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Georgia Notary FAQ (frequently asked questions)

notary faq frequently asked questionsThe following is general Georgia notary FAQ (frequently asked questions)page. Information is based on our experience in administering Georgia's Notary Public laws, O.C.G.A. 45-17-1 et seq. Questions regarding application laws to a particular situation should be addressed to private legal counsel.

The Georgia Notary Public Division issues two types of domestic certificates of authentication and one international certificate of authentication called an Apostille. All certifications are issued under the seal of the State of Georgia.

Domestic certifications issued by this Division attest to the authority, name, term of office and signature of the Notary Public. The international certification issued by this Division is available pursuant to provisions of the "Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents." The Apostille is affixed to a document which is witnessed or certified by a Notary Public or a state or county officer, and which requires authentication for use in a country that is a member of the Hague Convention.

1.   What are the qualifications to become a notary in Georgia?
2.   How do I become a notary?
3.   Are Georgia notaries required to be bonded?
4.   What is the procedure for changing a name or address during a term of office?
5.   Can I transfer my commission to another county if my name and address changes during my term of office?
6.   Does a Notary have to use a seal when notarizing documents?
7.   Is a document valid if the Notary fails to include the expiration date of his or her term of office?
8.   May a Notary refuse to witness a document?
9.   Can I sign as a witness in addition to acting as a notary on a document?
10. If a Notary resides in one county can he or she notarize a document in another county?
11. May an out-of-state resident become a notary public in Georgia?
12. What is the term of office for a notary and how is it renewed?

    1. What are the qualifications to become a notary in Georgia?
    An applicant must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of the state of Georgia (or, if a nonresident, must reside in a state bordering Georgia and carry on a business or profession in Georgia or be regularly employed in Georgia), and a resident of the county in which he or she applies. Applicants must be able to read and write the English language.

    2. How do I become a notary?
    Any individual desiring to become a Notary Public should request an application from, and submit the application to, the Clerk of Superior Court in the county of his or her residence.

    3. Are Georgia notaries required to be bonded?
    No bond is required of Georgia notaries.

    4. What is the procedure for changing a name or address during a term of office?
    A notary who changes his or her name or address should notify the appointing clerk in writing within thirty days of the change and provide the old and new names and new signature. A copy of the letter should be sent to the GSCCCA, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 100, Atlanta GA 30345.

    5. Can I transfer my commission to another county if my name and address changes during my term of office?
    Your commission continues in the county of appointment until it expires. The Notary is not required to notify the Clerk of Superior Court in the new, or old, county of the change. Application for re-certification at the expiration of the term will be made to the new Clerk.

    6. Does a Notary have to use a seal when notarizing documents?
    A complete notarial act requires a Notary's signature and seal.

    7. Is a document valid if the Notary fails to include the expiration date of his or her term of office?
    A document is generally valid if the expiration date is mistakenly left out. The wise Notary will always include the expiration date. If no stamp is handy, the expiration date may be handwritten.

    8. May a Notary refuse to witness a document?
    A Notary may, and should, refuse to witness a signature whenever any question exists as to the identity of the signer, the sanity of the signer, or the voluntariness of the signature. A Notary should confirm the identity of the signer based on personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence.

    9. Can I sign as a witness in addition to acting as a notary on a document?
    A Notary is disqualified from performing a notarial act when he or she is also a party to the document for which notarization is required.

    10. If a Notary resides in one county can he or she notarize a document in another county?
    Notarial acts may be exercised in any county in the State.

    11. May an out-of-state resident become a notary public in Georgia?
    A resident of a state that borders Georgia, but who works or carries on a business in this State, may serve as a notary public and should apply to the Clerk of Superior Court of the county in which he or she works.

    12. What is the term of office for a notary and how is it renewed?
    A notary holds office for four years. Renewal of a commission is made by mail or in person at the discretion of the appointing clerk. A Notary should contact his or her Clerk of Superior Court for specific procedures.

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For further information contact:
GSCCCA/Notary Division
1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 100
Atlanta GA 30345
404-327-6023-(phone)
404-327-7877-(fax)

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Disclaimer:

I am not an attorney and have no authority to give legal advice on immigration, real estate transactions, or other legal matters. Proper Identification is required for any notarization to be performed.


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