How to Become an Arkansas Notary
The Arkansas Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming an Arkansas notary? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Arkansas notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The state appoints Arkansas notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Arkansas is a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become an Arkansas notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
This guide will help you understand:
- Who can become an Arkansas notary
- The process to become an Arkansas notary
- Basic Arkansas notary duties
Qualifications to become a notary in Arkansas:
To become a notary in Arkansas, a notary applicant must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a United States citizen, or a permanent resident alien with proof of Declaration of Domicile
- Be a legal resident of Arkansas, or a legal resident of an adjoining state and employed in Arkansas
- Be able to read and write English
- Have a business or residence address in Arkansas
- Not have a prior notary commission that has been revoked in the past 10 years
- Not have been convicted of a felony
The process to become a notary in Arkansas:
In order to become an Arkansas notary and receive an Arkansas notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the qualifications requirements stated in the previous section.
- Obtain a surety bond in the amount of $7,500.
- Create a free account on the Arkansas Secretary of State website Notary Management System Account.
- Login to the account, select the type of application you want wants to submit, take the multiple-choice exam, which is required for all new and renewing notary applicants, and then start the application (after the exam, the notary applicant will be immediately directed to the notary application).
- Print and sign the application exactly as it is signed on the surety bond.
- Have the application notarized by an Arkansas notary.
- Submit the completed application, copy of the surety bond, and $20 application fee to the Secretary of State’s Office, which will issue three original certificates of commission to the applicant.
- Take all three certificates, within 30 days, to the circuit clerk in the county where the notary resides or is employed. The clerk will file an original certificate of commission and the notary’s original bond, then return the two remaining certificates to the notary.
- Return one of the completed certificates of commission and the oath of office to the Secretary of State to complete the approval process. The office will send the notary an issued notary public identification card.
- Present the notary public identification card to the stamp vendor to purchase the notary seal.
Can a non-resident become a notary in Arkansas?
Yes. A person who resides in one of the adjoining states can become an Arkansas notary public if he or she:
- Meets the same qualifications as an Arkansas resident;
- Maintains employment in Arkansas; and
- Files the original commission certificate, bond, and oath with the circuit clerk in the county where he or she is employed.
Is an Arkansas notary bond required to become a notary in Arkansas?
Yes. New and renewing notaries public are required to purchase an Arkansas notary bond in the amount of $7,500. An Arkansas notary bond can be purchased either (1) executed and issued by a surety insurer authorized to do business in Arkansas and approved by the Secretary of State; or (2) through a surety contract issued by a general business Arkansas corporation form under Arkansas law and registered with the Arkansas Insurance Commissioner. To purchase an Arkansas notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.usnotaries.com or by calling (800) 721-2663.
Do I need an Arkansas notary errors & omission insurance?
Optional. A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from his or her official misconduct. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends Arkansas notaries public to insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of an Arkansas notary errors and omissions insurance. To receive additional information, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or by calling (800) 721-2663.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Arkansas?
To become a notary in Arkansas, an applicant must include a $20 filing fee when submitting his or her application for appointment or reappointment, plus the cost of the required official seal, notary journal, and surety bond.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Arkansas?
An Arkansas notary is commissioned for a term of ten years from the date of appointment. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void by resignation, death, revocation, or when the notary public ceases to reside in Arkansas.
Where can I perform notarial acts in Arkansas?
An Arkansas notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Arkansas. Likewise, an Arkansas notary public may not perform notarial acts outside this state.
Who appoints Arkansas notaries public?
The Secretary of State appoints Arkansas notaries public.
To contact the Secretary of State:
Arkansas Secretary of State
Business and Commercial Services Division
1401 West Capitol, Suite 250
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1094
(501) 682-3409 or toll free: (888) 233-0325
How do I renew my Arkansas notary commission?
An Arkansas notary must submit an application for renewal no earlier than 60 days before the expiration of the current commission. A notary renewing his or her commission will be required to follow the same steps as a first-time applicant. The notary will need to secure and submit with a new application for renewal a new bond and an application fee.
Are there any exams or notary course requirements?
