How to Become an Illinois Notary


The Illinois Notary Process:


Are you interested in becoming an Illinois notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Illinois notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The State of Illinois appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Illinois is a straightforward process, and as long as you fit the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become an Illinois notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.

This guide will help you understand:

  1. Who can become a Illinois notary
  2. The process to become a Illinois notary
  3. Basic Illinois notary duties

Qualifications to become a notary in Illinois:


To become an Illinois notary public, an applicant must meet all of the following qualifications

  1. Be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Be a resident of the State of Illinois for at least thirty days, or a resident of a qualifying state bordering Illinois who has worked or maintained a business in Illinois for thirty days preceding the application.
  3. Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States.
  4. Be able to read and write in the English language.
  5. Have not been convicted of a felony.
  6. Not have had a notary public commission revoked or suspended in the past ten years

The process to become a notary in Illinois:


In order to become an Illinois notary and receive an Illinois notary commission, a notary applicant must:

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section
  2. Purchase an Illinois surety bond in the amount of $5,000.
  3. Complete and submit the Notary Public Application Form along with the $5,000 bond, a legible photocopy of your driver’s license or state-issued identification card, and a $10.00 filing fee to the Secretary of State.
  4. Record your notary commission, accompanied by a specimen of your signature, at the office of the county clerk and pay a fee of $5.00, at which time the county clerk will deliver the commission to you. If the commission is not filed with the county clerk within sixty days, the county clerk will return the commission to the Secretary of State and the commission will be cancelled.

Can a non-resident become a notary in Illinois?

Yes. A resident of a state bordering Illinois whose place of work or business is within a county in Illinois may apply to become Illinois notary public. The qualifying bordering states include Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, which offer such reciprocation. Non-residents must satisfy the same qualifications as Illinois residents, submit a Non-Resident Notary Public Application Form, and follow the same notary application process and procedures as Illinois residents. Out-of-state residents are commissioned in the county in which they are employed or maintain a business in Illinois.

Is an Illinois notary bond required to become a notary in Illinois?

Yes. An Illinois notary bond in the amount of $5,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. To purchase an Illinois notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.

Do I need an Illinois notary errors & omission insurance?

This is optional. Errors and omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. The American Association of Notaries encourages Illinois notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability. For additional information, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.

How much does it cost to become a notary in Illinois?

To become a notary in Illinois, an applicant must include the $10 application processing fee when submitting his or her application for appointment or reappointment. The notary will also incur the cost of the required bond, official notary seal, and journal (if the notary is required to maintain one).

How long is the term of a notary public commission in Illinois?

The term of office of an Illinois resident notary public is four years, commencing with the date specified in the commission. The term of office of an Illinois non-resident notary public is for one year, commencing with the date specified in the commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; or (4) when the notary public ceases to reside, be employed, or maintain a place of business in Illinois.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Illinois?

An Illinois notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts throughout Illinois so long as he or she resides in the same county in which he or she was commissioned. If the notary is a resident of a state bordering Illinois, his or her principal place of work or place of business must be located in the same county in Illinois in which he or she was commissioned. Illinois notaries may perform notarial acts in the reciprocating states, which include Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, only if the Illinois notaries are also commissioned notaries in those states.

Who appoints Illinois notaries public?

The Secretary of State appoints Illinois notaries public.

Contact information for the Secretary of State:

Illinois Secretary of State 
Index Department 
Notary Division 
111 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62756 
(217) 782-7017 

How do I renew my Illinois notary commission?

The Secretary of State mails out a notice of the expiration date to the holder of a commission at least sixty days prior to the expiration of a commission, along with a new application and bond form. Every application for reappointment for an Illinois notary public goes through the same application process as the initial application for appointment.

Are there any exams or notary course requirements?

The state does not mandate course of study or examination to become a notary public in Illinois or to renew the notary’s commission.

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Illinois?

State law requires that all Illinois notaries use an official rubber notary stamp with black ink color to authenticate all notarial acts. The Illinois notary laws provide the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary seals (5 ILCS 312/3-101).

Dimensions: Not more than 1 inch in height by 2 ½ inches in length with a serrated or milled edge border in a rectangular form.

Required Elements: The notary stamp must contain the following information—

  • The notary’s official name
  • The words "Official Seal"
  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The words "State of Illinois"
  • The words "My Commission expires ___________" (commission expiration date)

Note: If a notary public loses his or her official notary stamp, the Secretary of State recommends that the Illinois notary resign his or her commission and reapply for a new notary commission.

Is a notary journal required in Illinois?

No. Illinois law does not require an Illinois notary public to record his or her notarial acts in a journal. However, the Illinois Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that Illinois notaries record their notarial acts in a notary journal as a protective measure against liability. For Illinois notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call (800) 721-2663.

Note: Illinois notaries who perform a notarial act involving a document of conveyance that transfers or purports to transfer title to residential real property located in Cook County, Illinois, must create a notarial record with very specific details regarding the notarial act.

How much can an Illinois notary charge for performing notarial acts?

Illinois notary fees are set by statute (5 ILCS 312/3-104an). The maximum allowable fees that an Illinois notary public can charge for notarial acts are listed below:

  • Acknowledgments - $1.00
  • Oaths or affirmations - $1.00
  • Witness or attest a signature - $1.00
  • Verifications upon oath or affirmation - $1.00

Note: Illinois law requires Illinois notaries to keep a record of the fees they charge for notarial acts.

What notarial acts can an Illinois notary public perform?

An Illinois notary public is authorized to perform four notarial acts:

  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Witness or attest a signature
  • Take verifications upon oath or affirmation

Note: An Illinois notary public may not issue a certified copy of any document.

Can I perform electronic notarization in Illinois

The State of Illinois has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, and/or procedures for electronic notarizations. However, Illinois enacted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (765 ILCS 33) authorizing a notary’s electronic signature. On August 25, 2017, the Illinois Notary Public Act was amended with the addition a new section titled “Notarization Task Force on Best Practices and Verification Standards to Implement Electronic Notarization” to study electronic notarizations and provide a report to the Governor and General Assembly no later than June 30, 2020.

For all notarial acts, Illinois law mandates that the document signer personally appear before the notary public and be physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and share identification credentials with the notary without reliance on an electronic device such as a telephone, computer, video camera, or facsimile machine at the time of the performance of the notarial act. Illinois notaries public are prohibited from performing online webcam notarizations.

How do I change my address?

If an Illinois notary moves or changes employers, and the new residence or place of employment is within the boundaries of the county in which the notary was appointed, the notary merely reports the change of address to the Secretary of State. However, if a notary public moves from the county in which he or she was commissioned (or if a non-resident notary no longer maintains a principal place of work or principal place of business in the same county in Illinois in which he or she was commissioned), the notary commission ceases to be in effect and the notary must file a new application, bond, and oath with the Secretary of State.

How do I change my name on my Illinois notary commission?

When any Illinois notary legally changes his or her name, the notary must resign his or her commission and return it to the Secretary of State. Those individuals who desire to become an Illinois notary public again must file a new application, bond, and oath with the Secretary of State.

Death/Resignation/Removal

An Illinois notary public or the notary’s representative should submit a letter of notice to the Secretary of State, along with the notary commission, if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence or employment in Illinois; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (3) is deceased; or (4) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Secretary of State’s revocation process. An Illinois notary or his or her representative should immediately destroy the notary’s official seal and contact the Secretary of State for instructions regarding the notary journal.

Illinois notary laws and regulations:

The Illinois Notary Public Act, Chapter 5, Sections 312/1-101 through 7-109 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=107&ChapterID=2

The Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act, Chapter 765, Sections 30/1 through 10 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2142&ChapterID=62

Illinois notarial certificates:

Click here to view Illinois notarial certificates.

Revised: July 2019

Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.

Illinois notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). Kal Tabbara is a licensed insurance agent in Illinois.