FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
|What does a notary public do?
The usual and customary notarial functions include:
Many banks, law offices and other institutions which deal in financial or
real property transactions employ individuals who are commissioned as notary
- administering oaths and affirmations;
- taking affidavits and depositions;
- receiving and certifying acknowledgments or proof of such written
instruments as deeds, mortgages and powers of attorney; and;
- demanding acceptance or payment of foreign and inland bills of
exchange, promissory notes and obligations in writing, and protesting
the same for non-payment
Notary publics are "commissioned" (i.e., licensed) by the Secretary of
State. An applicant for a notary public commission must submit to the
Division of Licensing Services an original application and $60 fee. The
application includes an oath of office, which must be sworn and notarized.
In addition to the application form and fee, the applicant must submit a
"pass slip" showing that he or she has taken and passed the
notary public examination. Examinations are regularly scheduled
throughout the state. An individual who is currently a member of the New
York State Bar or a court clerk of the Unified Court System, appointed to
that position after taking a Civil Service promotional examination in the
court clerk series of titles, while not exempt from the application fee, may
be appointed a notary public without an examination. The term of commission
is 4 years.
|Can a person convicted of a criminal offense become a notary
Generally, a person convicted of felony cannot be appointed as a notary
public. Also, certain misdemeanors are considered disqualifying. However,
should a person convicted of any crime obtain an executive pardon or a
certificate of good conduct from the parole board, he or she may be
considered for appointment.
|What has the County Clerk's office to do with notaries?
Notary publics are commissioned in their counties of residence. After
receiving and approving an applicant for a notary public commission, the
Secretary of State forwards the commission, the original oath of office and
the signature of the notary public to the appropriate county clerk. The
county clerk maintains a record of the commission and signature. The public
may then access this record and verify the "official" signature of the
notary at the
county clerk's office.
|Does a notary public receive any form of identification or
A newly appointed notary public will receive an identification card within
four to six weeks of the date that the Division of Licensing Services
receives his or her application. The identification card will indicate the
notary's name, address, county and commission term. The term of commission
is 4 years.
A reappointed notary will receive a replacement identification card from
the Department of State within six to eight weeks of the date the county
clerk receives his or her renewal application. The term of commission is 4
|May a notary public charge for administering an oath or
affirmation or for taking an acknowledgment or proof or execution?
A notary public may charge a fee of $2.00 for administering an oath or
affirmation or for taking an acknowledgment or proof of execution. Unless
otherwise authorized by law, a notarial fee may not exceed this amount.
|How do I renew my notary public commission?
The renewal application is posted to the notary approximately three months
prior to the expiration of his or her term of office. The application must
be completed and submitted with a $60 fee to the
where the notary is commissioned. Instructions for proper submission are
included with the renewal application. The term of commission is 4 years
|What happens if my document was notarized by a person who
purported to be a notary public, but was not?
Generally, section 142-a of the Executive Law provides that a document
notarized by a person who was not commissioned as a notary public will not
be deemed invalid because of that fact. If you find yourself in a situation
where you think this may be of importance, you should contact your attorney.