Notary Commission Information

Effective July 1st, 2022, requests for Certificates of Authority must be directed to The Office of the Secretary of State.

For information regarding notary applications, specialty notarization, Certificates of Authority, Certificates of Incumbency and Apostilles, please visit the Secretary of State's website at


Illinois residents are appointed notaries by the Secretary of State for a term of four years. Out-of-state residents are appointed for a one-year term. An applicant for appointment must:
  1. be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;
  2. be a resident of the State of Illinois or employed in the state of Illinois for at least 30 days;
  3. be at least 18 years of age;
  4. be able to read and write the English language;
  5. have not been convicted of a felony; and
  6. have not had a notary commission revoked during the past 10 years (Sec. 2-102).
An applicant must complete the proper application form provided by the Secretary of State, which includes the oath of office. He or she 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, a commission will be issued.

The commission will be mailed to the County Clerk of the county in which the applicant resides. The appointment is not complete until the commission is recorded with the County Clerk. The recording with the County Clerk may be done in person or by mail. The County Clerk will notify the applicant of the procedure (Sec. 2-106).

When the applicant has recorded his or her appointment with the County Clerk and has received the commission, the appointment is complete. The notary must then obtain an official seal and can perform notarial acts anywhere in the State of Illinois, as long as he or she continues to reside or work in the county in which he or she was commissioned.


The $5,000 bond must be issued by a company qualified to write surety bonds in the State of Illinois (Sec. 2-105). 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 (Sec. 3-101). Although the law does not prescribe the exact format of the seal, the following example contains all of the required information and is acceptable. In this case, the notary's name is John Doe, whose notary appointment expires Dec. 31, 2004.

My Commission Expires 12-31-19

(seal must be in black ink)

The stamp should include the notary public's name exactly as the notary was commissioned and the date upon which the notary's commission expires. (This date appears on the notary commission.) 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.

Notary seals may be purchased at most office supply stores or stamp manufacturers. Consult the yellow pages of your telephone book for "rubber stamps." The Office of the Secretary of State does not recommend any particular company.

Certificate of Authority

Courts or public officials may require that a "certificate of authority" be attached to a document that has been notarized. This certificate confirms that the individual was an 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 where the notary recorded his or her appointment or by the Secretary of State. Persons who require a certificate of authority should contact the County Clerk or the Secretary of State's Index Department for further information. Most documents do not require a certificate of authority, and it is not the responsibility of the notary public to obtain such a certificate for any party.