Become a Notary Public

What is a NY Notary Public?

In New York Notary Publics are appointed by the New York State Secretary of State. A Notary Public is a public officer who executes acknowledgments of deeds or writings in order to render them available as evidence of the facts therein contained; administers oaths and affirmation as to the truth of statements contained in papers or documents requiring the administration of an oath. The notary’s general authority is defined in  135 of the Executive Law; the notary has certain other powers which can be found in the various provisions of law set forth earlier in this publication.

What are the Qualifications necessary to become a Notary Public?

  • Be a citizen of the United States or resident alien with a green card
  • Be a resident of the State of New York or have an office or place of business in New York State
  • Be at least 18 years of age or older on the application date
  • Be able to read, write and understand English
  • Must pass the state exam, which is only given in English, for first time applicants
  • No person is eligible for the office of notary public who has been convicted of a violation of the selective draft act of the U.S. enacted May 18, 1917, or the acts amendatory or supplemental thereto, or of the federal selective training and service act of 1940 or the acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto
  • Costs:  $15.00 at the time of the Exam payable to the Department of State or charge the fee to MasterCard or Visa. Cash will not be accepted. When you pass the exam the you have to pay a Commission Fee is $60.00. When you renew your commission you will pay this same fee again in 4 years.

No person shall be appointed as a notary public who has been convicted, in this State or any other state or territory, of a felony or certain other disqualifying offenses

Note: Only first time applicants and those who have allowed their commission to lapse by more than 180 days, excluding those with a military exemption, must take the exam.

Getting started to be a New York State Notary Public?

  1. Get the information on How to become a NYS notary public , application & examination locations, cost, FAQ, and NYS public law  (from New York State, Secretary of State website.)
  2. Study material (I like this one, but you can choose your own.)*
  3. This is the Notary Public Bible; The New York State Notary Public Law. You are required to know this information.

Is the NY Notary Public Exam difficult?

No, it is not difficult if you study the proper material & take your time to learn what you've read. There are a lot of new words to learn, some of them are listed below.  You must learn these because they will be asked on the test.

Before I took the notary public test I tried several things, like reading the NYS "Notary Public Law", an Notary Public study book by ARCO, I even took an online class.  They were all a waste of time & money. None of those study aides helped me. I don't like Notary Seminars, you'll find plenty of them advertised on the web, you'll learn a lot in one day and after the seminar is over you'll just have a book to study from, then what.

* Reading the Notary Public Law is pretty dry and difficult to read, but this the law that you will be governed by and the information you'll  need to past the notary test. 
I purchased a CD called Notary Trainer that help me more than any of those things I mentioned above.  You will still need to learn all of the new words & definitions, that is why I would recommend you place the words & definitions on a 3x5 index card & flip thru them as you travel on the subway or bus.  I would also highly recommend you get a study CD by "Gerrie Pierre-Fleurimond" on 
When I purchased my CD It's was an interactive CD filled with questions & answers via a pre-test & a final test to see if you're ready for the real test.  I found it fun and easy to use. This is what helped me the most to pass my New York State Notary Public test the very first time.

Walk-In Examination Schedule

EVERY WEDNESDAY at 9:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. at these Long Island sites.
There are other testing sites in NY state that are not listed here. Make sure you check for an updated location January to June schedule or
July to December schedule and for any changes because of weather or emergencies. You have 1 hour to take the test & answer at least 70% of the answers correct to pass.

VFW Hall
68 Lincoln Road, Basement
Franklin Square, NY

Perry Duryea State Office Building
250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Basement Conference Room
Hauppauge, NY

123 William Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY

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Notary Public Forms or Certificates

The notary will use these two loose certificates the most.

