Starting a Chicago Notary Services Practice

Chicago Notary Services

A notary public is a public official appointed by the Secretary of the State.  Each state empowers notaries to perform different duties such as the power to administer oaths and take acknowledgments.  A Notary Public must always comply with state laws and provide high-quality service, while remembering that a notary public does not have the authority to prepare legal documents, recommend a course of action in legal transactions, or provide legal advice of any kind.. In these cases, it’s best to consult an attorney. Here’s what you should know when starting a Chicago Notary Services Practice.

Illinois Application Process

Every state has a different application process to become a Notary Public so check with your Secretary of State on what requirements you must meet.  For those interested in becoming a Notary Public in the State of Illinois, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age, a resident or have work/business in the state, be a US citizen (or lawfully admitted for permanent residence), not have had any felony convictions, and be able to read and write English.  If you had a notary commission in the past then it must not have been revoked during the past ten years.

State of Illinois Surety Bond Details

In the state of Illinois, you must also purchase a surety bond in the amount of $5,000 from a company qualified to write surety bonds in the state.  A surety bond is purchased by the Notary Public from a surety company for the duration of the term they are appointed and commissioned.  The surety company guarantees that you will perform your duties as a Notary Public in accordance with the law. 

This bond safeguards the financial interest of the public resulting from any wrongdoing on your part when performing your notarial duties.  If enforced, the surety company will compensate the person up to the amount of the bond. 

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Bond limits are set by each state.  This is different from obtaining Errors and Omissions Insurance.  This optional insurance policy is for the personal protection of the notary against any liability claims.  It is advised to also carry this type of insurance.  For information on either surety bonds and/or errors and omission insurance you can visit the American Association of Notaries website or reach out to your Secretary of State Office. 

Licensing and Non-Resident Details

Once you have completed the Notary Public Application, you will file it for a small fee with the Secretary of State.  When the notary commission is issued you will then file it with the county clerk and pay a small fee.

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If you are not a resident of the state, you must have a place of work or business in the state for at least 30 days prior to your notary application.  You may also be allowed to be commissioned in the state of Illinois if you work or have a business in qualifying bordering states (Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, and Wisconsin).  In both scenarios, you must continue to work or have a business in Illinois. 

Notary Training in Illinois

To start a Chicago Notary Services Practice, you are not required to obtain training or complete an exam to become a Notary Public in Illinois. However, it is encouraged to obtain training in order to understand how to conduct notarial acts correctly for the benefit of yourself and the public.  You can find access to a variety of classes online.  The National Notary Association website offers training and education.

Your appointment as a Notary Public is effective for four years.  If you are from a bordering state your appointment is a one-year term.  Thereafter you may apply for an appointment for another term.

Notary Stamp Details

You will need to purchase a notary stamp.  Illinois requires all notaries to use an official seal to authenticate their official acts.   It is also recommended to purchase a notary journal for your own record keeping.

The process of becoming a Notary Public in Illinois can take up to eight weeks.  Make sure that you meet all eligibility requirements and complete the entire application.  Referencing the state’s handbook (provided by the Secretary of State) is a great resource for basic rules and frequently asked questions.

Chicago Notary Services Applicant Information

Notaries public in Illinois are appointed and commissioned by the Index Department. In addition, they are the controlling authority for specialty notarization, Certificates of Authority, Certificates of Incumbency, and Apostilles. To start a Chicago Notary Services Practice, Notary Public play an important role in preventing fraud and preserving the integrity of documents. They ensure that the signers of documents are who they say they are and that they understand the contents of the document. Notaries public also take an oath to faithfully discharge their duties.

If you need a Notary Public in Illinois, you can contact the Index Department to find a list of active notaries public. You can also search for a notary public by county or city. Notaries public must be over the age of 18 and must have a clean criminal record. They must also complete a Notary Public Training Course and pass a Notary Public Exam. Find more information on how to become a Notary here. This is important when starting a Chicago Notary Services Practice.

Are you looking to add to your Notary Business? Check out our blog on Notary Business Opportunities: Apostille Services for more details. \

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