What Is A Notary?

A notary public is an officer commissioned by the Michigan Secretary of State.

In order to be a notary in Michigan,

  • you must be at least 18 years old;
  • be a Michigan resident or maintain a place of business in Michigan;
  • be a U.S. citizen or possess proof of legal presence;
  • be a resident of the county in which you request appointment (if you do not reside in Michigan, maintain a principal place of business in the county you request appointment);
  • read and write in the English language;
  • be free of any felony convictions within the past 10 years (if previously convicted of a felony, the 10-year period includes completion of the sentence for that crime, any term of imprisonment, parole, or probation, and payment of all fines, costs, and assessments);
  • have not been convicted of 2 or more misdemeanor offenses involving a violation of the Michigan Notary Public Act within a 12-month period while commissioned, or 3 or more misdemeanor offenses involving a violation of this Act within a 5-year period regardless of being commissioned;
  • have filed with the appropriate county clerk a proper surety bond in the amount of $10,000 and taken the oath of office as prescribed by the State Constitution;
  • sign a declaration that all information on your application for Michigan Notary Public Commission is correct, that you have read the Michigan Notary Public Act, and that you will perform all notarial acts faithfully; and
  • cannot be an individual currently serving a term of imprisonment in any state, county or federal correctional facility.

Our notary commission is a statewide appointment, which means that we may notarize anywhere within the State of Michigan.

We are authorized to take acknowledgments, administer oaths or affirmations, and witness or attest to a signature.

Our notary public may act as a witness to and notarize the same instrument.

When we take a verification on oath or affirmation, or witnesses or attests to a signature, the individual signing the record must do so in the presence of the notary. There is no exception to this requirement. Michigan does not allow or accept the e-notarization.

An acknowledgment does not require that a record be signed in the notary’s presence. An acknowledgment merely confirms the identity of the signer, who acknowledges that he or she signed the record. When taking an acknowledgment, our notary public must determine that the individual appearing before the notary and making the acknowledgment is the person whose signature is on the record. Again, a personal appearance before the notary is required.

When we perform a notarial act, we must identify the individual either from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence. If the pubic notary does not personally know the individual who is requesting a notarial act, we must ask to see a driver license, passport, or state issued personal identification card. We can also identify an individual upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness if you personally know the witness and the witness personally knows the individual.

Further, we must have the individual sign the document (or acknowledge his or her signature) in our notary’s presence. If an oath is required, our notary must administer the oath.

Additionally, we must complete the notarial certificate. This must include all of the following: the date of notarization; our notary’s name; the county of appointment; the expiration date of our notary’s commission; and if performing a notarial act in a county other than your county of commission, the statement “Acting in the County of _______.” Our notary must always sign his name exactly as it appears on his application for commission as a notary public, including middle name or initial(s) if used.

Furthermore, the county of notarization is essential as it determines the legal jurisdiction in the event the notarization is challenged in a court of law. Please note that Michigan law does not require notaries to use an embossed seal or rubber stamp on a document. However, documents sent out of state may require an embossed notary seal.