  • Acknowledgement Certificate
  • Jurat Affidavit Certificate

These are some other certificates you will run across

  • Certified/Attested Copy Certification
  • Certificate of Inventory of Safety Deposit Box
  • Copy Certification By Document Custodian
  • Credible Identifying Witness Statement
  • Attested Photocopies

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Income Opportunities for notary

As a notary you can earn extra income by doing various other jobs such as:

  • Going to your local court house & retrieving various document for attorney or the public. Sometime an attorney need certain records that they can not get unless someone physically goes to the court to get them.
  • People need certified copies of their divorce or marriage record
  • Join the Society of Field Inspectors (SOFI) for inspection jobs, usually just a picture or two of some building.
  • Join Legal Shield to earn additional income in your spare time. Unlimited income, residual Income & more

Common Definitions & Terms you will need to know for the notary test.

A formal declaration before a duly authorized officer by a person who has executed an instrument that such execution is his act and deed.  Technically, an “acknowledgment” is the declaration of a person described in and who has executed a written instrument, that he executed the same.
A person appointed by the court to manage the estate of a deceased person who left no will.
The person who makes and subscribes his signature to an affidavit.
An affidavit is a signed statement, duly sworn to, by the maker thereof, before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths. The venue, or county wherein the affidavit was sworn to should be accurately stated. But it is of far more importance that the affiant, the person making the affidavit, should have personally appeared before the notary and have made oath to the statements contained in the affidavit as required by law.
- A solemn declaration made by persons who conscientiously decline taking an oath; it is equivalent to an oath and is just as binding; if a person has religious or conscientious scruples against taking an oath, the notary public should have the person affirm. The following is a form of affirmation: “Do you solemnly, sincerely, and truly, declare and affirm that the statements made by you are true and correct.”
Department of State authentication attached to a notarized and county-certified document for possible international use.
To witness the execution of a written instrument, at the request of the person who makes it, and subscribe the same as a witness.
Attestation Clause
That clause (e.g., at the end of a will) wherein the
witnesses certify that the instrument has been executed before them, and the manner of the execution of the same.
Authentication (Notarial)
A certificate subjoined by a county clerk to any certificate of proof or acknowledgment or oath signed by a notary; this county clerk’s certificate authenticates or verifies the authority of the notary public to act as such.
Bill of Sale
A written instrument given to pass property from vendor to vendee.
Certified Copy
A copy of a public record signed and certified as a true copy by the public official having custody of the original. A notary public has no authority to issue certified copies. Notaries must not certify to the authenticity of legal documents and other papers required to be filed with foreign consular officers. Within this prohibition are certificates of the following type: United States of America )

State  of  New York )
County of New York )

“I ..............., a notary public of the State of New York, in and for the county of .........., duly commissioned, qualified and sworn according to the laws of the State of New York, do hereby certify and declare that I verily believe the annexed instrument executed by ....... and sworn to before .........., a notary public of the State of .........., to be genuine in every respect, and that full faith and credit are and ought to be given thereto. “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at the City of .............., this ................ day of .................., 20 ......... (Seal) (Notarial Signature.)”

Personal property, such as household goods or fixtures.
Chattel Paper
A writing or writings which evidence both an obligation to pay money and a security interest in a lease or specific goods. The agreement which creates or provides for the security interest is known as a security agreement.
An instrument made subsequent to a will and modifying it in some respects.
Anything of value given to induce entering into a contract; it may be money, personal services, or even love and affection.
Contempt of Court
Behavior disrespectful of the authority of a court which disrupts the execution of court orders.
An agreement between competent parties to do or not to do certain things for a legal consideration, whereby each party acquires a right to what the other possesses.
Conveyance (Deed)
Every instrument, in writing, except a will, by which any estate or interest in real property is created, transferred, assigned or surrendered.
County Clerk’s Certificate
See “Authentication (Notarial).”
One who makes oath to a written statement. Technically, a person subscribing a deposition but used interchangeably with “Affiant.”
The testimony of a witness taken out of court or other hearing proceeding, under oath or by affirmation, before a notary public or other person, officer or commissioner before whom such testimony is authorized by law to be taken, which is intended to be used at the trial or hearing.
Unlawful constraint exercised upon a person whereby he is forced to do some act against his will.
The placing of an instrument in the hands of a person as a depository who on the happening of a designated event, is to deliver the instrument to a third person. This agreement, once established, should be unalterable
One named in a will to carry out the provisions of the will.
Ex Parte (From One Side Only)
A hearing or examination in the presence of, or on papers filed by, one party and in the absence of the other.
A crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state prison.
A person in charge of a minor’s person or property.
Decree of a court declaring that one individual is indebted to another and fixing the amount of such indebtedness.
A jurat is that part of an affidavit where the officer (notary public) certifies that it was sworn to before him. It is not the affidavit.

