This guide is intended to provide a clear outline of the steps required to become a notary public in the state of Missouri. It is based on the official guide provided by the Missouri Secretary of State.

While comprehensive, the official guide is hard to navigate and contains lots of legal details that don't apply to many individuals or situations. This guide provides a streamlined overview, but you may need to refer to the official guide at times.

Before beginning, you might find the FAQ section helpful.

Each of the following steps must be completed in order. Click on a step to read about it in detail.

The qualifications for a Missouri resident to become a notary are:
  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Be a legal resdient of the US
  3. Be able to read and write the English language
  4. Not have had their commission revoked in the past five years
  5. Not have committed a felony in any state in the past 5 years (more details)
A non-resident may become a notary, but additional qualifications apply.

The Missouri Notary Handbook includes all details relevant to the duties of a notary in Missouri. While comprehensive, it is extremely long (104 pages) and difficult to read. The Secretary of State advises that you read the handbook before completing the notary assessment, but that is not strictly necessary.

Download and open a copy of the handbook, and familiarize yourself with its Table of Contents. Then proceed to the next step.

While referred to as an "assessment" or "training," this step consists simply of a series of 30 questions that you must answer while referring to the handbook. Once started, this step must be completed within 90 days. You DO NOT need to complete the assessment all at once. You may begin and return later to finish.

To complete the assessment:

  1. Visit the training site to create an account and log in
  2. Begin the training
  3. For each question in the training, refer to the handbook to learn about that topic. Then answer the question. Tip: To quickly find a topic in the handbook, use the Find feature to search by keyword. In most applications, you can search by using the keyboard shortcut ctrl+F (Windows) or cmd+F (Mac).
  4. Finish the training with 6 or less incorrect answers.

Once you have successfully completed the assessment, you must apply for your notary commission with the Secretary of State's office. The easiest way to do this is online:

  1. Visit the Notary Public Log In. This uses the same account you created to complete the assessment.
  2. Complete the application.
  3. Wait to receive your commission letter in the mail. This typically takes 7-10 days.

Once you have received your commission letter, you must purchase a surety bond. This is essentially insurance against any losses to the state of Missouri should you make an error in your duties as a notary. The bond must cover up to $10,000.

Many companies sell surety bonds online. One such is missourinotary.com, which provides a 4-year, $10,000 bond for $30.

The bond must be issued for the same county for which you submitted your notary application, and to which you qualify as a notary in the next step. If the county listed on your application/commission letter differs from the bond, you will not be able to qualify.

For the city of St. Louis, the bond must be issued for "St. Louis City" and NOT "St. Louis."

Once you have your commission letter AND your bond, you must visit your county clerk's office to complete the process. Refer to the Secretary of State's site to find the office for your county.

You must go to the same county listed in your application and noted on your bond.

Before vising the clerk's office, call them to ask about their hours and fees. Many offices have restricted hours and specific protocols due to COVID-19, and some require an appointment in advance. Additionally, some may require payment in a certain form (e.g. St. Louis City require a $3.50 fee in exact cash). Some of this information is provided on the Secretary of State's site, but that site is not always accurate.

When visiting the clerk's office, be sure to bring:

  • Your commission letter
  • Your surety bond
  • Any applicable fees

At the county clerk's office, they will verify your documents and obtain your signature for their files. You will then be sworn in as a notary and issued your official notary commission certificate. This is the document that verifies your legal status as a notary in Missouri, and which includes your commission #.

You're now an notary! Great work. But in order to carry out your duties, you need a seal and journal.

Many online companies sell notary seals and journals. One such company is missourinotary.com. When purchasing, you will be asked to provide a copy (usually by email or upload) of your commission certificate. This is so that your status can be verified with the Secretary of State and your commission # included on your seal.

Once your supplies arrive, you're ready to notarize ballots!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a notary?

Between a couple of weeks and 90 days. The assessment and application can be completed in a few hours. After that, it will take 7-10 days to receive your commission letter from the state. The remaining steps can be completed within a few days after receiving your letter.

Once you have applied, you have up to 90 days to complete the process.

Does it cost anything?

There are various costs associated with the process. The state of Missouri charges a $25 application fee. Surety bonds can be purchased for as little as $30, and notary supplies for as little as $30 total. Finally, county clerk offices typically charge a fee of no more than $10.

In total, you can expect the process of becoming a notary to cost about $100.

How does becoming a notary help?

For the November 2020 election, the state of Missouri has provided for universal (that is, no reason required) mail-in ballots. However, all such ballots must be notarized. Notary Hub is helping coordinate the effort to connect notaries to voters to ensure everyone is able to vote safely.