitting your application online, you must include an electronic copy of your notarized oath of office form, an electronic copy of your signed $10,000 notary bond, and $40 application fee. Acceptable methods of electronic payments include Visa, MasterCard, American Express credit or debit card, or bank account information.

If you are applying by mail, you must submit your printed application, official Washington notary public bond, and $40 fee ($55 if also applying for electronic notary endorsement) to the DOL at the following address.

Notary Public Program
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 3777
Seattle, WA 98124-3777

NOTE: You should receive your notary commission approval within 30 days of submitting your application packet. The Department of Licensing will contact you if additional information is needed.

Step 5: Buy your official notary stamp/seal.

After you receive your notary commission, you'll need to order a stamp or seal from any stamp/seal provider. By law, before your official stamp or seal can be made, you must provide evidence that you're an approved notary public. Stamp or seal vendors must ask for a copy of your notary license by law, and if they don't, please be advised they might not be a reputable vendor. 

According to Revised Code of Washington 42.45.150, your official notary public seal or stamp must include the following.

  • the words “notary public”
  • the words “state of Washington”
  • your notary public name as it appears on your commission
  • your notary public commission expiration date
  • any other information the director requires

According to Washington Administrative Code 308-30-070, your official stamp or seal must be a minimum of 8 point type, a minimum of 1 5/8 inches in diameter if circular, or 1 inch wide by 1 5/8 inches long if rectangular. The face of your seal must be permanently affixed. If it is affixed to a tangible record, it should be applied in permanent ink and be able to be photocopied.

NOTE: Your seal/stamp must not contain the Washington state seal.

Step 6: Participate in a notary public education course.

Although not required, Washington Department of Licensing recommends that all notaries public participate in an education course to learn how to perform notarial acts correctly. They recommend notaries public education provider companies that the Department of Licensing believes are suitable for Washington notaries. You can contact each company directly for more information and the cost of each course.

Step 7: Keep a journal of all notarial acts.

As a notary public in Washington, you must keep a journal of all notarial acts. Your journal must be a permanent, bound book with numbered pages. You can also keep an electronic journal for your own records, but it may not replace the physical book. Keep your journal in a locked, secure area. You must keep your journal for 10 years after the last notarization recorded in the journal. Journal entries should be made at the time of the notarization and must include the following.

  • date and time of the notarization
  • description of the document or act being notarized
  • full name, address, and signature of each person requesting the notarization
  • a brief description of the identification method

NOTE: If you resign your commission, or you are suspended or revoked, you must tell the Department of Licensing where your journal is located.

How much does it cost to become a notary in Washington state?

A list of fees involved in the licensing process (if applicable) are as follows.

Fee TypeFee Dollar Amount
Application fee$40
License print fee$5
Electronic notarization endorsement$15
Renewal fee without endorsement$42
Renewal fee with endorsement$57

All notary public fees are nonrefundable.

How long is my Washington state notary commission valid?

Your Washington state notary commission is valid for 4 years. You must complete the renewal process before your commission expires for your commission to remain valid.

What is the process to become a Washington electronic notary public?

According to RCW 42.45.190, notaries now have the option of notarizing documents online. To be approved to provide an electronic notary endorsement, your must provide the name(s) of your electronic software provider and the effective date(s). If this information is not available when submitting an application, the information must be submitted before notarizing electronically and within 30 days of receiving the endorsement. There are three ways for notaries to apply, and a $15 fee is required of all applicants, regardless of the application method.

Applicants should plan to allow 30 days for application processing. Applications completed incorrectly will result in a delayed license as contact must be established to correct the errors.

When should I renew my Washington state notary commission?

A Washington notary public license lasts as long as the Washington notary bond stays in effect. To reapply for a Washington notary public license, you must first secure another notary bond. You can reapply for your license by mailing in a copy of the Notary Public Commission Renewal Application to the DOL or by filling out the online re-application.

Last Updated: August 11, 2023

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