Applying for a Commission (New and Renewal)

NEW! ONLINE NOTARY FILING SYSTEM

Beginning December 19, 2020, all new and renewal applications must be filed using the Secretary of state’s Online Portal.  Read more information below.

ELIGIBILITY – Effective October 1, 2019

NOTICE:  All applicants (new and renewing) applying after October 1, 2019 must take and pass the Montana Notary Examination.  

To become a Montana Notary Public, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;
  • Be a resident of Montana; or
    • be the spouse or legal dependent of military personnel assigned to active duty in this state;
    • maintain a place of business in the state of Montana that is registered pursuant to Title 35 and meet any applicable business licensing requirements of the local government where the business is located;
    • be regularly employed at an office, business, or facility located within the state of Montana by an employer registered and licensed to do business in this state; or
    • hold a current professional license to practice the profession in Montana issued by an appropriate Montana authority; and
  • Be able to read and write English.

To be eligible for a new or renewed commission, an applicant shall pass an examination and must meet the education requirements as provided in 1-5-620, MCA, and may not have been disqualified as provided in 1-5-621, MCA.

THE PROCESS 

If you meet the qualifications to become a Montana Notary Public, you may apply for a four-year notary public commission by following the steps below. It is not possible to obtain a notary commission in just a few days, so please plan accordingly. The application fee for becoming a notary public is $25, which is non-refundable.  The fee may be paid by credit/debit card or by eCheck.  State of Montana employees may use Procards or Inter-unit Journals (IUJs).

The process for applying for a notary commission is the same for both new and renewing applicants. All applications must be filed online; paper submissions will be returned unprocessed.

The online filing system will not allow renewals to be submitted more than thirty days prior to the expiration date of the current commission or after the thirty-day grace period following the commission expiration date.

These are the steps you must follow when applying for a new or renewal commission:

Step 1 – Take and pass the Montana Notary Exam

Effective October 1, 2019 all notaries – both new and renewing – are required to pass an examination to prove their understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the office. While mandatory training is not required at this time, it is certainly recommended that notaries avail themselves of the most current information about the laws, rules, procedures, and ethics of performing notarizations in Montana.

There is no additional cost for the examination. There are 50 questions and you will have up to 60 minutes to complete the exam. You will have three attempts to achieve a passing score of 80%. If you are not successful after three attempts, you will be blocked for 3 months before you can try again. Because you must submit your application within 6 months of taking the examination, we highly recommend that you take the exam before applying for your notary bond.

The primary resource for the information you need to pass the exam is the Montana Notary Public Handbook. The latest edition is available for you to download and study.

Helpful Hint:  You will need to submit a copy of the exam certificate with your online filing.  Upon completing the exam, you can request that the exam certificate be emailed to you and then save it, or you can download a hard copy of the certificate and scan it before you upload it with your bond.

Step 2 Obtain a Notary Surety Bond in the amount of $25,000.

These are available from most Montana insurance agents, as well as through various online providers. The cost for notary bonds varies, but is usually about $50 – $70 for the four-year term of the commission.

When applying for your bond, you must use the name that you intend to use as your official notary name.  Please refer to page 5 of the Montana Notary Public Handbook for more information regarding your name and signature.  

Montana now requires all surety companies to use a standardized notary bond form that also includes the Statement and Oath of Office.  This form requires the applicant to sign twice – once as the “principal” of the bond, and the second time in front of another notary public when swearing to the Statement of Qualifications and taking the Oath of Office. Be sure to sign both times with the signature you will use when notarizing documents.

Step 3 – Complete the Montana Notary Public ONLINE Application.
  1. Start by watching the online video tutorials.  
  2. Create your Montana ePass Account (Coming soon)
  3. Complete the online form for a new commission or a renewal of your existing commission. (Coming soon)
    • You will need to upload your exam certificate, bond, and possibly other supporting documents.  Before beginning the online process, save pdfs of these documents for easy access.
    • The name on your application must exactly match the name on your bond.
    • If you check “Yes” for any question regarding your background information other than the one about having been previously commissioned as a Montana Notary Public, you must submit explanatory documentation with your Application.
    • Have your payment information ready.  The $25 filing fee can be paid online by credit/debit card or eCheck. State of Montana employees may use Procards or Inter-unit Journals (IUJs).  

The system will not allow you to submit the application if any information is missing.  You will be able to track the process of your application by logging in and checking your “Work Queue.”  You will receive an email notifying you when your application has been approved.

Step 4 – Download your certificate of commission

Once you receive the email notifying you that your commission has been approved, log into the portal to download your new Commission Certificate.  Then you can obtain your notary seal/stamp and your notary journal.  You may obtain your seal/stamp from most stationery, stamp, or office supply stores. Keep in mind, however, your seal/stamp must meet specific requirements. The Secretary of State has compiled a list of Recommended Vendors who have agreed to provide only the prescribed types of stamps to Montana notaries.

You may use either a tamper-proof paper or a tamper-evident electronic journal, or both. The Secretary of State has not defined a specific format for the notary journal, so you may choose a design that fits your particular needs. There are several designs on the market; most of them include spaces for the information required by Montana law.

You may use either a tamper-proof paper or a tamper-evident electronic journal, or both. The Secretary of State has not defined a specific format for the notary journal, so you may choose a design that fits your particular needs. There are several designs on the market; most of them include spaces for the information required by Montana law.

Questions?

If you have any questions about becoming a Montana Notary Public or renewing your existing commission, please call us at (406) 444-1877 or email us at [email protected].

Montana Secretary of State – Corey Stapleton
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