FAQ

Secretary of State's website


Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS)


Live Scan Fingerprinting


STEPS TO BECOME A CALIFORNIA NOTARY PUBLIC

1. Complete the notary public education course
2. Take and pass the state exam
3. Submit fingerprints via live scan
4. Await Commission package
5. Obtain Notary Public supplies
6. File oath and bond with the county clerk


COURSE FAQs

Notary class fees do not include notary exam fees payable to the Secretary of State.


  • Q. What is the difference between your online and live seminar courses?
    A.The material is the same in both courses - only the presentation format differs.
    • The online course is completely online - you read the material and complete the quiz/test questions online. A printed workbook is not included.
    • The seminar course is a live class - the cost includes a workbook that you receive at the class, a 2x2 color passport photo taken at the class, and access to online study material so you can study before you attend the seminar.
  • Q. I am a renewing notary. Do I need to be fingerprinted again?
    A.Yes. All new and renewing notaries are required to have their fingeprints taken via live scan and pass a California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check for each commission term. Even if you have been fingerprinted for notary or any other license in the past, you will still need to be fingerprinted again.

     

  • Q. What is the difference in the licensing requirements between new and renewing notaries?
    A.The only difference is that new notaries are required to complete a 6-hour education course while renewing notaries are be eligible to complete a 3-hour education course as long as they complete the course and pass the state exam before their current commission expires. All new and renewing notaries are required to complete a mandatory education course, be fingerprinted/pass background check, pass the state exam, submit an application and 2x2 color passport photo, obtain the required supplies, and file their oath and bond with the county clerk's office.

     

  • Q. What happens if I register for the 3-hour course but don't complete the renewal requirement in time?
    A.If you register for any one of our 3-hour courses but do not complete the course and pass the state exam before your current commission expires, then you will be required to retake a 6-hour course. Please email us if you are in this situation and we will transfer your registration to the 6-hour online course at no additional cost.

     

  • Q. Can I get my notary bond and supplies from you?
    A.Yes. Allstate Notary Preparation, Inc. dba Bluewater Surety Insurance Agency #0F09630 is a state-approved seal vendor and a California licensed insurance agency.

     

  • Q. How long do I have access to the Allstate Notary Preparation online course?
    A. There is no time limit as long as the course is available. We only issue one proof of completion certificate per paid registration.

     

  • Q. Does my seminar registration include access to online study material?
    A.Yes. When you register and pay in advance for the notary seminar you also get access to the online study material so that you may study ahead if you choose.

     

  • Q. Is my credit card transaction secure when I register?
    A.Your credit/debit card transaction is securely processed through Authorize.net. All pages that accept your personal/financial information are secured pages. (Look for the "https" on the top of the registration page, and the lock at the bottom of the browser window on the registration pages.) For your security (and ours), Bluewater Surety Insurance Agency / Allstate Notary Preparation, Inc. does not have access your credit card information.

     

  • