Become a Notary Public in Orange County

Start a Notary Company in Orange County

Make money by helping people with their documents

This business authenticates identification of people who sign documents.  The most common use is in real estate transactions.  Documents might also need to be notarized for other legal reasons or as a requirement for filing papers with the federal government.  For instance an immigration application.  Your job will be basically to verify identity and show that the person has signed the documents.  A notary will look at the person’s ID and take a fingerprint.  They may also take a photograph.  In California, Notaries are prohibited from drafting legal documents or giving legal advice when working as a Notary.

This is a great side business if you work in an office environment or have transportation and can become a mobile notary.  Mobil notaries make visits to people’s homes or hospitals to officially sign documents.  According to California’s Secretary of State there were over 184,000 people with an active Notary license as of 2011.

The qualifications are simple:

You must be a legal resident of the state. We are not sure you must be a legal immigrant ( not undocumented) to have to have legal residence status in California.  It appears that you do not have to be a citizen or be authorized to work in the US.  The state will accept your Mexican or Canadian Drivers license or your passport as ID.  We assume they will take similar docs from other countries.  Take a 6 hour class.  Pass a written test based on what you just learned in the class.  (Some companies guarantee you will pass the test.)  Have a clean criminal background check and not be deficient in child support payments.  You must also be 18 or older.

It takes time, after you have passed the test and sent in the application, it takes the Secretary of State’s office about three or four months to process your application and send your paperwork back to you.

Notary Public at Community College

Some community colleges offer a one day class.  You take the class, take the exam, and order your supplies in one day.  This appears to be the best deal.  These classes are offered as “extension” or “community” classes and may not be listed in the colleges regular list of classes.  They are not advertised on the web as much as classes at private schools are.  Also, they only happen a couple of Saturdays a year.  The one at Golden West College costs $91 for the class, $40 for your supplies, and $40 for the state fee.  Be sure to confirm the details that are needed to finish the one day notary course including–a personal check must me made out to the California’s Secretary of State,  a 2″x2″ photo and some #2 pencils.

One of the big schools in this industry is the National Notary Association  National Notary.  They have classes in hotel rooms around the OC.  Their goal is to get you done in one day: training, test, paperwork.  (Then the state takes 3-4months to process your application)  It costs a bit more than the Community College Classes but they claim to have on-going support in case you have questions when you are working as a Notary.


A copy of the current handbook and other information can be found at the Secretary of State’s website

Cost of becoming a Notary public 

The cost of a class is less than $160, and various fees to the state are less than $100.  Although you can take classes pass the test and order supplies in one day, it may take three months or longer for the California to process your application.

Supplies are sold in a packet which includes a customized stamp with your number on it, a journal and stationary.  Packages can be found on line for less than $150.00.

Notary Stamp. You will need one of these.


Currently the State requires a minimum bond of $15,000.  This however is just a minimum.  Since a notary may have legal expenses and have to pay damages if they are negligent in confirming a person’s identification, you may want to consider getting more than the minimum or buying insurance.  The type of insurance that will cover your mistakes is called Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O insurance) There are a lot of good fake ID’s out there.

For obvious reasons, insurance companies require that you buy insurance when you qualify to be a notary.  One national insurance company offered $100,000 of insurance for $150/year.  You can ask your insurance agent for a policy.  If you already have a business policy, she/he may be able to add it as a rider.  With a minim four year term—payable up front.  The minimum bond can be had for about $50.00 and ins included in many of the supply packets.

To sum up, the costs would come to less than $400 plus the cost of  E&O insurance.

How much can you make?

Once you have taken the test and received your supplies, there is not additional for notarizing additional documents.  The state sets a maximum fee.  Currently it’s at $10/signature.  (A home purchase may require several signatures so that can add up.)  If you are a mobile notary, you can charge for travel.  There is no restriction on travel fees.  Most people do this as a side business, or do it as a service for their clients.  It is hard to make a living unless you have a good source of clients.

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