We know why you’re here! You want to know how to become a notary in Pittsburgh, PA. You’ve come to the right place. We can send you on your way and before you know it, you’ll be starting your own business as a Notary Public.
The first thing you have to be aware of is that the state of Pennsylvania has certain requirements in order to become a notary. These requirements are:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be a resident of or be employed within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- You must be of good character, integrity and ability
- You must not have been convicted or pled guilty to a felony or a lesser offense incompatible with the duties of a notary public within the last five years prior to the date on your application
In addition, there are certain criteria that could render you ineligible to become a notary. These are:
- If you hold any judicial office in the Commonwealth, except the office of Magisterial District Justice.
- If you are a member of the U.S. Congress, and a person holding an office or appointment of profit or trust under the legislative, executive or judiciary departments of the federal government for which you receive a salary, fees or perquisites.
- If you are a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.
All set? Great! Let’s get a move on then! Here is what you need to do:
First, you need to take an education course. The state of Pennsylvania requires all prospective notaries to know what it means to be a notary – that is, to know and understand all of the duties and responsibilities that the commission entails. Therefore, the state requires you to complete a three-hour pre-approved notary public education course within six months of submitting your application. Listed below are a couple of the classes offered in the Pittsburgh area:
- Pennsylvania Association of Notaries (PAN)
- Community College of Allegheny County
Lifetime Learning & Personal Development
800 Ridge Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Fax (724) 325-6708
For more available courses, including some that you can complete online, visit the Pennsylvania Department of State Website. After you complete your course you will receive a certificate of completion. You may want to make a copy of this certificate to include with your application and save the original for your records.
Next up: the application process: The application is available for download here. You can also call 717-787-5280 to have an application mailed to you. After you receive your application, complete it according to the instructions. Please make sure that you go through the application carefully and fill out every available field, because leaving anything unanswered or blank will slow down the process. Send along a (non-refundable) $40.00 application fee – checks or money orders are accepted – made payable to “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” After you have proof-read, checked and rechecked your application, mail it and the application fee application fee to:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – Department of State
Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation
Division of Commissions, Legislation and Notaries
210 North Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Once the Department of State approves your application you will receive a notice of appointment, an official bond and oath form, as well as further instructions (explained below).
Now you need a Surety Bond: The state of Pennsylvania requires you to file a $10,000 surety bond and the oath of office form you received when your application was approved with the Recorder of Deeds in the county where your business will be located. Please note that this must be completed within 45 days of your application being approved. Check your Pittsburgh Yellow Pages or your favorite internet search engine because you can obtain a Surety Bond from some insurance companies, bond agencies or other notary organizations.
Fun stuff, a.k.a, supplies: Notaries commissioned in Pennsylvania need to have a rubber stamp seal and an embosser for all notarial acts on paper. The rubber stamp seal is required; the embosser is optional. You will also need to purchase a notary journal because the state of Pennsylvania requires you to keep careful record of all of your notarial acts. Again, your Pittsburgh Yellow Pages or a search for “Pennsylvania Notary Supplies” in your favorite internet search engine will give you plenty of options.
Now it’s time to file. After you’ve had your application approved, obtained your surety bond and your supplies, you’ll need to file with the county Recorder of Deeds and the Prothonotary. You have to record the commission, as well as the executed bond and oath form in the Recorder of Deeds office in Allegheney County at:
Valerie McDonald Roberts, Recorder of Deeds
101 County Office Building
542 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Next, you need to register your official signature with the Prothonotary of Allegheney county as well. There is usually a fee of $.50 for the registration of your signature. Please be careful to sign your name exactly as it appears on your commission.
After you’ve completed these steps, the recorder of deeds will send your commission and a wallet card to you and you will be an official notary public for the State of Pennsylvania. Congratulations! You are officially a Notary Public in Pittsburgh! Don’t forget to come back and share your success stories with us, we always love to hear them!