Minnesota Secretary Of State - Notary FAQ
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Notary FAQ

Where can I find a notary public?
To look up a Minnesota Notary, Click on Find a Notary

Where can I get a duplicate of my Notary Commission Certificate?
You may print a commission certificate online by creating an account in the Notary Apostille site by selecting the Existing Notaries option or Sign In if you already have registered.

How do I correct my address that is listed in the Notary database?
For the incorrect address, phone number or county the change can be done online by accessing the notary application using your login (commission number and password). Click the edit link on the information screen, type over the incorrect information and save. An updated certificate can be printed by clicking the print commission link.

For an incorrect name or other corrections that may be needed, please contact this office at notary.sos@state.mn.us, or call us at 651-296-2803 or toll free at 1-877-551-6767 and press option #3 for assistance.

What fees do I charge for performing notarial acts?

Fees are stated in Minnesota Statute 357.17

The maximum fees to be charged and collected by a notary public shall be as follows:

     (1) for protest of nonpayment of note or bill of exchange or of nonacceptance of such bill; where protest is legally necessary, and copy thereof, $5;

     (2) for every other protest and copy, $5;

     (3) for making and serving every notice of nonpayment of note or nonacceptance of bill and copy thereof, $5;

     (4) for any affidavit or paper for which provision is not made herein, $5 per folio, and $1 per folio for copies;

     (5) for each oath administered, $5;

     (6) for acknowledgments of deeds and for other services authorized by law, the legal fees allowed other officers for like services;

     (7) for recording each instrument required by law to be recorded by the notary, $5 per folio.

How do I obtain a notary commission?
1. Complete the Notary Application
2. Sign and submit to the Minnesota Secretary's office with payment.

The applicant must be at least 18 years of age. Applicant must be either a Minnesota resident, or a resident of a county in IA, ND, SD or WI and list the Minnesota County he or she will be filing in upon receiving their commission. Non-resident notary applicants must designate the Secretary of State as their agent for service of process.

What is the fee for becoming a notary?
The fee for the notary commission is $120 (non-refundable) payable to the Secretary of State. In addition, there is a $20 fee collected to register your commission with your county. Please contact your resident county office for filing and fee requirements.

What type of payment methods are offered?
You have the option of paying by Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express) when filing renewals online. All documents submitted by mail must be paid by check or money order made payable to the OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE. Do not send cash through the mail.

Is the social security number required to apply?
No, the social security number is not required information when you apply to become a Minnesota Notary Public.

Is an email required when I apply?
While an email is not required it is strongly recommended to receive notary communications from the Secretary of State.

Is a PO Box acceptable for a mailing address?
A PO Box is only acceptable if: it includes a rural route or street address OR the city population is under 1,500.

What is required for documentation if I answer YES on the application?
At a minimum, submit documents indicating the charge, the disposition and satisfactory completion of any sentence and/or probation.

Do I need to obtain a seal?
Every notary pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 359  shall get an official notarial stamp as specified in 359.03, subd. 3 with which to authenticate official acts. The official notarial stamp consists of the seal of the state of Minnesota, the name of the notary as it appears on the commission or the name of the ex officio notary, the words "Notary Public" [or Notarial Officer" in the case of an ex officio notary], and the words my commission expires [(or where applicable) my term is indeterminate], with the expiration date shown on it and must be able to be reproduced in any legibly reproducible manner. The notary may sign documents using their normal signature if different then what is listed on their commission certificate. A notary that fails to affix his or her stamp has not properly notarized the document.

I have changed my name, do I need to change it on my notary commission?
Yes, you must submit the change to the Secretary of State within 30 days.

The following steps must be taken to change the name on your Notary Public Commission:

• Complete the Notary Application.
• Don't forget to check the name change box.
• Sign the application with your new name.
• You must attach documentation of your legal name (copy of your driver’s license with the new name, marriage certificate, divorce documents, court documents).
• No fee is required for a name change.
• Return all documents by mail.

What type of legal documentation is required to show my name change?
A copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, Minnesota driver’s license with new name, court order, etc.

Once I make the name change with the Secretary of State do I need to do anything else?
Yes, you should contact your resident county to determine the appropriate office to register your signature again, and you also need to obtain a new stamp.

I have changed my address do I need to contact the Secretary of State?
Yes, you are to contact the Secretary of State within 30 days of the address change. This can be done online by logging into the notary application, making the changes to your address, email and/or phone number. Or it can be in writing to the Secretary of State, download and print a PDF version of the Notary Application. There is no fee for this service.

When do I renew?
A notary commissioned under Minnesota Statutes 359.02  holds office until January 31 of the fifth year following the year the commission was issued, unless sooner removed by the governor or the district court, or by action of the commissioner of commerce. A notary may apply for renewal within 6 months before the expiration of the commission. Or in the case of an expired commission a new application can be completed to recommission.

