As a notary public in the District of Columbia, you have unlimited financial liability on every document you notarize. You do not want to take the office of Notary Public lightly. The District of Columbia Online Notary Course is the fastest, easiest and most affordable way for you to learn what to do and how to protect yourself as a notary. Whether you are a new or current notary public, you should spend some time learning the laws.
How to Become a Notary Public in District of Columbia
Step by Step Instructions
- Complete the Online Washington D.C. Notary Training Course (not required)
- Complete the District of Columbia's Notary Public Application.
- The application may then be submitted online or printed out and mailed to the office. The application fee may now be paid online by credit card. If you choose to print it and either mail it in with a check or come into the office, this may delay the process.
- You must read the instructions before you fill out the application completely and accurately or it will be returned for correction.
- When you fill out the application whether online or manually do not use any abbreviations. You must spell out the name of the street (Martine Luther King, Connecticut) and the thoroughfare (Avenue, Street, Road).
- When filling out the application whether online or manually, do not use all capitals. The first letter of the word (First Name, Last Name, First Name of the Street, etc.) should be in capitals but NOT the entire name.
- All applicants to become a notary public for the first time or those who have not renewed their commission in over 12 months must attend an orientation session.
- For those applying to renew their commissions, please see this link for an approximate timetable to help you know when you need to have your application in to avoid a lapse in your commission. The same application is used for new and renewal applicants. ONCA does not notify existing notaries when or before their commission will expire. In general an existing notary must have their application approved at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current commission in order to not have a lapse in the commission.
- Once your application has been processed (and when necessary orientation has been completed), all applicants will receive an Appointment Notice from our office, approximately two weeks prior to their commission date. This is the formal notification that allows you to purchase your notary supplies and (when applicable) your surety bond.
- You may not purchase these until you have received your Appointment Notice. For new applicants, your commissioning date and date for the Appointment Notice will be stated during the orientation session; for renewal applicants please see the link above. If you have been working with an outside organization on your application and to receive supplies you may receive some non-date specific supplies in advance, but you may not receive any supplies with your commission dates or the surety bond form prior to receiving the Appointment Notice and surety bond form from our office. Our office will only accept the surety bond form supplied from our office.
- New applicants and those who be renewing after January 2019 will be required to purchase a new notary certificate/stamp. Please see the Notary Public Handbook for the samples and new language.
- Once you receive your Appointment Notice, you will have sixty(60) days from the effective date of your commission to come into the ONCA office and complete the oath of office. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of your commission and you will have to re-apply.
- All notaries public except for those who are only government notaries will be listed on the Search for a Notary Public Map by address, unless you check the box on the application that you do not wish to be on this map.