Renewing Your California Notary Commission: What You Need to Know

Renewing your California notary commission is a crucial step to continue your role as a notary public. The process can seem daunting, but understanding the requirements and steps can ensure a smooth renewal. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about renewing your CA notary commission, from the timeline and eligibility requirements to completing your application and passing the necessary exam.

Understanding the Renewal Timeline

Starting the renewal process early is essential to avoid any lapse in your commission. It is recommended to begin at least six months before your current commission expires. This timeframe allows ample opportunity to complete all required steps, including education and exam preparation. If your commission lapses, you will be required to take the six-hour course instead of the three-hour refresher, which can add additional time and effort to the process.

Reviewing Eligibility Requirements

To renew your CA notary commission, you must meet specific eligibility criteria. These include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Being a legal resident of California
  • Having no disqualifying criminal convictions

Ensuring you meet these requirements is the first step in the renewal process. It’s important to verify your eligibility early to avoid any surprises later on.

Completing the Required Continuing Education

Continuing education is a vital component of the renewal process. California requires notaries to complete a three-hour approved course if renewing before the commission expires. If your commission has lapsed, a six-hour course is mandatory. At CalNotaryClass, we offer both the three-hour refresher and the six-hour courses to meet your needs. Completing these courses early can save you time and stress as your renewal date approaches.

Finding Approved Courses

The California Secretary of State’s website provides a list of approved education providers. You can also find approved courses at CalNotaryClass. Choose a course that fits your schedule and learning preferences. Online courses offer flexibility, while in-person classes provide direct interaction with instructors.

Completing the Course

Once you’ve selected a course, complete it as soon as possible. The course will cover essential topics such as California notary law, ethical practices, and procedural updates. Passing the course is necessary to proceed with your renewal application.

Filling Out the Renewal Application

The renewal application is straightforward but requires attention to detail. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth application process:

  1. Download the Application: Start by downloading the application form from the California Secretary of State’s website.
  2. Complete Required Fields: Fill out all required fields accurately, including your personal information, notary commission number, and details of your completed education.
  3. Double-Check for Errors: Review your application for any errors or omissions to avoid delays.
  4. Prepare Supporting Documents: Gather all necessary documents, such as proof of completed education.
  5. Submit the Application: Submit your completed application and supporting documents to the California Secretary of State when you take the notary exam.

Passing the Notary Exam

All renewing notaries must retake the notary exam, which tests your knowledge of California notary law and procedures. Here’s how to prepare:

Study Tips and Resources

  • Review the Notary Handbook: The California Notary Public Handbook is a key resource. Study it thoroughly.
  • Take Practice Tests: Practice exams are available online and can help you become familiar with the format and types of questions.

Exam Day Preparation

  • Bring Required Materials: Ensure you have all necessary materials, including your completed application, identification, and any required fees.
  • Arrive Early: Arrive at the exam location early to allow time for check-in and to settle in before the test begins.
  • Stay Calm and Focused: Read each question carefully and manage your time effectively during the exam.

Getting Your New Notary Bond and Supplies

Renewing notaries must obtain a new notary bond, typically in the amount of $15,000. This bond protects the public from any errors or misconduct by the notary. Additionally, you’ll need to update your notary supplies, such as your seal, which must reflect your new commission expiration date.

Obtaining Your Notary Bond

  • Choose a Reputable Bond Provider: Research and select a reputable bond provider that offers competitive rates and reliable service.
  • Complete the Bond Application: Fill out the bond application accurately and submit it along with any required fees.
  • Receive Your Bond Certificate: Once approved, you will receive your bond certificate, which must be included in your renewal application.

Updating Notary Supplies

  • Notary Seal: A new notary seal is necessary because the commission expiration date changes. Ensure your new seal meets California state specifications.
  • Notary Journal: If your commission has lapsed for more than 30 days, you will need a new notary journal. Otherwise, you can continue using your existing journal.


Renewing your California notary commission doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By understanding the process and starting early, you can ensure a smooth transition. Remember to review eligibility requirements, complete your education, fill out the application accurately, and prepare for the exam. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to continuing your important work as a notary public in California. For further assistance, resources like the California Secretary of State’s website and approved education providers can offer additional guidance. Additionally, consider taking your continuing education courses at CalNotaryClass to ensure you meet all requirements efficiently.

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