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To be granted a California Notary Public commission, you must meet the requirements set by Statute (see the notary public handbook and this web site) and pass an examination to verify that you have at least a minimum level of knowledge regarding the laws and regulations affecting notary public services. The Notary Public Section of the State of California has contracted with CPS (not affiliated with Duane Gomer, Inc.) to conduct its regularly scheduled examinations at established tests centers throughout the State of California.

First Time Qualifications


In order to qualify to become a California Notary Public you must:

  • Be a legal resident of the State of California

  • Be at least 18 years of age or older (there is no maximum age set by Statute)

  • Pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State. The State will charge a $40 testing fee.

  • Be able to read, write, and understand English

  • Pass a background check


Reappointments (Renewals)


All candidates applying for reappointment within 6 months of their commission expiration date:

  • Effective July 1, 2005: Must complete a State Approved 6-hour Notary Public Education course, or a 3-hour Notary Public Education course each successive renewal.

  • Pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State. The State will charge a $40 testing fee.

Should the candidates expiration date be more than 6 months overdue, the candidates renewal process will be treated as a First Time candidate.


Child Support


Applicants found to be non-compliant with child or family support orders will be issued temporary term commissions. Notaries found to be non-compliant after the commission is issued may be subject to commission suspension or revocation.


Background Check


State law requires all applicants be fingerprinted as part of a background check prior to being granted an appointment as a notary public. Information concerning the fingerprinting requirement will be mailed to all candidates who pass the examination from the Notary Public Section of the Secretary of State.


Arrests and Convictions


You are required to disclose all arrests and convictions on your application. Convictions dismissed under Penal Code Section 1203.4 or 1203.4a must be disclosed. If you have any questions concerning the disclosure of convictions or arrests, contact the Secretary of State prior to signing the application.




A list of the most common disqualifying convictions are available for your review.