The following is the form of jurat generally employed:
"Sworn to before me this ........ day of ........, 20 ......"

Those words placed directly after the signature in the affidavit stating that the facts therein contained were sworn to or affirmed before the officer (notary public) together with his official signature and such other data as required by § 137 of the Executive Law.
The delay or negligence in asserting one’s legal rights.
A contract whereby, for a consideration, usually termed rent, one who is entitled to the possession of real property transfers such right to another for life, for a term of years or at will.
A legal right or claim upon a specific property which attaches to the property until a debt is satisfied.
The act of carrying on a lawsuit.
Any crime other than a felony.
Mortgage On Real Property
An instrument in writing, duly executed and delivered that creates a lien upon real estate as security for the payment of a specified debt, which is usually in the form of a bond.
Notary Public
A public officer who executes acknowledgments of deeds or writings in order to render them available as evidence of the facts therein contained; administers oaths and affirmation as to the truth of statements contained in papers or documents requiring the administration of an oath. The notary’s general authority is defined in §135 of the Executive Law; the notary has certain other powers which can be found in the various provisions of law set forth earlier in this publication.
A verbal pledge given by the person taking t that his statements are made under an immediate sense of this responsibility to God, who will punish the affiant if the statements are false.
Notaries public must administer oaths and affirmations in manner and form as prescribed by the Civil Practice Law and Rules, namely:

§2309(b) Form. An oath or affirmation shall be administered in a form calculated to awaken the conscience and impress the mind of the person taking it in accordance with his religious or ethical beliefs.

An oath must be administered as required by law. The person taking the oath must personally appear before the notary; an oath cannot be administered over the telephone (Matter of Napolis, 169 App. Div. 469), and the oath must be administered in the form required by the statute (Bookman v. City of New York, 200 NY 53, 56).
When an oath is administered the person taking the oath must express assent to the oath repeated by the notary by the words “I do” or some other words of like meaning.

For an oath or affirmation to be valid, whatever form is adopted, it is necessary that: first, the person swearing or affirming must personally be in the presence of the notary public; secondly, that the person unequivocally swears or affirms that what he states is true; thirdly, that he swears or affirms as of that time; and, lastly, that the person conscientiously takes upon himself the obligation of an oath.

A notary public does not fulfill his duty by merely asking a person whether the signature on a purported affidavit is his. An oath must be administered.

A corporation or a partnership cannot take an oath; an oath must be taken by an individual.

A notary public cannot administer an oath to himself.

The privileges and rights of a notary public are personal and cannot be delegated to anyone.

A person who starts a suit or brings an action against another.
Power of Attorney
A written statement by an individual giving another person the power to act for him.
The formal declaration made by a subscribing witness to the execution of an instrument setting forth his place of residence, that he knew the person described in and who executed the instrument and that he saw such person execute such instrument.
A formal statement in writing by a notary public, under seal, that a certain bill of exchange or promissory note was on a certain day presented for payment, or acceptance, and that such payment or acceptance was refused.
The laws of the State of New York do not require the use of seals by notaries public. If a seal is used, it should sufficiently identify the notary public, his authority and jurisdiction. It is the opinion of the Department of State that the only inscription required is the name of the notary and the words "Notary Public for the State of New York."
Signature of Notary Public
A notary public must sign the name under which he was appointed and no other. In addition to his signature and venue, the notary public shall print, typewrite or stamp beneath his signature in black ink, his name, the words “Notary Public State of New York,” the name of the county in which he is qualified, and the date upon which his commission expires ( §137, Executive Law).

