How to Become an Arizona Notary
The Arizona Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming an Arizona notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Arizona notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Arizona appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Arizona is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become an Arizona notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become an Arizona notary
- The process to become an Arizona notary
- Basic Arizona notarial duties
What are the qualifications to become an Arizona notary?
To become an Arizona notary public, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least eighteen years of age.
- Be a citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States.
- Be a resident of Arizona for income tax purposes and claim the individual’s residence in Arizona as the individual’s primary residence on state and federal tax returns.
- Be able to read and write English.
- Not have a conviction for a felony unless civil rights have been restored, or a conviction of a lesser offense involving moral turpitude or of a nature that is incompatible with the duties of a notary public.
What is the process to become an Arizona notary?
To become an Arizona notary public and receive an Arizona notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
- Complete an online web-based application located on the Secretary of State’s website. (Print, sign, and have it notarized.)
- Purchase a $5,000 surety bond.
- Submit to the Secretary of State an original signed application, an original and notarized bond, and a $43 filing fee. (The applications created from the “web application” site are the only applications accepted, and the photocopies of the application and bond will not be accepted.)
- Submit all three together in person at either the Phoenix or Tucson customer service centers or by mail to the Phoenix office.
- Make sure the printed name, signatures, addresses, and county of residences on the application are identical to the information on the bond.
- To initiate a new notary application process for an Arizona notary commission click here.
Processing an application an issuing the commission certificate may take up to four weeks. However, an applicant may request to expedite the application process for an additional $25 fee, which reduces the process time to 2-3 business days.
Can a non-resident become a notary in Arizona?
No. An individual who is not a resident of Arizona for income tax purposes, and who does not claim an individual, primary residence in Arizona on state and federal tax returns, does not qualify for an Arizona notary public commission.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Arizona?
An Arizona notary applicant’s expenses may include the cost for the following: (1) a $43 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment or $68 to expedite his or her notary application; (2) a $5,000 surety bond; (3) a notary stamp; (4) a notary journal; and (5) an E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to purchase one for his or her personal protection against liability.
How do I renew my Arizona notary commission?
An Arizona notary may apply for reappointment as a notary public as early as two months before the expiration date of his or her current notary commission. Arizona notaries must complete an online web-based application for reappointment and follow the same application process and procedures as the initial application for appointment as a notary public. A renewing notary public who changed any address (mailing, home, and/or business) more than thirty days from receipt of his or her application for reappointment and did not report the change to the Secretary of State must include a civil penalty of $25 to avoid delay in processing the notary’s application for reappointment. The Secretary of State is not bound by prior determinations of eligibility. To initiate the reappointment process, click here.
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become an Arizona notary public or to renew my Arizona notary public commission?
No. New applicants seeking appointments as Arizona notaries public and renewing notaries are not required to take or pass any notary courses of study or examinations to be appointed and commissioned as Arizona notaries public. However, the Secretary of State may require that applicants and suspended notaries present proof of attendance at a notary training course before receiving their notary commissions or before reinstatement of a suspended commission. Any applicant who is required to attend a notary training course must complete the training within the ninety days before renewing his or her commission. The Secretary of State may assess a fee prescribed by the Secretary of State for administering notary training courses (A.R.S. §41-312[H]). The Arizona notary statute requires all notaries to “keep as a reference a manual that is approved by the Secretary of State and that describes the duties, authority and ethical responsibilities of notaries public” on hand (ARS §41-312[E]). The Secretary of State’s current “Notary Public Reference Manual” is available in electronic format for downloading from the website. In addition, the Secretary of State offers a free Notary Training Workshop and/or Online Notary Workshop on a regular basis for attendants interested in learning the duties and responsibilities of an Arizona notary public. To register for a Notary Training Workshop, go to https://azsos.gov/business/notary-public/notary-workshop.
Last but not least, the American Association of Notaries offers an Arizona notary public online training course that includes: (1) very specific statutory requirements with which all Arizona notaries must be in compliance; (2) the fundamental notarial standards, guidelines, and practices critical to the office of notary public; and (3) step-by-step notarial practices for the execution of proper notarial acts that all notaries should be performing professionally and effectively. To begin our Notary Public Online Training Course, click here: www.becomeanotarypublic.com.
Can I perform electronic notarization in Arizona?
