Becoming a Notary in Iowa: A Step-by-Step Guide

Becoming a Notary in Iowa: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you interested in becoming a notary in the state of Iowa? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of obtaining your notary commission in Iowa. From fulfilling the necessary requirements to submitting your application, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the details and help you kickstart your journey to becoming a notary in Iowa.

Requirements to Become a Notary in Iowa

Minimum qualifications

To become a notary in Iowa, you must be at least 18 years old, be a resident of Iowa or a resident of a state that borders Iowa and maintains or conducts business in Iowa, and be able to read and write in English.

Application process

The application process to become a notary in Iowa involves submitting an application to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, completing a notary training course, passing an exam, and paying the required fees. The application must include proof of completion of the training course and a $30 application fee.

Bond and insurance requirements

In Iowa, notaries are required to obtain a $5,000 surety bond to protect the public from financial damages that may result from errors or misconduct committed by the notary. Notaries are also encouraged to obtain errors and omissions insurance to provide additional protection.

Taking the Notary Exam

Becoming a notary in Iowa requires passing a notary exam to demonstrate your knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of a notary public. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for and take the notary exam.

Scheduling the Exam

The first step in taking the notary exam is to schedule a date and time to take the exam. In Iowa, the notary exam is administered by the Secretary of State’s office, and you can schedule the exam online through their website. Make sure to choose a date that gives you enough time to study and prepare for the exam.

Preparing for the Exam

To prepare for the notary exam, you should study the Iowa Notary Public Handbook, which covers the laws and regulations governing notaries in Iowa. You can also take online practice exams to familiarize yourself with the types of questions that will be on the exam. It’s important to review topics such as notary responsibilities, proper notarial procedures, and ethical considerations.

Exam Day Procedures

On the day of the exam, make sure to arrive early to the testing center and bring a valid form of identification. You will be required to show your ID before being allowed to take the exam. The exam is typically multiple-choice and covers a range of topics related to notary duties. Once you have completed the exam, you will receive your score immediately.

By following these steps and adequately preparing for the notary exam, you will be on your way to becoming a notary public in Iowa. Good luck!

Completing the Notary Application

Becoming a notary in Iowa requires completing an application to the Iowa Secretary of State. Follow these steps to successfully submit your application:

Gathering required documents

Before starting the application process, make sure you have the following documents ready:

  • A completed notary application form
  • A $30 filing fee
  • A surety bond of at least $5,000
  • Proof of completion of a notary education course
  • A valid form of identification

Submitting the application

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can submit your application to the Iowa Secretary of State. You can either submit it online or mail it to the address provided on the application form. Make sure to double-check all the information provided before submitting to avoid any delays in the approval process.

Waiting for approval

After submitting your application, you will need to wait for approval from the Iowa Secretary of State. The approval process can take up to 4 weeks, so be patient during this time. Once your application is approved, you will receive your notary commission certificate in the mail. Congratulations on becoming a notary in Iowa!

Acquiring Notary Supplies

After completing the necessary steps to become a notary in Iowa, it is essential to acquire the appropriate notary supplies to perform your duties effectively. Here is a list of the essential supplies you will need:

Official seal and stamp

One of the most important supplies you will need as a notary in Iowa is an official seal and stamp. The seal and stamp are used to authenticate documents and verify the identity of the signer. Notaries are required to use their official seal and stamp on every document they notarize.

Notary journal

In Iowa, notaries are required to keep a notary journal to record all notarizations they perform. The notary journal is used to keep track of the documents notarized, the individuals involved, and any relevant details. It is crucial to maintain accurate records in your notary journal to protect yourself from potential liability.

Other necessary supplies

In addition to the official seal, stamp, and notary journal, there are other supplies you may need as a notary in Iowa. These include a notary bag or case to store your supplies, pens, notary certificates, and any other tools or materials you may need to perform your duties effectively.

By ensuring you have the necessary notary supplies, you can confidently and efficiently fulfill your responsibilities as a notary in Iowa.

Understanding Notary Duties and Responsibilities

As a notary public in Iowa, it is important to understand the duties and responsibilities that come with the role. Notaries play a crucial role in preventing fraud and ensuring the validity of important documents. Here are some key responsibilities of a notary in Iowa:

Administering oaths and affirmations

One of the main duties of a notary public is to administer oaths and affirmations. This involves asking individuals to swear or affirm that the information in a document is true and accurate. Notaries must ensure that the person taking the oath understands the importance of telling the truth and is doing so willingly.

Witnessing signatures

Another important responsibility of a notary is to witness signatures on documents. Notaries verify the identity of the individuals signing a document and ensure that they are signing willingly and knowingly. By witnessing signatures, notaries help to prevent fraud and ensure the validity of the document.

Maintaining records

Notaries in Iowa are also responsible for maintaining accurate records of their notarial acts. This includes keeping a journal of notarial acts, which should include information such as the date and time of the notarization, the type of document notarized, and the name of the person requesting the notarization. By maintaining detailed records, notaries can provide proof of their actions in case of any disputes or legal issues.

Overall, understanding the duties and responsibilities of a notary in Iowa is essential for anyone considering becoming a notary public. By upholding these responsibilities, notaries play a crucial role in protecting the public and ensuring the integrity of important documents.


Becoming a notary in Iowa may seem like a daunting task, but by following this step-by-step guide, you can easily navigate the process and become a certified notary public in no time. From completing the application to taking the required exam, each step is crucial in ensuring that you are well-prepared to carry out your duties as a notary. Remember, being a notary is a position of trust and responsibility, and it is important to uphold the laws and regulations set forth by the state of Iowa. So, if you are considering becoming a notary, take the time to carefully follow these steps and start your journey towards becoming a valuable member of your community.