How to Get a Notary Public Background Check: What You Need to Know

Want to become a notary public or hire one? Discover the ins and outs of background checks for notaries. Uncover everything you need to know right here!

How to Get a Notary Public Background Check

So, you’ve decided to become a notary public, or maybe you’re in need of the services of one. It’s an excellent choice; being a notary public can open up doors to various opportunities, from officiating important documents to playing a crucial role in legal processes. But before you dive into the world of notarization, there’s an essential step you need to take: getting a notary public background check. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of how to get a notary public background check and what you need to know before taking the plunge.

Understanding the Importance of a Notary Public Background Check

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of the process, let’s first understand why a notary public background check is so vital.

1. Safeguarding the Public

A notary public is a position of trust and responsibility. When you notarize a document, you are certifying its authenticity and legality. People rely on notaries to ensure that important transactions and agreements are valid and legally binding. A background check helps confirm that you are a person of integrity, free from any criminal activities that could compromise the trust placed in you.

2. Legal Requirement

In many jurisdictions, a background check is a legal requirement for anyone aspiring to become a notary public. Failing to comply with this requirement can result in your application being denied or your notary commission being revoked if you’re already a notary.

3. Professional Credibility

Having a clean background enhances your professional credibility as a notary public. Clients and businesses are more likely to seek your services when they know you’ve been vetted and have a clean record.

Now that you understand why a notary public background check is essential, let’s dive into the steps you need to follow to obtain one.

How to Get a Notary Public Background Check: A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting a notary public background check may seem like a daunting task, but fear not! We’ve broken it down into simple steps to make the process as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Know Your State’s Requirements

Before you dive headfirst into the background check process, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of your state. Each state in the United States has its own regulations regarding notaries public, including the background check process.

Pro Tip: You can find detailed information about your state’s notary public requirements on the official website of your Secretary of State or equivalent agency.

Step 2: Choose a Background Check Provider

Once you’re well-versed in your state’s requirements, it’s time to choose a background check provider. Not all background check services are created equal, so you’ll want to select one that is reputable and recognized by your state’s authorities.

Things to consider when choosing a background check provider:

  • Ensure they offer notary public background checks.
  • Check for reviews and ratings to gauge their reliability.
  • Verify that they comply with your state’s specific requirements for background checks.

Step 3: Complete the Application

Now that you’ve chosen a background check provider, it’s time to complete the application. This typically involves providing personal information, such as your name, address, and social security number. Be prepared to pay a fee, as background checks are rarely free.

Quick Tip: Make sure to double-check all the information you provide on the application for accuracy. Any errors or discrepancies can cause delays in the process.

Step 4: Consent to the Background Check

Before the background check provider can proceed, you’ll need to give your consent. This is usually done by signing a consent form or providing electronic authorization. By giving your consent, you’re allowing the provider to access your personal and criminal history records.

Note: Background check providers are legally required to obtain your consent before conducting a background check on you.

Step 5: Await the Results

With your application and consent submitted, all that’s left to do is wait for the results. The time it takes to receive your background check results can vary depending on your state and the provider you’ve chosen. In some cases, it may take a few days, while in others, it could take several weeks.

Step 6: Review and Address Any Issues

Once you receive your background check results, take the time to review them carefully. If you find any discrepancies or inaccuracies, it’s crucial to address them promptly. Inaccurate information on your background check can potentially harm your chances of becoming a notary public.

Pro Tip: If you believe there are errors on your background check, contact the background check provider immediately to initiate the dispute resolution process.

Step 7: Provide the Results to the Appropriate Authorities

Once you have your clean and accurate background check results in hand, it’s time to submit them to the appropriate authorities. This typically involves your state’s Secretary of State or a similar agency responsible for notary public commissions. Be sure to follow the specific instructions provided by your state.

FAQs: Your Burning Questions Answered

Now that you’ve got the basics of how to get a notary public background check, let’s tackle some frequently asked questions to clear up any lingering doubts.

1. How much does a notary public background check cost?

The cost of a notary public background check can vary widely depending on your state and the background check provider you choose. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 or more. Be sure to check with your chosen provider for their specific pricing.

2. How long does a notary public background check take?

The turnaround time for a notary public background check varies from provider to provider and state to state. It can range from a few days to several weeks. To get a more accurate estimate, you can inquire with your chosen background check provider.

3. Can I get a notary public background check if I have a criminal record?

Yes, in many cases, you can still obtain a notary public background check if you have a criminal record. However, it’s essential to be honest about your past when completing the application. Some criminal convictions may disqualify you from becoming a notary public, depending on your state’s laws.

4. Do I need a background check to renew my notary commission?

Yes, in most states, notaries public are required to undergo a background check when renewing their commission. It’s not a one-time requirement; it’s an ongoing process to ensure that notaries maintain their trustworthiness throughout their careers.

5. Can I use a background check from a previous job for my notary public application?

In most cases, you cannot use a background check from a previous job for your notary public application. Notary public background checks are typically specific to the position and must meet the requirements set by your state.


Getting a notary public background check is a crucial step in your journey toward becoming a notary public or maintaining your notary commission. It ensures that you meet the necessary criteria of trustworthiness and integrity, which are fundamental to the role of a notary public.

Remember, the process may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but by following the steps outlined in this guide and being proactive about any issues that arise, you’ll be well on your way to obtaining a clean background check. So, whether you’re just starting your notary public journey or you’re a seasoned notary looking to renew your commission, knowing how to get a notary public background check is key to your success in this important profession.

Now that you have the knowledge you need, go ahead and take that first step toward becoming a notary public or ensuring that your notary career continues to thrive. Good luck, and may your notary seal always be a symbol of trust and integrity in the world of documentation!

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