How do I renew?
The time to renew is between August 1 and January 31. On August 1, you will have the option of filing either online or by mail. Please check this website at that time for instructions and forms. If you have any questions, please call us at 651-296-2803 or toll free at 1-877-551-6767 and press option #3 for assistance.

What is the fee for renewing?
The fee for the notary commission renewal is $120 (non-refundable) payable to the Secretary of State. In addition, there is a $20 fee collected at the county level to register your renewed commission. Please contact your resident county office for filing and fee requirements.

Do I need a new notary stamp once I renew?
Yes, since the commission expiration date is required on the stamp it will have to reflect the five year extension.

After I renew my commission, when do I stop using my old notary stamp and start using the stamp with my new expiration date?
A notary stamp may continue to be used until the date of expiration, even though the notary may have successfully renewed for an additional five year term.

I wish to resign my commission, how do I do that?
If you want to resign your commission, you will need to provide: 
● A statement in writing that you would like to resign your notary commission. Include in your statement:
           Your notary commission number
           Reason for resignation
           Effective date of resignation

The statement of resignation can be emailed to notary.sos@state.mn.us or mailed to:
Minnesota Secretary of State
First National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street, Suite N201
St. Paul, MN 55101

The official notarial stamp, and the notary's official journal, are the personal property of the notary and are exempt from execution. If you have any questions, contact this office at notary.sos@state.mn.us, or call 651-296-2803 or toll free at 1-877-551-6767 and press option #3 for assistance.

What is the proper procedure in Minnesota for notarizing a signature on a document that's in a language other than English?
Notaries do not notarize the document they notarize the signature. As long as you feel the signer knows what he/she is signing willingly and freely and wishes to agree to the terms of the document then the notary is free to notarize their signature to the document. The document can be in any language as long as the signer understands the language and is pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 358.65.  

What is required for the proper certification of documents?
To provide certification, the Secretary of State's Office requires the original notarized document or the original certified copy from the county. The Minnesota notary public, state official, or county official must provide a full signature, an acknowledgment statement, and the date the document was notarized or certified. Note: The notary's name as it appears on the official notarial stamp and as printed on any jurat or certificate of acknowledgment must match the name on the notary's commission. The certificate must include identification of the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed and the title of the office of the notarial officer, and must include the official notarial stamp pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 359.03. You may also refer to Minnesota Statutes 358.66 for examples of short form certificates of notarial acts.

What is an apostille?
An apostille is a certificate issued by the Secretary of State that proves the authenticity of a Notary's signature and stamp. An apostille alone is sufficient proof of authentication for notarized documents exchanged between countries which abide by The Hague Convention; otherwise a chain of authenticating certificates may be necessary.

Is a journal required?
While Minnesota law does not require a journal, it is prudent of a notary public to keep one. The journal is to record all notarial acts performed, which could include the date and time of the act, the type of act, a description of the document, signature of each principal and circumstances for not completing a notarial act. The official notarial stamp, and the notary's official journal are the personal property of the notary and are exempt from execution.

Can I certify a copy of a birth or death certificate?
A Notary should not certify a copy of a birth, death or marriage certificate, instead contact the Minnesota Department of Health to obtain a copy of a birth or death certificate. For foreign birth certificates, contact the consulate of the country of origin. To obtain a copy of a marriage certificate contact the county office where the marriage took place. Under Minnesota Statutes 359  states in certifying or attesting a copy of a document or other item, the notarial officer must determine that the proffered copy is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of that which was copied.

Can I certify a copy of a passport or a driver's license?
Under Minnesota Statutes 359.085 states in certifying or attesting a copy of a document or other item, the notarial officer must determine that the proffered copy is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of that which was copied.

Can I notarize an undated document?
If there is a space for a date it should be filled in with the correct date or lined through by the document signer. If the document simply doesn't have a date, it is acceptable to notarize it and record in your journal that the document has no date.

Can I notarize a document in which I am named?
Minnesota Statutes 358.70 prohibits the dishonest and unfaithful discharge of notary duties and Bank of Benson v Hove, 47 N.W. 449 (1890), involving a deed to a horse, declared that, "Undoubtedly the policy of the law forbids that the acknowledgment should be taken before a party to the deed..." This policy extends to other documents in which the notary is named.

Can I notarize a document in which I have a financial stake?
As mentioned above, Minnesota Statutes 358.70  prohibits the dishonest and unfaithful discharge of notary duties and Bank of Benson v. Hove, 47 N.W. 449 (1890) also covers this situation , stating that," Undoubtedly, the policy of the law forbids that the acknowledgement should be taken before a party to the deed or one who takes an interest under it." (Emphasis added). Having a financial interest as a result of the terms of a document with respect to which the notary is performing a notarial act results in an even stronger prohibition.

