Welcome to the NEW Website for the Notary Commissions
We have two new exciting updates: Our office is now computerized and the code for notaries public has now been amended.
Our office will now be accepting notary applications online with payment by credit card. Be sure to read the instructions prior to filling out the application.
As of July 16, 2016, notaries do not need to submit annual reports with information on the last 3 months of notarial acts performed for that year.
The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications (ONCA) Does Not Notarize Documents. We commission individuals to become notaries public in the District of Columbia.
ONCA does not issue or renew passports. For information regarding passports go to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html or you may search the Internet for other providers.
The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications (ONCA) 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, except applicants for renewal do not have to attend an orientation session.
If you are looking for notarial services and want to find a notary near you, go to our section Search for a Notary Public and use the drop down Search for a Notary by Address. You may put in any DC address and the locations with the contact information for notaries near that address will appear.
How to Become a Notary Public
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States, residents of the District of Columbia (if applying for a residential commission), or may be residents of other jurisdictions whose primary place of business or employment is located in the District of Columbia (if applying for a business or government commission). If applying for a dual commission, the applicant must both live in DC and have a primary place of business or employment in DC.
Notary Commissions in the District of Columbia are for five (5) year terms, beginning on the 1st and 15th of each month (except January 2nd) and ending on the 14th and last day of each month (except January 1st).
The non-refundable application fee for new and application renewals is $75. ONCA accepts checks, money orders, VISA, Master Card, Discover or American Express. No cash is accepted. Checks or money orders must be from a US Financial Institution in US dollars payable to “DC Treasurer.” The process to become a notary public takes about 45 - 60 days once the application is deemed sufficient. Those applying for government commissions only are exempt from the application fee.
The application to become a notary public or to renew the commission is available at: Notary Public Application.
When filling out the form DO NOT use abbreviations. You must completely spell out the name of the street (example: Martin Luther King, Connecticut) and the name of the thoroughfare (example, Avenue, Road, Street).
Do NOT capitalize all the letters in each section.
- The application may then be submitted online or printed out and mailed to the office. The application fee may now be paid online by credit card. If you choose to print it and either mail it in with a check or come into the office, this may delay the process.
- You must read the instructions before you fill out the application completely and accurately or it will be returned for correction.
- When you fill out the application whether online or manually do not use any abbreviations. You must spell out the name of the street (Martine Luther King, Connecticut) and the thoroughfare (Avenue, Street, Road).
- When filling out the application whether online or manually, do not use all capitalizations. The first letter of the word (First Name, Last Name, First Name of the Street, etc.) should be in capitals but NOT the entire name.
- All applicants to become a notary public for the first time or those who have not renewed their commission in over 12 months must attend an orientation session.
- For those applying to renew their commissions, please see this link for an approximate timetable to help you know when you need to have your application in to avoid a lapse in your commission. The same application is used for new and renewal applicants. ONCA does not notify existing notaries when or before their commission will expire. In general an existing notary must have their application approved at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current commission in order to not have a lapse in the commission.
- Once your application has been processed (and when necessary orientation has been completed), all applicants will receive an Appointment Notice from our office, approximately two weeks prior to their commission date. This is the formal notification that allows you to purchase your notary supplies and (when applicable) your surety bond.
- You may not purchase these until you have received your Appointment Notice. For new applicants, your commissioning date and date for the Appointment Notice will be stated during the orientation session; for renewal applicants please see the link above. If you have been working with an outside organization on your application and to receive supplies you may receive some non-date specific supplies in advance, but you may not receive any supplies with your commission dates or the surety bond form prior to receiving the Appointment Notice and surety bond form from our office. Our office will only accept the surety bond form supplied from our office.
- New applicants and those who be renewing after January 2019 will be required to purchase a new notary certificate/stamp. Please see the Notary Public Handbook for the samples and new language.
- Once you receive your Appointment Notice, you will have sixty (60) days from the effective date of your commission to come into the ONCA office and complete the oath of office. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of your commission and you will have to re-apply.
- All notaries public except for those who are only government notaries will be listed on the Search for a Notary Public Map by address, unless you check the box on the application that you do not wish to be on this map.
If you change your name or address during your commission or you change employment during your commission, you resign your commission or if your sealer/embosser was lost or stolen, please use the link to one of the forms below and then scan the document with the required appropriate supporting documents and email them to the ONCA office at [email protected].
Changes in the Law
While much of the new law codifies existing regulations and policies, some highlights include:
- You may not notarize documents you or your spouse has signed or for which you or spouse have a beneficial interest.
- If the person personally appearing before the notary does not have appropriate identification, you may accept a credible witness with a verification of oath of the witness and the appropriate identification.
- If an individual is physically unable to sign a record, the individual may direct an individual other than the notarial officer to sign the individual's name on the record. The notarial officer shall insert "Signature affixed by [name of other individual] at the direction of [name of individual]" or words of similar import.
- If you will be notarizing documents in a language other than English, you must submit a form stating you can read and write in the language you will be performing those notarial acts.
- The certificates/stamps used on the forms will change. For existing notaries you may use the ones you have, but when you renew and for new applicants, the supply companies will have a new format.
- For more details on becoming and the responsibilities of a notary public in the District of Columbia, please see the Notary Public Handbook [PDF], call (202-727-3117) or email at [email protected]
- Notary Public Handbook [PDF]
- To view Notary Public code, https://code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/code/titles/1/chapters/12A/