Notary Public FAQs

Contents
Applying and renewing
General questions
Notary seals and journals
Online access and electronic filing
Powers and duties

 

General Questions

Q1. What is a notary public?

A1.  A notary public is a person commissioned to serve the public as a neutral witness. A notary performs notarial acts that are allowed or required by law.

A notary is a verifier, an authenticator, an impartial agent for the state, a public recorder of acts, an unbiased, official witness, and a state officer.

 

Q2. Who can become a notary public?

A2.  In Colorado, you can become a notary public if you:

  • Are a resident of Colorado.
  • Are 18 years of age or older.
  • Have never been convicted of a felony.
  • Have not been convicted of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty in the past five years.
  • Can read and write the English language.
  • Have never had a notary commission revoked.

 

Q3. Do I need to be bonded?

A3.  No. A notary does not have to be bonded in Colorado.

 

Q4. What fees can a notary legally charge?

A4.  By Colorado law, the maximum fee allowed for a notarization is $5 and includes:

  • Receiving evidence of the signer’s identity.
  • Administering an oath or affirmation (if applicable).
  • Applying the signature, notarial certificate, and seal of the notary to the document.

The maximum fee for an electronic notarization is $10.

 

Q5. What is my notary ID?

A5.  Your notary ID is an 11-digit number assigned to you when you become a notary. The ID is printed on your certificate below the date that it was issued. Your notary ID should also have been provided to you in an email from our office. You can search for your ID on "Verify a Notary.”

 

Q6. Where can I find my commission expiration date?

A6.  Your commission expiration date is on your Notary Commission Certificate. If you have lost or misplaced your Notary Commission Certificate, you can get a duplicate copy (see FAQ Q7, below). You can also search for your name under "Verify a Notary" on the Notary home page to find your expiration date.

 

Q7. How do I get a replacement copy of my Notary Commission Certificate?

A7.  You can log in using your notary ID and password and print your official certificate. If you don't have a notary ID and password, you can register for online access.


Q8. Where can I report illegal, improper, or questionable acts by a notary public?

A8.  Any illegal, improper, or questionable acts by a notary public should be reported in writing to our office.

You can also send an email to notary@sos.state.co.us.

You can use the Notary complaint form (PDF) to file a complaint.

 

Q9. What do I do if my name and/or signature change?

A9.  By law, you must submit a sample of your handwritten official signature to our office within 30 days after you make any changes to your name. A copy of an acceptable ID that shows your new name is required.

To file a name change, log in using your notary ID and password.

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Q10. What do I do if my address or telephone number changes?

A10.  By law, you must notify our office within 30 days after any change to your business or home address. In the case of a home address change, you can print a Notary Commission Certificate with the new address. Your work or business address does not appear on the certificate.

To file a change of address, log in using your notary ID and password.

 

Q11. What happens if I move out of state during my term?

A11.  If you no longer live or work in Colorado, send or deliver the following to our office:

  • A signed letter of resignation,
  • Your journal of notarial acts,
  • Any other papers and copies relating to your notarial acts, and
  • Your notary seal.

Your commission will then no longer be in effect.

 

Q12. What do I do if I no longer want to be a notary or if I need to resign my commission?

A12.  If you want or need to resign your commission, send or deliver the following to us:

  • A signed letter of resignation,
  • Your journal of notarial acts,
  • Any other papers and copies relating to your notarial acts, and
  • Your notary seal.

Your commission will then no longer be in effect.

You can also use the Notary Public Resignation Form (PDF).

 

Q13. What do I do with my seal and journal when I am no longer a commissioned notary?

A13.  Send or deliver your seal and journal to our office.

 

Q14. What is an Apostille?

A14. An Apostille is a certificate issued by the Secretary of State that proves the authenticity of a notary's signature and seal. An Apostille is proof of authentication for notarized documents in countries that abide by the Hague Convention. See the Apostilles and Authentications page for more information.

 

Q15. What if the country my notarized document is going to does not abide by the Hague Convention?

A15.  Our office will issue a certificate of magistracy in place of an Apostille.

 

Q16.  How is a U.S. notary public different from a notario publico?

A16.  A U.S. notary is not the same as a Latin notario publico. In Latin America, a notario publico is a high-ranking official and must be an attorney. Unlike a notario publico, a U.S. notary is forbidden from preparing legal documents or giving advice on immigration or other matters, unless he or she is also an attorney.

 

Q17. What is electronic notarization?

A17.  An electronic notarization is a document in electronic format that is signed and notarized electronically, then filed or transmitted electronically to its intended destination. They are used in transactions between private parties who agree to it (such as a contract that is notarized and then emailed between the parties.)

Electronic notarization does not mean remote notarization. As with all notarizations, the signer must appear in the physical presence of the notary.

Additional information about electronic notarization.

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