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Notary FAQ

How do I renew my notary appointment?
There is no automatic reappointment in Illinois. You will be notified by the Secretary of State approximately 60 days prior to the date your appointment expires. A preprinted application and bond form will be enclosed with the notification if you wish to apply for appointment for another term.

I have mailed a notary application and bond to the Secretary of State. When may I begin notarizing documents?
An appointed notary public may begin notarizing documents when his or her commission has been recorded with the county clerk and he or she has obtained an official notary public seal.

Should I accept a notary certificate from the county clerk that contains errors?
No, return the certificate to the county clerk detailing the error and request a corrected certificate.

How do I report a change in my home or work address or my name while I am serving as a notary public?
If you move or change employers and your new residence or place of employment is within the boundaries of the county from which you were appointed, you merely report the change of address to the Secretary of State. However, if you move out of the county, or if you are a non-resident notary who changes employment to another county, you must resign your commission. Resignations should be submitted to the Secretary of State. You can then apply for a new appointment.

When does a notary's commission officially expire?
A notary public receives a four-year appointment. A notary's commission expires at midnight of the expiration date of the appointment.

My notary commission will soon expire, I have received a notice from a "Notary Association" with instructions on how to apply for reappointment. What is this association?
There are several groups operating in Illinois under the name of "notary association," "agency" or "company." They are private organizations and are not officially associated with any government agency. These organizations offer assistance to notaries, sell notary seals, and provide the $5,000 notary bond for a fee. Solicitations from these groups are required to contain the following statement: "WE ARE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY." Only you can decide where to purchase your surety bond. You can purchase a bond from most insurance companies, or you may want to purchase a bond from one of the notary associations or agencies. The Secretary of State does not make any recommendations.

If my notary appointment has expired and I have applied for anew appointment, may I continue to notarize documents?
No. There is no grace period for a notary public once his or her appointment has expired. You may not perform notarial acts until you have recorded your new appointment with the county clerk and have obtained a new seal containing the date that your new term of office expires.

I would like to return to my maiden name. What does this involve?
A person who changes his or her name must resign his or her commission and apply for a new appointment.

What information is required when requesting that a commission be cancelled?
A written request should contain 1) the name under which the commission was issued; 2) the commission number; 3) reason for the cancellation and any supporting documents; 4) home address and telephone number; 5) signature of the notary requesting cancellation; and 6) the date the request was made.

Where do I submit my resignation as a notary?
Resignations should be submitted to: Secretary of State, Index Department, 111 E. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62756.