California Notary Public

Proposed RegulationsNotary Public Disciplinary Guidelines: Regulations have been proposed to update the Notary Public Disciplinary Guidelines.

Change to look of Apostille: To closely mirror The Hague Conference on Private International Law’s model certificate, the Apostilles issued by the California Secretary of State have changed. (pdf ~54KB)

Customer Alert – Online Notarization Services Are Not Legal In California: Despite claims by private companies to the contrary, online notarization services are not legal under California law.

Each year, changes in the law may affect your notary public commission. For information regarding new laws and changes to existing laws that directly affect filings made and business conducted with the Secretary of State’s office, please refer to the Legislation webpage.

Expanded Background Checks

All applicants appointed or reappointed as a notary public must undergo a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the California Department of Justice. The Request for Live Scan Service (pdf ~442KB) form is available online.

Photo Requirement

All applicants appointed or reappointed as a notary public are required to attach a 2″ x 2″ color passport photo of their person to the back of the completed notary public application form.

The Notary Public Section is responsible for:

  • reviewing and approving course curriculum and issuing certificates of approval to notary public education vendors;
  • appointing and commissioning qualified persons as notaries public for four-year terms;
  • certifying to the authenticity of notaries public and public officials’ signatures;
  • issuing permits to authorized seal manufacturers to produce notary public seals;
  • maintaining and distributing a list of all authorized seal manufacturers to newly commissioned notaries public;
  • enforcing laws related to the Child Support Enforcement Program, which provides for the suspension or revocation of commissions for noncompliance with child or family support orders; and
  • investigating violations of notary public law and taking appropriate administrative or criminal disciplinary actions.