Can I notarize a fax or a photocopy?
A photocopy or fax may be notarized, but only if it bears an original signature. That is, the copy must have been signed with pen and ink. A photocopied or faxed signature may never be notarized. Note that some public recorders will not accept notarized signatures on photocopied or faxed sheets because they will not adequately reproduce in any legibly reproducible manner. Also, if the document has been faxed on glossy fax paper, a copy should be made on bond paper and that copy then signed and notarized with the official notarial stamp, as wording on glossy fax paper often fades.

Can I notarize a will?
The Notary should not proceed in notarizing a will unless clear instructions and notarial wording are provided, ideally by an attorney. Wills are such sensitive and important documents that there are certain dangers for Notaries involved with them. Some holographic (handwritten) wills may be invalidated by notarization. And Notaries who make the mistake of helping prepare a will may be sued by would-be or dissatisfied heirs. Often, misguided individuals will prepare their own wills and bring them to Notaries to have them "legalized." They will depend on the Notaries to know what kind of notarial act is appropriate. Of course, Notaries have no authority to offer such advice. And, whether notarized or not, these supposed "wills" may be worthless. In many states, notarization of a will is rarely done and is unnecessary if other witnessing procedures are used. In other states, wills don't need to be notarized at all. Often, it is not the signature of the testator or testatrix (maker of the will) that must be notarized, but the signatures of witnesses on affidavits appended to the will.

Can I notarize a document with blank spaces?
This may be prohibited by law in Minnesota. Even if not addressed in statute, a prudent Notary should skim the document for blanks and ask the document signer to fill them in. If they are intended to be left blank, then the signer can line through them or write N/A.

Can I notarize a document that was created in another state?
Yes. The portion of the notarial certificate that says "State of _________, County of _________" is called the venue and reflects where the notarization occurs regardless where the document originated. Put in your state and the county where you are performing the notarial act.

There is no room on the notarial certificate for my stamp impression. What do I do?
A stamp is required so attach a loose notarial certificate.

Can I transfer my notary commission from one state to another?
No. You must resign your commission in the state you are leaving and apply for a new commission in your new state of residence.

I have a document that two people will sign and only one person is present. Can I proceed?
You may perform a notarization for the person who is present. Indicate on the notarial certificate exactly which signer was present, i.e. "John Doe only" in the blank reserved for the signer's name.

When may I decline to perform a notarization?
If you know or suspect that the signer doesn't understand the transaction or is being coerced, if the signer cannot be satisfactorily identified, if the document is dated later than the notarization, if the document is incomplete, if the signer is not present. Your own state's notary laws may contain additional reasons.

Can I notarize for a stranger with no identification?
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 359.085  Subd.6, a notarial officer has satisfactory evidence that a person is the person whose true signature is on a document if that person (i) is personally known to the notarial officer, (ii) is identified upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the notarial officer, or (iii) is identified on the basis of identification documents.

Are there seminars available on how to be a notary?
There are various notary organizations that offer seminars, training and education. To see a list of these organizations, click on the Notary Training & Supplies menu option located on the Minnesota Secretary of States Notary & Apostille website page. 

What if I smear my notarial stamp on the document?
If there is room, affix a second stamp nearby. It is not necessary to cross out the original stamp or write an explanation on the document; the reason for the second stamp will be obvious. If there is no room for a second stamp, attach a separate certificate with the same wording, signature and legible stamp. Line through the original notarial wording and draw a line specifically through your stamp and signature. Near the old certificate wording, write "See Attached Certificate."

Can I notarize for a family member?
Minnesota Statutes 358.54, Subd. 2 states a notarial officer may not perform a notarial act with respect to a record to which the officer's spouse is a party, in which either of them has a direct interest. A notarial act performed in violation of this sub division is voidable. Notaries who do so in many instances will violate this statute prohibiting a direct beneficial interest. For instance, if a Notary is asked to witness her husband's signature on a loan document for the purchase of a home they will share, she will directly benefit from the transaction and should disqualify herself. The likelihood of a direct beneficial interest is usually greater with immediate family members - spouse, mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother - than with non-immediate, such as in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. The matter of interest in an inheritance is more often a consideration with lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) and ascendants (parent, grandparents, etc.) than with nonlinear relatives. A Notary that will have no beneficial interest in notarizing for a relative and will not be prevented by law from doing so. However, to avoid later questioning of the Notary's impartiality, as well as accusations of undue influence, it is always safest for a signer to find a Notary who is not related.

How do I correct a name that has been misspelled on the document?
Only the document signer has authority to make any changes on the document.

What is a Mobile Notary and how can they participate in Real Estate Transactions?
Certain functions in real estate transactions may be done by notaries public, but others require additional licensure by the Department of Commerce. For a complete explanation from the Department of Commerce, click here.