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Notary Commissions

The Mayor shall implement Remote Notarization (RN), and it shall be effective upon the issuance of Remote Notarization Guidance by the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications. BE ADVISED that RN shall not be permitted in the District of Columbia until the Guidance is issued. Please continue to use this website or contact [email protected] for updates.


Special note:

During Mayor Bowser’s Health Emergency Declaration, our office will continue to review online notary applications; the link to the application is on this website. Since we are teleworking, the following questions and answers may help you better understand the services that will be offered during the COVID-19 health emergency. Thank you for your patience and please stay safe.

Question: I haven’t been able to come to the office and take the oath. The sixty-day requirement will expire soon. Will I have to reapply?

Answer: No. We will be extending the time all applicants have to take the oath of office beyond Mayor Bowser’s Health Emergency Declaration. We will be sending an email to all applicants with a detailed explanation.

Question: I may not be able to get my supplies or surety bond within sixty days. Will I have to re-apply?

Answer: No. We will be extending the time all applicants have to take the oath of office beyond Mayor Bowser’s Health Emergency Declaration. We will be sending an email to all applicants with a detailed explanation.

Question: Can I still apply to become a notary or to renew my commission during the health emergency?

Answer: Yes. We are continuing to accept and review online notary applications.

Question: I submitted my application and paid for it, but I have not received a notification to attend an Orientation Session.

Answer: Due to Mayor Bowser’s Health Emergency Declaration, we have not held any Orientation Sessions since March 4, 2020. Once it is safe to conduct face-to-face business, you will be notified of the next Orientation Session. Thank you for your patience.

Question: Will DC allow electronic notarizations or remote notarizations during the health emergency?

Answer: We are not currently equipped with an infrastructure, technology, or staffing perspective to move forward on electronic notarizations or remote notarization at this time. We are in the process of researching innovative technology and service options to make the best decision for District residents in the near future.

Question: I submitted my application to renew my commission. It has been approved and I have my supplies, but I won’t be able to take the oath because of the health emergency. My commission has expired. How can I continue to notarize?

Answer: You will not be able to perform notarial acts beyond your expiration date. We are monitoring the situation closely for changes in the law and will keep you updated should events warrant.


The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications now accepts applications to become a notary and to renew a commission online. See below for instructions and the link to the application.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Notary Application

  • You must use the link provided on this website below. We will no longer accept the PDF version of the application; if you submit that form through the mail or in-person it will be returned to you as denied.
  • The new application may be filled out and submitted to the ONCA office online. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before completing the application.
  • If you fill out the application in all CAPS in any field it will be returned for corrections. You may only capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Please do not use any abbreviations. You must spell out the name of the street; for example Martin Luther King.
  • There is a dropdown for the name of the thoroughfare; for example Street, Road, Avenue.
  • There is a dropdown for the quadrant; NW, NE, SW, SE. If your residential address does not have a quadrant, please us “NA” in the dropdown.
  • You may not save the application, so be sure you have all the required information including the letter(s) of request before you begin.
  • You may not print the application and type it manually.
  • Once the application has been received and deemed sufficient, you will be notified to pay the application fee online (except those commissioned on behalf of the DC or federal government) by credit card. If you choose to pay by check or money order through the mail, this may delay the process. If you use this option, the check is payable to DC Treasurer and should be sent to: Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications, 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 810S, Washington, DC 20001. Do not send in another application, but do include your name as it appears on your application. Your application will not be approved until you have completed the entire process.
  • It may take 2-3 days after you submit the application for the process to begin.
  • If your application is not sufficient, you will receive an email notifying you of the errors with a link to the original application so you may make the corrections and re-submit the application.
  • The entire process takes 45-60 days.

Use the Notary Application link to submit your application.

Note: If you are applying to renew your application ONCA does not send out reminder notices, but you may use this (link) for a timeline as to when your application must be approved in order to avoid a lapse in your commission.

Change of Name, Address, Employment, Resignation of Commission,or to Report a Lost or Stolen Sealer:

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].


Change of Name

Change of Address

Change of Employment

Resignation of Commission

Lost or Stolen Sealer


Changes in the Law

As of December 4, 2018, many exciting amendments were made to the Code for Notaries Public. While much of the new law codifies existing regulations and policies, some highlights include:

  • The person for whom you are performing notarial acts must personally appear to you.
  • You may not notarize documents you or your spouse has signed or for which you or spouse have a beneficial interest.
  • You must have personal knowledge of the individual appearing before you or a current government ID with a photo or a signature. The government may be the US or any country must it must be a current ID with a photo or a signature.
  • If the person personally appearing before the notary does not have appropriate identification, you may accept a credible witness with 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. Existing notaries may continue to notarize in any language until they renew their commission.
  • The certificates/stamps used on the forms have changed. 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]


View Frequently Asked Questions.

More Information:

Service Contact: 
Office of the Secretary, Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
(202) 727-3117
Contact Fax: 
(202) 727-8457
Contact TTY: 
Contact Suite #: 
Suite 810 South
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 9 am to 1 pm; WALK-IN Hours: 9AM-1PM
Service Location: 

441 4th Street, NW

GIS Address: 
441 4th Street, NW