Yes. The Arizona Legislature enacted the “Electronic Notarization,” which permits a notary public to obtain an electronic or digital signature and electronic seal to notarize electronic records in the physical presence of the individual seeking the notarization (ARS §41-352). In addition, the Arizona Secretary of State adopted regulations by final rulemaking relating to electronic notarization provisions with respect to electronic records for electronic notaries in Title 2, Chapter 12, Article 12 (Electronic Notary) in the Arizona Administrative Code. The State of Arizona also enacted the “Arizona Electronic Transactions Act” (ARS §§44-7001 through 44-7051), which legally recognizes and permits electronic signatures used by electronic notaries in the performance of electronic notarizations of electronic records. Section 44-7034 relating to electronic notarization and acknowledgment states, “if a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified or made under oath, that requirement is satisfied if all of the following are true: (1) a secure electronic signature of the individual who is authorized to perform those acts and all other information that is required to be included pursuant to any other applicable law are applied to a secure electronic record; (2) the secure electronic record has a time stamp token that is both: (a) created by a party recognized by the Secretary of State; (b) in a form that is accepted by the Secretary of State to do all of the following: (i) reasonably verify the validity of the signing party’s secure electronic signature; (ii) reasonably establish the time of signing; and (3) the secure electronic record cannot be altered without invaliding the time stamp token.”
Before an electronic notary public performs the notary’s initial electronic notarial act, the applicant must apply to the Secretary of State for an electronic notary commission. Each applicant for an electronic notary commission or a renewal of an electronic notary commission must submit to the Secretary of State: (1) a verified application on a form provided by the Secretary of State and/or a renewal application with a fee of $25; (2) a $25,000 bond with a filing fee of $25; and (3) an oath of office. An applicant must also register his or her possession of an approved electronic notary token within ninety days of submitting the application. First and foremost, the Arizona notary statute requires that the principal signer must physically appear before the electronic notary at the time of the electronic notarial act. All the same rules, standards, practices, and regulations that apply to a traditional paper notarization also apply to an electronically signed document including, but not limited to, personal appearance before the electronic notary public. In addition, the notary’s electronic seal must reproduce the required elements of the notary’s official seal. An electronic notary must keep a journal of all electronic notarial acts in bound paper form with the same form as required in A.R.S. §41-319. An electronic notary must also obtain an electronic notary token and a notary service electronic certificate approved by the Secretary of State. When using an electronic notary token and the notary service electronic certificate, an electronic notary must insert the statutory required information. An electronic notary may not charge more than $25 for performing an electronic notarial act (AAC §R2-12-1207). Foremost, there are penalty fees and civil penalties to be imposed upon an electronic notary for failure to provide a signed notice to the Secretary of State of each loss, theft, or compromise of an electronic notary’s journal, a notary service electronic certificate, or of loss, theft or compromise of any materials or processes used in creating an electronic notary token.
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in Arizona?
Yes. The Arizona 2019 Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1030, which adds Article 4 (Remote Online Notarization) to Title 41, Chapter 2 (Notaries Public) of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Effective July 1, 2020, the newly enacted article permits Arizona notaries to perform remote online notarizations for remotely located individuals using two-way video and audio communication technology that meets the standards adopted by the Secretary of State. The new law clarifies that an online notarial act satisfies any Arizona law requiring a principal signer to personally appear before a notary public for the performance of a notarial act. The Secretary of State has not promulgated regulations through final rulemaking to implement and conform to the statutory provisions relating to remote online notarizations of Senate Bill 1030. The new law requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules to facilitate remote online notarizations on or before July 1, 2020. The Secretary of State’s adopted rules for remote online notarizations must include sufficient forms of notarial certificates for remote online notarizations as well as standards for applications and registration, communication technology, credential analysis, identity proofing, retention of the audio and visual recordings created under section 41-374, and electronic signatures and electronic seals (ARS §41-372An).
What is the process to become an Arizona online notary public?
Before a notary public performs an initial remote online notarization, the notary public must notify the Secretary of State that he or she will be performing remote online notarial acts by using communication technology. The Secretary of State has not adopted rules through final rulemaking that describes and outlines the application and registration process and procedures for a notary public who wishes to perform remote online notarial acts.
When performing remote online notarizations using an approved communication technology, a notary public must adhere to these statutory requirements:
- The notary must be physically located within the boundaries of Arizona, even though the remotely located individual may be geographically located in any state or country.
- The remotely located individual must be visually in the presence of the notary public through the use of an audio and video communication technology.
- The remotely located individual’s identity must be established through satisfactory evidence of identity, as defined in A.R.S. §41-311, using communication technology that includes identity proofing and credential analysis.
- The notary must confirm that an electronic record before the notary is the same electronic record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the remotely located individual executed or adopted a signature.
- The notary must complete an electronic notarial certificate for the remote online notarization.
- The notary must ensure that the electronic notarial certificate for the remote online notarial act is attached to or logically associated with the electronic record that is the subject of the remote online notarization.
- The notary must include the language in the electronic notarial certificate that the notarial act was a remote online notarization performed using communication technology.
- The notary must authenticate the remote online notarial act with an electronic seal that contains the statutory required information.
- The notary must record in chronological order the remote online notarization in an electronic, tamper-evident journal.
- The notary, or a person acting on behalf of the notary, must create an audio and visual recording of the remote online notarization.
- The notary must make a backup of the audio-visual recording used for the remote online notarization.
- The notary must take reasonable steps to ensure that the communication technology used in the remote online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception.
- The notary must take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized use and to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of the remote online notarization, electronic journal, and backups of the audio and visual recordings.
- The notary must take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered device used to create an electronic signature is current and has not been revoked or terminated by the device’s issuing or registering authority.
- A notary must attach the notary’s electronic signature and seal to the electronic certificate of an electronic document in a manner that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic document evident.
- The notary must take reasonable steps to protect the notary’s electronic seal from unauthorized use.
- The maximum fee the notary may charge for the remote online notarization is $25.
- The notary must comply with the laws of Arizona regardless of the physical location of the remotely located individual at the time of the remote online notarization.
Moreover, a notary public may perform a remote online notarial act using an approved communication technology for a remotely located individual who is physically located: (1) in Arizona; (2) outside Arizona but not outside of the United States; (3) outside the United States if both of the following apply: (a) the electronic record either: (i) is to be filed with or relates to a matter before a court, governmental entity, public official, or other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States or (ii) involves property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or a transaction substantially connected to the United States and (b) the notary has no actual knowledge that the act of making the statement or signing the electronic record is prohibited by the foreign state in which the remotely located individual is located.
A notary’s records of his or her remote online notarizations must be retained for five years following the date of the remote online notarizations. A notary public must immediately notify an appropriate law enforcement agency and the Secretary of State of the theft or vandalism of his or her electronic seal, electronic signature, or electronic journal. The liability, sanctions, and remedies for the improper performance of remote online notarizations are the same under the state laws as for the improper performance of a notarial act performed by a traditional notary public. Article 4 clarifies that if any conflict between the remote online notarization laws and any other Arizona law exists, the remote online notarization laws control.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Arizona?
The commission term of an Arizona notary public is for four years commencing with the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void (1) by resignation, death, or revocation; (2) when a notary public is no longer a resident of Arizona during the notary’s commission term; (3) when a notary is no longer a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States; (4) when a notary loses his or her capability to read and write English; (5) when a notary has been convicted of a felony offense, unless civil rights have been restored; or (6) when a notary has been convicted of a lesser offense involving moral turpitude or of a nature that is incompatible with the duties of a notary public.
Is an Arizona notary bond required to become a notary in Arizona?
Yes. A surety bond in the amount of $5,000 is required for all new applicants seeking appointments as notaries public and for renewing notaries. A licensed surety must execute the bond. The bond must be effective for four years beginning on the commission’s effective date. The bond must be approved and filed with the Secretary of State within twenty days after a notary applicant receives notice of the appointment or reappointment. The Secretary of State will not accept any bond that was issued more than sixty days before or more than sixty days after the date on which the Secretary of State commissions a notary public. To purchase and receive a bond via e-mail in one business day, visit the American Association of Notaries website or call (800) 721-2663.
Do I need an Arizona notary errors and omission insurance?
An errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Arizona. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Arizona notaries obtain an errors and omissions insurance policy for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial or other type of loss to the public or from a client who sues the notary public for recovery. An E&O policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage an Arizona notary selects. To obtain information regarding an E&O insurance policy, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.arizonanotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Arizona?
An Arizona notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Arizona. Likewise, an Arizona notary may not perform notarial acts outside Arizona.
Who appoints Arizona notaries public?
The Arizona Secretary of States receives applications for appointment and reappointment as a notary public, administers the commissioning process, and maintains an electronic database of active notaries. To contact the Arizona Secretary of State, use the following information:
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
1700 West Washington Street, 7th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808
(602) 542-6187 or 1-800-458-5842
Southern Arizona Satellite Office:
Arizona State Complex Building
400 West Congress
First Floor, Suite 141
Tucson, AZ 85701
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Arizona?
Yes. The Arizona notary statute requires all notaries public to authenticate all their official acts with an official seal that is imprinted in dark ink on every certificate or acknowledgment signed and sealed by the notary (ARS §41-313[D]).
Dimensions: “A notary public’s official seal may be any shape and shall produce a stamped seal that is no more than one and one-half inches high and two and one-half inches wide” (ARS §41-321[B]).
Required Elements: Arizona notaries must provide and keep the official seal that is imprinted in dark ink with the following elements (ARS §41-313[D]):
- The words “Notary Public”
- The name of the county in which the notary is commissioned
- The name of the notary public as it appears on the commission application
- The Great Seal of the State of Arizona
- The notary’s commission number
- The notary’s commission expiration date
“Dark ink includes black, dark blue, dark purple, dark green or dark brown. Red ink or ink not viewable on all copy or fax machines is unacceptable” (Notary Public Reference Manual).