When a woman notary marries during the term of office for which she was appointed, she may continue to use her maiden name as notary public. However, if she elects to use her marriage name, then for the balance of her term as a notary public she must continue to use her maiden name in her signature and seal when acting in her notarial capacity, adding after her signature her married name, in parentheses. When renewing her commission as a notary public, she may apply under her married name or her maiden name. She must then perform all her notarial functions under the name selected.

A member of a religious order, known therein by a name other than his secular cognomen, may be appointed and may officiate as a notary public under the name by which he is known in religious circles. (Op. Atty. Gen., Mar. 20, 1930.)
A law established by an act of the Legislature.
Statute of Frauds
State law which provides that certain contracts must be in writing or partially complied with, in order to be enforceable at law.
Statute of Limitations
A law that limits the time within which a criminal prosecution or a civil action must be started.
Subordination Clause
A clause which permits the placing of a mortgage at a later date which takes priority over an existing mortgage.
A notary public may administer an oath or take an affidavit or acknowledgment on Sunday. However, a deposition cannot be taken on Sunday in a civil proceeding.
This term includes every mode authorized by law for administering an oath.
Taking an Acknowledgment
The act of the person named in an instrument telling the notary public that he is the person named in the instrument and acknowledging that he executed such instrument; also includes the act of the notary public in obtaining satisfactory evidence of the identity of the person whose acknowledgment is taken.
The notary public “certifies to the taking of the acknowledgment” when the notary signs his official signature to the form setting forth the fact of the taking of the acknowledgment.
The geographical place where a notary public takes an affidavit or acknowledgment. Every affidavit or certificate of acknowledgment should show on its face the venue of the notarial act. The venue is usually set forth at the beginning of the instrument or at the top of the notary’s jurat, or official certification, as follows: “State of New York, County of (New York) ss.:”. Section §137 of the Executive Law imposes the duty on the notary public to include the venue of his act in all certificates of acknowledgments or jurats to affidavits.
The disposition of one’s property to take effect after death.
Section §137. Statement as to authority of notaries public.

In exercising his powers pursuant to this article, a notary public, in addition to the venue of his act (ex. the venue is the part that says
STATE OF _[New York],
COUNTY OF _[Queens], {the county is where the notary was done})
and his signature, shall print, typewrite, or stamp beneath his signature in black ink, his name, the words “Notary Public State of New York,” the name of the county in which he originally qualified, and the date upon which his commission expires and, in addition, wherever required, a notary public shall also include the name of any county in which his certificate of official character is filed, using the words “Certificate filed ................... County.” A notary public who is duly licensed as an attorney and counselor at law in this State may in his discretion, substitute the words “Attorney and Counselor at Law” for the words “Notary Public.” A notary public who has qualified or who has filed a certificate of official character in the office of the clerk in a county or counties within the City of New York must also affix to each instrument his official number or numbers in black ink, as given to him by the clerk or clerks of such county or counties at the time such notary qualified in such county or counties and, if the instrument is to be recorded in an office of the register of the City of New York in any county within such city and the notary has been given a number or numbers by such register or his predecessors in any county or counties, when his autographed signature and certificate are filed in such office or offices pursuant to this chapter, he shall also affix such number or numbers. No official act of such notary public shall be held invalid on account of the failure to comply with these provisions.

If any notary public shall wilfully fail to comply with any of the provisions of this section, he shall be subject to disciplinary action by the secretary of state.

In all the courts within this State the certificate of a notary public, over his signature, shall be received as presumptive evidence of the facts contained in such certificate; provided, that any person interested as a party to a suit may contradict, by other evidence, the certificate of a notary public.

Taken from: Page 8, Notary Public, License Law(June 2012)

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