I. Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain issues surrounding university employees who either desire to be or are currently a notary public. This paper will explain how to become a Notary Public as well as the powers that go along with it.

II. Background

The acts of a notary at an institution are important. A notary performs an act of “notarization” which is more precisely called a “notarial act.” “Notarial act” means any act that a notary public is authorized to perform, and includes taking an acknowledgment, administering an oath of affirmation, taking a verification upon oath or affirmation, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument.

III. Requirements

A notary public must be a Wisconsin resident, 18 years of age or older, be familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a Notary, and not have an arrest or conviction record which is unacceptable under Wis. Stats. 111.335.

In order to complete a notary application, you must first obtain a notary seal or rubber stamp. The seal or stamp must state “Notary Public”, “State of Wisconsin”, and the name of the notary. You may use initials, or a shortened first name if you wish, but you must use your current last name in full. You must also always sign your name exactly as set forth on your notary seal or stamp.

A $500 surety bond is required for all applicants applying or reapplying for a notary public commission. This bond is an insurance agreement making the surety legally liable for up to $500 in damages for failure of the notary applicant to discharge his or her duties. Any damages beyond this amount are the responsibility of the notary. This bond cannot be canceled and will expire in four years with the notary commission.

IV. Procedures

1. Notary Public Application: Complete sections 1 through 5. On the left side of the application put a legible impression of your seal or rubber stamp, your name, address, date your present commission expires (if applicable) and sign by the X. Complete sections 6 through 13 and sign again.

2. Oath of Office: Take the OATH OF OFFICE and follow instructions on the form for numbers 1 through 6. In Section A sign your name on line number 7. Leave 8, 9 and 10 blank. ON THE OTHER SIDE, print or type your name, residence address, telephone number. DO NOT COMPLETE SECTION B OR C.

3. ENCLOSE TWO CHECKS: $25.00 to Notary Bond Renewal Service for the four year $500 bond premium, and $20.00 to the Wisconsin Secretary of State for the filing fee.


P.O. Box 510516
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(414) 271-3234

5. Please note that procedures are the same for both first time and renewal notaries.

V. Maintenance

The statutes require that a notary give written notice of any change of address to the Secretary of State within 5 days of such change. When writing to the Office of the Secretary of State, be sure to include your expiration date so the information can be applied to the correct file. When changing your name for any reason, it is strongly suggested that you purchase a new seal or rubber stamp stating your new name and request a Change of Name form from the Office of Secretary of State. You are required to complete and submit the form to the Office of the Secretary prior to using your new name and seal for notary purposes.

If the notary seal is lost or stolen you need to immediately notify the Secretary of State office in writing. Then order a new seal or stamp that is somewhat different than the previous one. When the new seal or stamp is received, send samples to the Secretary of State office before using it.

You may use both a rubber stamp and an engraved seal provided that samples of each are on file in the Secretary of State office prior to use. If you purchase a second seal or stamp, make sure the name is exactly the same as it appears on the original. Before using the new seal/stamp be sure to send samples of your signature, commission expiration date, and future date of intended use to the Secretary of State office.

VI. Notary Public Information

Please read and understand the powers that go along with the notary public statute 137.01. If you have any questions please contact the Secretary of State or the Stilp Agency.

Additional References/Resources

UW System Office of Procurement

State of WI Department of Financial Institutions