Note: A vendor of notary seals may not provide an official seal to a person unless the person presents a photocopy of the person’s notarial commission. The vendor shall retain the photocopy for four years (ARS §41-321An). A notary public may possess only one official seal but may also possess and use an embossing seal that may be used only in conjunction with the notary public's official seal. An embossing seal is not an official seal of a notary public (ARS §41-321[B]). A person who knowingly violates Subsection A of this section is guilty of a class 6 felony. A person who violates Subsection B of this section is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor (ARS §41-321[C]).
Failure to comply: Using an official seal that is not in compliance with Section 41-313[D] is grounds for the Secretary of State to refuse, revoke, or suspend a notary’s commission (ARS §41-330An).
Is a notary journal required in Arizona?
Yes. The Arizona notary statute requires all Arizona notaries public to record in chronological order all notarial acts performed in a paper journal (ARS §41-319An). Likewise, electronic notaries are required to record all electronic notarial acts performed in a paper journal. A notary public must keep only one paper journal at a time; however, it is allowed for a notary to keep one journal for public records and another journal for non-public records. If a notary keeps only one journal, that journal is presumed to be a public record, which becomes the property of a notary. A notary’s journal that contains entries that are not public records is the property of the notary’s employer when the notary leaves that employment. The notary must furnish, upon a written request, a certified copy of any public record in the notary’s journal, but such request must include the month and year of the notarial act, the name of the person whose signature was notarized, and the type of document or transaction. There are exemptions to the legal requirements of recording every notarial act performed in a paper journal, which may be found in Section 41-319 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. While a journal is not required by state notary law, the American Association of Notaries recommends that Arizona notaries maintain a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages to create and preserve a chronological record of every notarial act performed as a protective measure against allegations of fraudulent notarial acts and official misconduct. For Arizona notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com, call (800) 721-2663, or click here.
How much can an Arizona notary charge for performing notarial acts?
The Arizona notary fees are set by the Arizona Secretary of State by adopted rule (ARS §41-316 and AAC §R2-12-1102). The maximum allowable fees an Arizona notary can charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Taking an acknowledgment - up to $10.00 per notary signature
- Administering an oath or affirmation without a signature - up to $10.00 per notarial act
- Executing a jurat - up to $10 per notary signature
- Copy certifications - up to $10.00 per page certified
Note: Pursuant to Section 38-412, Arizona notaries must keep posted at all times in a conspicuous place in their respective offices a complete list of the fees they are allowed to charge. Before performing any notarial act, the notary public must inform the requestor of the service fee if one will be charged. Notaries may charge a travel mileage fee if they travel to perform a notarial act; however, the travel mileage fee must not be more than the amount authorized for Arizona state employees (ARS §41-316[B]). For the latest authorized mileage fees for state employees, check the fee schedule online at www.gao.az.gov/travel.
Arizona notaries who are charging more than the maximum fees authorized by state statutes and/or adopted rules may be subjected to possible criminal prosecution and suspension or revocation of their notary commissions by the Office of the Secretary of State.
What notarial acts can an Arizona notary public perform?
An Arizona notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (ARS §41-313An):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Perform jurats
- Perform a copy certification of an original document that is neither a public record nor publicly recordable
How do I update my address with the Arizona Secretary of State?
Within thirty days after the change of a mailing, business, or residential address, the notary must deliver to the Secretary of State, by certified mail or other means providing a receipt, a signed notice of the change that provides both the old and new addresses (ARS §41-323An). The Secretary of State’s online system will request a notary public to complete all three addresses as an added security feature; however, if only one address is changing, only that address will be changed. Failure to notify the Secretary of State after a change of address may result in a $25 civil penalty and/or be grounds for the Secretary of State to suspend or revoke the notary’s commission (ARS §41-323). A notary public may file an address change notice with the Secretary of State online by clicking here.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in Arizona?
An Arizona notary public who has a change of surname may continue to use the official seal and commission in the notary’s prior name until the commission expires. The notary must sign the changed surname on the line that is designated for the notary’s signature on the notarial certificate. Immediately below that signature, the notary public shall sign the name under which the notary was commissioned (ARS §41-327). The notary public must notify the Secretary of State within thirty days of a change of surname. A notary public may change his or her commission name to the new name after applying as a new applicant and submitting proof from the notary’s bonding company that his or her previous bond has been cancelled. Failure to notify the Secretary of State of a name change may result in a $25 civil penalty and/or be grounds for the Secretary of State to suspend or revoke the notary’s commission (ARS §41-323). The notice of a name change may be filed with the Secretary of State online by clicking here.
Arizona notarial certificates:
Click here to view Arizona notarial certificates.
Revised: January 2020
Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
Arizona notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). Kal Tabbara is a licensed insurance agent in Arizona.