Become a Notary Public
The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications approves and commissions individuals as DC notaries public. The office commissions both new applicants and reappointments. The process for renewing a commission is the same as applying for an original commission.
District of Columbia notaries public must be 18 years of age, be of good moral character and live or work in the District of Columbia [“…sole place of business or employment is located in the District of Columbia.” DC Code D. I, T. 1, Chapter 12, §1-1201]. Good moral character means character other than that which reflects moral turpitude and conduct which would cause a reasonable person to have substantial doubts about an individual's honesty, fairness and respect for the rights of others and for the laws of the state and the nation. To be relevant to deciding whether a person is of "good moral character," conduct of questionable good moral character must be rationally connected to the applicant's fitness to be a notary public.
A candidate for notary public must undergo the following process:
1. Complete the District of Columbia's Notary Public Application.
- Applications may be picked up at 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 810 South or downloaded Notary Public Application [PDF].
- Applications must be signed and dated within 30 days of the date of submission.
- A letter stating the need for notary services must be prepared by the applicant's employer and submitted with the application. If self-employed, submit the request on company letterhead. The letter submitted must address the need for service provision and how it will positively impact the District of Columbia.
2. Submit the application to the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications.
- Mail or deliver the completed application, fee and related materials to the following address:
Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications
441 4th Street, NW
Suite 810 South
Washington, DC 20001
- No cash is accepted for notary applications.
- A representative from the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications will contact new applicants to schedule the mandatory orientation within three weeks of the submission of an application. The communication should arrive via email unless you do not have an email address. Otherwise, you will be contacted by telephone.
- Once mandatory orientation is completed, the office will send candidates a notice letter that contains their commission date and other pertinent information, as well as a bond form, if indicated. The notice and bond form should arrive within a two week period subsequent to attendance at the mandatory orientation.
- Notary candidates will obtain their notarial supplies and secure a surety bond for a minimum of $2000. The bond form must be completed by the bond company. Once secured, the notary candidate will bring these items with them to take their oath of commission in the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications, 441 4th street NW, Suite 810 South.
If you have any questions about the notary commissioning process, call the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications at (202) 727-3117 or by email. See Frequently Asked Questions.
The office commissions qualified persons as notaries public for five-year terms, authenticates their signatures and maintains the oath of office and the official signature of every Notary Public. If a notary commission is not claimed within 60 days from its issuance, it becomes invalid. Failure to claim the commission within 60 days is not excused for any reason, including non-receipt of the notice. Thereafter, if the applicant wishes to become a District of Columbia commissioned notary, a new application and a new $75 fee must be submitted.
Notaries Public protect against fraud and forgery by acting as an official, unbiased witness to the identity of the person who signs a document. Should you encounter a situation where you have a question or concern, you should seek the advice of legal counsel.