Becoming a Notary Public involves several steps and deadlines that must be met before you can reach your goal. If you are unsure what to do next, contact us and we will help determine the next action you need to take.
Determine how many hours you need:
I am a first-time notary = 6 hour seminar
I am a notary but my commission expired = 6 hour seminar
I am a notary who holds a valid commission = 3 hour seminar ( You must take the notary exam before your commission expires.)
We offer training in person, virtual classrooms or self-study online.
Select your learning preference by clicking “Notary Seminar Info.”
Proof of Completion:
A proof of Completion issued by an approved vendor is valid for two years from the completion of your seminar.
Testing is proctored by CPS HR Consulting. The notary exam has 45 multiple choice questions and you must receive 70% or better to pass. It takes 15 business days to receive your exam results through the mail. You can also obtain your exam results on the CPS HR Consulting website.
Virtual/Online students must register directly with CPSHR. Some colleges hold exams following our virtual classes. Check the college catalog of your choice for more information.
In-person students on college campuses will most likely take the exam directly following our seminars. You will automatically be registered for the exam after your seminar. (Exception: A college may opt out of providing the exam. Check your college’s catalog description for more information.)
CPS HR Consulting exam schedule and registration instruction are located here on the CPS HR website:
Taking the Exam:
There are a number of items that you must take with you to the exam:
- Application to become a Notary
- 2×2 Passport Style Photo
- #2 Pencil
- A driver’s license or State DMV I.D. card
- A Canadian or Mexican Driver’s license
- U.S. Passport/Passport Card or Passport/Passport Card issued by a foreign government
- A U.S. Military I.D. Card
- Proof of Completion, physical copy (issued by your instructor after in person class or emailed to you after completion of your online class)
- $40 Check or Money Order made out to the Secretary of State (no cash or card) If retesting you will need a $20 check or money order and your failure letter.
After passing the exam you will have one year to complete the application process with the next step
New and Renewing Notaries must take a background check by Live Scan fingerprinting before each commission.
Print and complete application:
Bring to Live Scan Operator:
Live Scan “rolling” fees vary from location to location. Google “Live Scan” and your city to find the best price in your area. Once you submit your fingerprints, everything is sent electronically to the FBI and DOJ. Each will submit a report to the SOS to add to your file. No further action is required on your behalf regarding your Live Scan. Processing times can vary so check the SOS website for processing updates: www.sos.ca.gov/notary/processing-times
After the SOS receives your exam results and live scan fingerprint results, they will send your commission packet to the address you indicated on your application. This could take a few weeks or more. Once you receive your commission packet, you will have 30 days from your commission start date to complete Step 5.
Step 5: File your oath and bond with the County Clerk where you will be performing 51% of your notarizations. Most students purchase their package before their commission arrives so that there is no time lost when filing the bond.
We offer two complete notary packages, the Loan Signing Agent Package and the Best Buy Package. Both contain a complete set of tools you’ll need to be an effective notary public including a Surety Bond and Errors and Omissions insurance.
Lastly, file your oath and bond in the county indicated on your commission. To do this you will need to receive your original bond.
Obtain your bond by sending us a scan of your “Certificate of Authorization to Manufacture Notary Public Seals” (COA) that you received from the SOS. Email to
Then mail the original COA to the mailing address:
12120 Herbert St
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Once you have received an original bond you can file with the County Clerk. Be sure to check the County Clerk’s website for specific instructions on how to file in your county. Filing instructions are different from county to county.
Note for File by Mail:
If you are filing by mail, follow the instructions of your County Clerk’s website exactly. If you have questions, call them and get clarification. You will need to have two oaths of office notarized by a notary in the county you are filing in.
Filed By Mail:
If you filed by mail, you must wait for the conformed copies of your bond and commission to be returned. As soon as you receive confirmation that you filed successfully, you can begin notarizing.
Filed in Person:
If you filed in person, you may begin notarizing as soon as you leave the County Clerk’s office. The County Clerk will send your conformed copies by mail.
Your commission will be valid for 4 years from the start date on your commission certificate. Remember to renew your commission in the last year of your current commission.