Florida Notary

A Florida Notary lives in a unique place in the US. Because of the influence of immigrants, the notary laws reflect this unique position. As you will see, there are several laws that make a Florida Notary "one of a kind."

I want to point out also that applying for a commission in Florida is usually done through an approved Bonding Company. The bonding company has an agreement with the state to take the notary application and submit it electronically to the state. The bonding company also will provide the notary applicant the seal and, if wanted, E & O insurance. For information on Bonding, click here. For information on E & O insurance, click here

Requirements

The Florida Notary requirements are as follows:

* Be 18 years old

* Legal resident of Florida. There is no specific time limit but you must produce proof of residency like a drivers license.

* US citizen or submit a Declaration of Domicile (available at the county clerk's office)

* If previously convicted of a felony, have your civil rights restored

* Take the oath of office

* Swear or affirm that you have read the notary laws and will abide by them

* Complete a 3 hour training course

* Submit an affidavit of good character from someone who has known you for at least a year

* You can only use your real name or nickname of your real name as your notary name

* Submit a bond in the amount of $7,500.00

Term

The term of commission is 4 years. This is renewable for 4 year periods. Re-application process is the same as the initial process with the exception (apparently) of the 3 hour training course.

Cost for the initial and renewal is $39.00

Fees

The fees you can charge as a notary are straight forward. You can charge $10.00 per notarial act. State law says a notarial act is:

* The administration of an oath;

* Taking of acknowledgment;

* Attesting to photocopies;

* Verifying Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN); or

* Certifying to the contents of a safe deposit box.

You may charge $20.00 to solemnize a marriage.

Certifying Copies

Certifying copies of records is allowed under certain conditions. These conditions include:

* Must have the original document to compare;

* Must make the copy or supervise the making of the copy; and

* Must complete a certificate.

Copies that cannot be certified are:

* Any copy that is a public record and can be obtained from the official source;

* Photographs; and

* Birth Certificates (actually, Florida law prohibits the copying of birth certificates)

HOWEVER, you can certify a copy or a Resident Alien Card. But you must be able to view the original and if you believe that it will be used for improper purposes, you cannot certify the copy.

ALSO, you CANNOT certify the accuracy of a translated document. But you may notarize the signature of the translator even if it states that the translator translated the document properly. (That's a mouthful)

Other Interesting Info

Did you know that Florida Notaries are authorized to perform marriages? That is right, assuming the couple has obtained the proper certificates from the county, the notary can perform the ceremony (and collect $20.00...there is no statute about the tip!)

Did you also know that notaries are NOT allowed to take fingerprints (at least not now). This most certainly will change, but for now a fingerprint can only be obtained with the permission of the signer and is for use only in your journal.

A notary journal, by the way, is not required in Florida

The Florida Notary Handbook, in several parts, can be found here.