Notary Public Commissions

A notary public is a state official who is authorized to witness the signing of important documents, administer oaths, certify copies of certain documents and exercise other powers as provided for by law.


Each notary public is appointed by the governor for a term of four years. To be appointed as a notary public, you must be at least 18 years old, live or work in Virginia and read and write English.


Please see the Secretary of the Commonwealth website for the application.

In about four weeks, you should receive a letter from the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth advising you that the Governor has approved your application for appointment.

If your application is approved, wait three days and call 540-387-6205 to make sure your commission has been mailed to the Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office. When your commission arrives, come to the Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office to take your oath of office before a Deputy Clerk and receive your commission. There is a $10 fee (payable by cash, credit card, personal check, certified check or money order) for the Deputy Clerk to administer the oath and prepare your commission.

Note About Commissions

By law, you must claim your commission within 60 days after it is issued. If you fail to do so you must submit a new application and a new fee to become a notary. If you have not received a notice of your commission within four weeks call the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office at 804-692-2536 or by emailing. Sometimes notices are lost in the mail. Failure to receive a notice will not permit you to receive a commission after the 60 day period has expired.

Commissions are not renewable. When your four-year term is close to expiring, you must complete a new application for a new four-year term.

Contact for Questions

For questions about Notaries Public in Virginia, contact the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at 804-786-2441. General information about notaries public is available from the National Notary Association.