Yes. The state requires that all new and renewing notary applicants take a multiple-choice exam. Applicants must achieve a minimum score of 80% to access the notary public application. To prepare notary applicants for the exam, the Secretary of State offers a free online notary training course available through the Notary Management System and the “Arkansas Notary Public and eNotary Handbook” contains very important information.
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Arkansas?
Arkansas notary laws require all notaries public to use either a seal embosser or a rubber-inked stamp seal that prints in blue or black ink to authenticate all notarial acts. The Arkansas Notaries Public statute provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on notary stamps.
Required Elements: The notary public stamp must include the following:
- The notary public’s name exactly as written in his or her official signature
- The name of the county where the notary’s bond is filed
- The words “Notary Public” and “Arkansas”
- The notary public’s commission expiration date
- The notary public’s commission number issued by the Secretary of State
Note: The notary seal does not include the Seal of the State of Arkansas or an outline of the state.
An Arkansas notary may use a facsimile signature and seal, such as a stamp or engraved reproduction in blue or black ink, in lieu of the manual signature and rubber or embossed seal on commercial documents (except on deeds or other documents for conveying real estate). If the notary uses a facsimile signature or seal, he or she must first file certain information with the Secretary of State’s office before proceeding with such procedures. For further instructions, contact the Office of the Secretary of State by calling (501) 682-3409.
Is a notary journal required in Arkansas?
No. The Arkansas law does not require an Arkansas notary to keep any record of his or her notarial acts. However, the Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries strongly recommend that each Arkansas notary record his or her official acts in a register or journal. For Arkansas notary journals and other supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or by calling (800) 721-2663.
How much can an Arkansas notary charge for performing notarial acts?
In 2017, the Arkansas Code Annotated amended the notary laws by removing the statutory maximum fees a notary public can charge for each notarial act. The new law permits Arkansas notaries to set their own reasonable fee for a notarial act that is disclosed and agreed upon by the principal and notary public before the execution of the notarial act.
What notarial acts can an Arkansas notary public perform?
An Arkansas notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths or affirmations
- Protest instruments
- Swearing witnesses
- Taking affidavits
- Taking depositions under Rule 28 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 28 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
- Perform copy certification of non-recordable documents
Note: Arkansas courts will reject depositions not authenticated by a certified court reporter. Therefore, Arkansas notaries, who are not certified court reporters, should not accept depositions as an act of their notarial office.
Can I perform electronic notarization in Arkansas
The Arkansas Electronic Notary Public Act came into law on August 3, 2017. The Act requires a traditional Arkansas notary in good standing with the Secretary of State to qualify and be commissioned as an electronic notary public. An electronic notary public must complete a course of study and pass an examination, and take a refresher course every two years. The Secretary of State must approve: (1) the course of study selected by a notary public applying to become an E-Notary; and (2) the solution provider the commissioned electronic notary will use. The Act allows an Arkansas electronic notary to set a reasonable fee for each electronic notarial act.
In addition, the Secretary of State adopted administrative rules entitled “Rules for Electronic Notarial Acts in the State of Arkansas.” First and foremost, the Act and rules mandate that the document signer must be in the presence of the Arkansas notary physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials to each other without reliance on an electronic device such as a telephone, computer, video camera, or facsimile machine at the time of the execution of the electronic notarization. All the same rules and regulations that apply to a traditional, paper notarization also apply to an electronically signed document including, but not limited to, personal appearance before the notary public.
How do I change my address?
If an Arkansas notary changes his or her address within the same county that the notary is commissioned, the notary files an amendment form by using the Notary Management System on the Secretary of State's' website. Notaries who move from one county to another within Arkansas must submit a change of personal information form and have their notary public commission transferred to the new county of residence. Non-resident Arkansas notaries must submit a change to the new county of employment in Arkansas within 30 days of the change.
Upon receiving the change of address to a new county notification, the Secretary of State will notify the circuit clerk of the notary’s previous county of commission. The Secretary of State will issue a certificate verifying the notary’s new county of residence or employment that the notary will take to the circuit clerk where the original bond is filed. After receiving the original bond, the notary will file the original bond or certified copy of the original bond at the new county of residence or employment. The Secretary of State then issues a new identification card to the notary reflecting the change in county of commission, which the notary will need to purchase a new notary seal that reflects the new county. To file an amendment form by using the Notary Management System, visit http://bcs.sos.arkansas.gov.
How do I change my name on my Arkansas notary commission?
If there is a name change that involves a court order, an Arkansas notary must submit, to the Secretary of State and circuit clerk, a certified copy of the court order within 30 days of the name change. The certified copy of the public document designating the name change—such as a marriage license, divorce decree, or other court document—will be issued at the courthouse where the document is filed. The certified copy of the court order will then need to be submitted to the circuit clerk in the county where the notary resides. If the notary is a resident of an adjoining state, he or she must submit it to the circuit clerk in the county in Arkansas where the notary is employed. A plain photocopy of the legal document will not be accepted.
The Office of Secretary of State will issue a new identification card to the notary, reflecting the new legal name, which the Arkansas notary will need to purchase a new seal with the new legal name. To file an amendment form by using the Notary Management System, visit http://bcs.sos.arkansas.gov.
Resignation and revocation of Arkansas notary commission
An Arkansas notary is required to submit an original signed letter stating his or her intentions to resign, and return one of his or her certificates of notary public commission with the letter if the Notary: (1) no longer maintains legal residence or employment in Arkansas during the entire term of appointment; (2) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; and (3) is duty-bound to resign pursuant to a court order of this state or any other state. The resigning notary public shall destroy his or her official seal immediately upon resignation. If a notary’s commission has been revoked, the notary must immediately deposit his or her journal and official seal with the Secretary of State.
Prohibited Arkansas notarial acts
- Submitting an application for commission and appointment that contains substantial and material misstatement or omission of fact
- Performing acts that constitute the practice of law
- Using the phrase “notario” or “notario publico” to advertise notary services
- Knowingly using false or misleading advertising in which such notary represents that such notary has powers, duties, rights, or privileges that such notary does not possess by law, including the power to counsel on immigration matters
- Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and convicted by a court of law
- Notarizing a document without the signer being present at the time of the notarization
- Notarizing a document in which the notary is named
- Notarizing a document in which the notary has a financial or beneficial interest in the transaction
- Charging fees for notary services higher than allowed by law
- Notarizing a document with the intent to deceive or defraud
- Improperly notarizing documents, which resulted in the notary’s conviction in a court of law
- Certifying copies of recorded documents such as birth certificates and other vital records and public records
- Notarizing his or her own signature
- Notarizing a document that contains a notarial certificate that was not worded in English
- Notarizing a notarial certificate that the information within the notarial certificate is known or believed by the notary to be false
- Affixing an official signature and/or notary seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete
- Affixing an official signature and/or notary seal on a notarial certificate at a time when the signer was not present
- Signing and affixing a notary seal to a notarial certificate with the understanding that the notarial certificate will be completed outside the presence of the notary
- Signing and affixing a notary seal to a notarial certificate that will be attached to a document outside the presence of the notary
- Notarizing a document that is incomplete
- Notarizing a signature on a document when the signer was not identified by satisfactory evidence of identification
- Notarizing a document that did not include a notarial certificate
Official notarial misconduct:
A notary public violating Arkansas law in respect to witnessing signatures shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. In addition, the notary public commission will be revoked and the notary cannot be recommissioned for 10 years. A notary who overcharges fees for notary services may also be convicted of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $100 for every offense.
Arkansas notary laws and regulations:
Title 21, Chapter 14 (Notaries Public), Subchapter 1 General Provisions of the Arkansas Code Annotated
Title 21, Chapter 14, Subchapter 2 (Facsimile Signature and Seals) of the Arkansas Code Annotated
Title 21, Chapter 14, Subchapter 3 (Arkansas Electronic Notary Public Act) of the Arkansas Code Annotated
Title 116, Chapter 00, Subchapter 005 (Electronic Notarial Acts), Code of Arkansas Rules and Regulations
Arkansas notarial certificates:
Click here to view Arkansas notarial certificates.
Revised: July 2019
Arkansas notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). Kal Tabbara is a licensed insurance agent in Arkansas.