Q: I mailed a notary application and bond to the Secretary of State. When may I begin notarizing documents?
A: An appointed notary public may begin notarizing documents only after his or her commission is recorded with the county clerk and the notary has obtained a seal. The notary must appear in person in the County Clerk’s office, record the commission, and pay a fee of $5.00 or mail their signature to the County Clerk with a fee of $10.00.
Q: What type of notary seals are acceptable in Illinois?
A: Notaries must obtain and use a rubber stamp type seal that includes the expiration date of their commission. A specimen of this type of seal appears below. A notary public shall affix the rubber stamp seal clearly and legibly using black ink so that it is capable of photographic reproduction.
Q: Why do I need a surety bond and do I need Notary Errors & Omissions insurance?
A: A $5,000 surety bond is required by the Secretary of State, it guarantees to any third party that if the notary public fails to properly perform an act, the surety company will indemnify the third party for any damages caused up to $5,000. The surety will then look to the notary for reimbursement on any loss. The Errors & Omissions insurance policy protects the notary against claims, no matter how unjustified and includes cost of defense up to the limits of the policy.
Q: Can information about my notary appointment be given to other people?
A: Yes. Notary public applications and appointments are public records and are available to any interested person for examination or copying.
Q: May I notarize my own signature and the signatures of my spouse, children and other relatives?
A: A notary public my not notarize his or her own signature and may not notarize any document in which the notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction. A notary may notarize the signature of his or her spouse, children and other relatives.
Q: May I notarize documents which originate out of state?
A: Yes, as long as you perform the notarial act in Illinois and the notarial certificate indicates, “State of Illinois, County of ________________” to identify the jurisdiction in which the notarial act took place.
Q: May I notarize documents when I am physically outside the State of Illinois?
A: No. An Illinois notary public has authority to perform notarial acts only while in the State of Illinois.