Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR). These FAQs will help answer many questions you may have about applying for your Notary Public commission from OPR. Information on this website will be updated during these next few months as you near your new application deadline. General FAQs for all professions are provided at the end of this section. You will find additional resources listed in the left hand navigation column of this web page. We encourage you to become familiar with this information.
How do I find a Notary?
You may download the public roster to find a Notary in your area. Please click here to generate this roster. After you generate the roster you may also download in an Excel sheet to allow you to search or sort by city/town.
Law Enforcement Employees
The following law enforcement-related employees no longer need to apply for or obtain a notary public commission to provide notary public services (referred to in the Notary Public Law as “notarial acts”) within the course and scope of employment duties:
Law enforcement officers certified under 20 V.S.A. Chapter 151
- Non-certified constables
- Vermont law enforcement agency employees
- Vermont Department of Public Safety employees
- Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife employees
- Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles employees
- Vermont Department of Liquor Control employees
- Vermont Department of Children and Families employees
- Office of the Defender General employees
- Office of the Vermont Attorney General employees
- State’s Attorney employees
- Sheriff employees
If you do not hold a notary public commission and are providing notary public services in your role as one of the law enforcement-related employees listed, above, you may only provide these notary public services within the course and scope of your employment duties. You may not provide notary public services outside of work.
If you hold a notary public commission obtained after completion of the notary public commission application through the OPR website, you may perform notarial acts outside the scope of your official duties. These notarial acts must comply with the Vermont laws pertaining to notaries public and notarial acts.
Law enforcement-related employees who have a notary public commission do not need to include their commission number on records that are notarized during the course and within the scope of the employee’s official duties.
A law enforcement-related employee exempt under 26 VSA Section 5305(a)(1)(B) should include the following with each notarial act:
- Name of law enforcement-related employee notarizing the record
- Date of the notarial act
The following statement: “Exempt as a Law Enforcement-Related Employee”
Does Vermont allow electronic or remote notarization's at this time?
Vermont law prohibits remote online notarization and electronic notarization until the Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards for these practices. 26 V.S.A. Sec. 5323. The Secretary of State has not yet adopted such rules. In turn, remote online notarization and electronic notarization are not yet permitted in the State of Vermont. Please continue to visit our website,https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/list-of-professions/notaries-public.aspx, for updates on the Notary Public Rules.
I want to apply for a notary public commission through OPR. What do I do?
- You will need to create an account (if you have not already) on OPR’s online licensing system or log into an existing account. Click here to access OPR’s online licensing system. Do not create an additional account if you already have one.
- Once logged in, click Apply for Individual License and complete the online application. You will be asked to answer questions within the application and to upload a copy of your signed and notarized Oath of Office. To complete the application, you will need to pay a $15.00 fee with a debit card, credit card or ACH (savings or checking account).
- OPR will notify you by email if there are additional items required for your application. You may check your application status online for more information.
- You will be notified by email once your application is approved. Your commission is available for printing through your online licensing account.
Under the new law, notaries public must apply for a new commission through the Office of Professional Regulation rather than renew their old notary public commission. All applications for a new notary public commission will need to be submitted online with the Office of Professional Regulation by January 31, 2019. Town and county clerks and other agencies are no longer accepting notary public commission renewals.
Why do I have to provide my social security number?
Your social security number (SSN) is required, pursuant to the authority granted to the State under 42 U.S.C. §405(c)(2)(C), to ensure compliance with relevant Vermont laws, including tax, child support and labor laws. Your SSN is not disclosed as part of a public records request.
My employer always paid for my notary renewal. How does this work now?
Each applicant needs to create their own account and apply for their own commission. Businesses can provide you the payment details or you can submit your receipt to the business for reimbursement.
What happens if I do not renew my commission on time?
If you do not complete your renewal by midnight of the day your commission expires, late penalties will apply per 3 V.S.A §127(d)(1). You will receive three (3) courtesy email notifications when it is time to renew. These notifications will be sent to the email address you have provided to OPR. You are required to keep your email address up to date in the online system. It is solely your responsibility to know the date your commission expires and to renew on time if you intend to continue practicing as a notary public.
Note: The first renewal for notaries public will be in January, 2021. The first courtesy reminder is usually sent six weeks prior to the deadline.
I have been convicted of a crime. Do I need to report this to OPR?
Yes. If applying for a commission with OPR for the first time, you must report all convictions, required documentation is a detailed written explanation from you, the applicant, and certified court documents.
All convictions that happen while you hold a notary public commission must be reported to the office within 30 days. When renewing your notary public commission, you must again report all convictions which have happened since your last OPR renewal on your notary public renewal application.
A conviction will not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a notary public commission. OPR follows due process when considering convictions and licensure.
I was appointed as a notary public before December 1, 2018. How long is my commission valid for?
If you have a commission as a notary public received prior to December 1, 2018, that commission shall remain in effect until February 10, 2019.
However, applications for a new commission to continue providing notary public services after the new law becomes effective must be filed by January 31, 2019. This means your previous commission and new commission may have a period where they overlap.
I became a notary public with OPR on or after December 1, 2018. How long is my commission valid?
If you have a commission as a notary public received on or after December 1, 2018, that commission will remain in effect until January 31, 2021 and will need to be renewed every two (2) years thereafter.
What are the requirements for having an official stamp?
Refer to the Notaries Public Official Stamps page for further information. Please be aware that your new commission number will be different from your current commission number. You should wait to order your stamp until your Notary Public commission is approved by the Office and your new commission number is issued.
What is my commission number?
Once your Notary application is approved you will be issued a new commission number. Your commission number is also referred to as a “credential number” or “license number”. This number us unique to you and will not change.
How do I find my commission number?
Your commission number may be found on your Notary Commission certificate where it is called a “credential number”. You may look up your commission number using the licensee look-up feature.
What is my commission expiration date?
The expiration date for all current notary public commissions is January 31, 2021 (1/31/21). This expiration date must be included in your notary public certificate on each notarized document.
Am I required to purchase supplies and/or packages from an association?
No. Notaries are free to determine what supplies and services they need and where to purchase them as long as those supplies and services are in compliance with Vermont laws.
Who sets the requirements for my Vermont renewal?
Notary renewal requirements are set forth by the VT Office of Professional Regulation. Your notary commission is not linked to any outside association, vendor or company.
How should I sign my name when notarizing a document?
The signature on documents you notarize must match the signature on your Oath of Office/Affirmation. This should be your legal name.
How do I change my legal name on my Notary commission?
You must log into your online account and click update profile. You must upload both of the following: (1) a copy of an acceptable name change document (marriage certificate, divorce decree or other court documents supporting the name change) and (2) a new revised Oath of Office/Affirmation that has your new legal name and signature to the update license/application option within your account.
Can I have an out-of-state notary public notarize my official oath form?
OPR recommends that oaths be notarized by a notary public holding a Vermont commission. Current notary public commissions do not expire until February 10, 2019 so notaries public holding a current commission can notarize official oath forms.
Can a Notary Public notarize a spouse’s signature?
A notary public may not notarize a spouse’s signature. Additionally, a notary public may not notarize a document in which the notary public or his/her spouse has a direct beneficial interest, such as a financial, oath or real estate interest.
How do I obtain authentications and apostilles?
If you need to get a notarized document’s legitimacy and authenticity verified for submission to another country, you will need to obtain an apostille or a certificate of authenticity from the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (“VSARA”). An apostille or a certificate of authenticity is issued as evidence of the legitimacy and authenticity of a public document (including a notarized document) for use by a foreign country.
When can a notary refuse service?
Under 26 VSA Section 5372, a notary public may refuse to perform a notarial act if the notary is (1) not satisfied that the individual before them has capacity or is competent to execute the record, or (2) not satisfied that the individual’s signature is knowingly and voluntarily made. A notary public may also refuse to perform notarial acts under other circumstances so long as the notary public’s refusal is not otherwise prohibited by law.
When will I renew my notary public commission?
A notary public commission is now effective on a fixed two year cycle. In January of odd years, notaries public will need to renew their commissions if they wish to continue to perform notarial acts. The first renewal deadline for notary public commissions will be January 31, 2021. Notaries public who wish to continue to perform notarial acts are then required to renew their commissions every 2 years thereafter.
Will I need to take an examination to become a Notary?
For applications received prior to February 1, 2021, no examination is required. Initial applicants submitting an application on or after February 1, 2021 will need to pass an examination based on the statutes, rules, and ethics relevant to notarial acts.
Will I have to complete continuing education?
Yes. You will be required to complete two (2) hours of continuing education prior to submitting your online commission renewal application, which is due by January 31, 2021 and every two years thereafter.
What is the CE requirement? Where can I take CE, etc.
Notaries public are not required to complete any CE for this February 1, 2019 application cycle. The new law requires notaries public to complete two hours of CE prior to renewing their commission in 2021. CE requirements are still being developed in the rule making process. Please check the website frequently for additional information. Continuing education requirements will be outlined in the Administrative Rule and a list of approved Continuing Education will be available on the OPR website. More information will be made available regarding Continuing Education courses soon. Please watch the OPR website for updates.
What do I do with my CE certificates of completion?
You are responsible for maintaining your CE certificate of completion records. You will be asked to upload your course completion certificate(s) with your online renewal application, which is due by January 31, 2021 and every two years thereafter. 30 days after the renewal period ends, OPR will conduct a random audit of continuing education. A percentage of licensees are chosen and asked to provide proof of their course completion.
Will training opportunities be offered by the Office?
OPR does not provide training on how to be a notary public. However, information will be provided on the OPR website regarding continuing education requirements.
I hold more than one OPR credential. Can one continuing education course count towards multiple credentials?
Yes. As long as the continuing education course is approved and meets the continuing education requirement of each credential.
What are the current exemptions?
Click here for a full list of exemptions. The online application will ask you to identify if you fall into one of these categories, which you will attest to at the end of the application.
OPR’s main form of communicating with you is email. Once you have submitted your application with OPR, it is important to keep your email updated. (Please be sure to check your spam folder and add OPR to your safe senders list.)
Please allow 3-5 business days for application processing and 1-3 business days to respond to phone calls and emails.
The most up to date information on your commission and/or application is available to you at any time through your online licensing account.
When accessing the online licensing system, please be sure you are on a laptop or desktop computer using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Our system is not compatible with smartphones or tablets at this time.
The Office of Professional Regulation does not accept paper applications. If you do not have access to a computer, OPR offers a computer kiosk at its Montpelier office. Your employer or your local library may offer similar resources.