If you are an Illinois resident, you are appointed by the Secretary of State for a term of four years. If you are an out-of-state resident, you are appointed for a one-year term. For an appointment you must:
- be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;
- be a resident of the State of Illinois or employed in the state of Illinois for at least 30 days;
- be at least 18 years of age;
- be able to read and write the English language;
- have not been convicted of a felony; and
- have not had a notary commission revoked during the past 10 years.
You must complete the proper application form provided by the Secretary of State (link below), which includes the oath of office. You must also obtain from a bonding or surety company a $5,000 notary bond. The application and bond are then forwarded to the Secretary of State along with the $10 filing fee. If the Secretary of State approves the application, your commission will be issued.
Your commission will be mailed to the County Clerk of the county in which you reside. The County Clerk will notify you upon receiving the commission. The appointment is not complete until the commission is recorded with the County Clerk. The recording with the County Clerk can be done in person or by mail. The fee to record your commission with the Madison County Clerk is $10.
You must then obtain an official seal and can act as a notary anywhere in the State of Illinois, as long as you continue to reside or work in the county in which you were commissioned.
The $5,000 bond must be issued by a company qualified to write surety bonds in the State of Illinois. In order for a company to write bonds, that company must be qualified to do so with the Illinois Department of Insurance. Although the company you work for may be willing to post a bond for you, it probably is not qualified to do so.
Most insurance companies can write surety bonds. You may want to contact your local agent. The decision where to purchase a bond can only be made by the applicant. The Office of the Secretary of State does not recommend any particular bonding company.
Every notary public must obtain and use a rubber stamp seal no more than one inch in height and two and one-half inches in length.
The stamp should include your name exactly as commissioned and the date upon which the commission expires. You may include the name of the county in which your appointment is recorded on your seal. The law neither requires the name of the county to appear on the seal nor prohibits it.
Certificate of Authority
Courts or public officials may require that a "certificate of authority" be attached to a document that you notarized. This certificate confirms that you were appointed and commissioned notary public for the State of Illinois on the date of notarization. Such certificates are issued by the County Clerk of the county that recorded your appointment or by the Secretary of State. Most documents you notarize will not require a certificate of authority, and it is not your responsibility to obtain such a certificate for any party.
You must contact the Illinois Secretary of State Index Department at 217-782-7017 to request a non-resident applicant packet.