Notary Public Frequently Asked Questions
For an extensive list of Notary FAQs, please refer to the Notary Public Information Publication.
- Who is eligible to apply to become a Wisconsin Notary Public?
- Who is not eligible to apply to become a Wisconsin Notary Public?
- Where can I purchase a stamp or seal?
- The clerk at the store said I needed to show my notary certificate before they could order a notary seal/stamp for me. What should I do?
- Do I purchase the stamp/seal before or after I receive my commission?
- Where do I purchase a bond?
- How much does a bond cost?
- I receive a lot of mail regarding notary services. Is it required that I select one of these options?
- What if my name changes before my commission expires?
- If the imprint or seal is not legible on the application do I need to complete a new application?
- How do I renew my commission?
- When can I renew my four year commission?
- Does Wisconsin permit electronic notarizations?
Notary Public FAQs
Who is eligible to apply to become a Wisconsin Notary Public?
Any United States resident 18 years of age or older who has at least the equivalent of an eighth grade education, is familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a Notary Public, and has demonstrated adherence to laws according to the Wisconsin Statutes with regard to arrests/citations/convictions, is eligible to apply for a Wisconsin Notary Public Commission. An applicant does not need to be a Wisconsin resident and does not need to be an United States Citizen.
Who is not eligible to apply to become a Wisconsin Notary Public?
An applicant who does not meet all basic requirements listed above is not eligible to apply. Persons convicted in state or federal court of a felony, or persons convicted of a misdemeanor involving a violation of the public trust may not be commissioned as Notaries Public for the State of Wisconsin unless they have been pardoned of the conviction by the Governor.
Where can I purchase a stamp or seal?
You can purchase a stamp or seal from a local office supply store or online. The stamp/seal must have only the following; "State of Wisconsin," "Notary Public" and your seal name which must include your complete legal last name.
The clerk at the store said I needed to show my notary certificate before they could order a notary seal/stamp for me. What should I do?
Some office supply sources may try to require the notary certificate to purchase the stamp/seal. In Wisconsin, a notary applicant must have a seal/stamp prior to applying for a commission. You may have the store contact our office to verify our procedures if there are questions (608) 266 - 8915.
Do I purchase the stamp/seal before or after I receive my commission?
Purchase the stamp/seal before you receive your commission. A sample of the seal/stamp is required as part of the Notary Public application process.
Where do I purchase a bond?
Check with your local insurance agent to see if they also write notary bonds. If they do not, they may be able to suggest a bond company for you or an internet search under "Notary Bonds in Wisconsin" will provide plenty of alternatives.
How much does a bond cost?
The price runs from $25.00 to about $100.00 for the same coverage. More information about Notary Bonds
I receive a lot of mail regarding notary services. Is it required that I select one of these options?
No. You may enlist the help of a notary service for the fees they propose or you may easily apply yourself by following the instructions that are on our website www.wdfi.org under the "Notary Public and Trademarks" menu.
What if my name changes before my commission expires?
You may continue to use your current signature and notary stamp/seal until the commission expires. If you would like to change your signature and stamp/seal prior to the expiration of the commission, you may do so for no additional fee. However, you would need to purchase a new stamp/seal and complete the Notary Public Address/Name/Seal Change form and send the completed form to our office. The bond and oath will be valid through the expiration date of your current commission.
If the imprint or seal is not legible on the application do I need to complete a new application?
No. You may imprint or stamp the seal on a clean white paper, until you get a clear sample or print, and then attach this paper to the application.
How do I renew my commission?
You will need to complete the Notary Tutorial Exam and obtain the Completion Certificate and then Pay and Apply Online or include $20 payment with a paper Four Year Notary Public Application.
When can I renew my four year commission?
You may renew your four year commission at any time prior to the expiration of your most recent commission. However, we recommend that you accurately submit your application at least two weeks prior to the expiration of your previous commission to avoid any lapses in commission appointments. If you renew after the previous commission expires be sure to refrain from notarizing any documents between the expiration date and the date of the new commission.
Does Wisconsin permit electronic notarizations?
Yes. Section 137.19, Wisconsin Statutes, states that "If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to administer the oath or to make the notarization, acknowledgment, or verification, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record." However, Wisconsin’s statutes have not otherwise been updated to address electronic notarizations, and the department has no rule making authority to do so. Therefore while statutes permit electronic notarizations, the requirements for notarizations under ss. 137.01 and 706.07, Wisconsin Statutes, remain in full force and effect, and should be met.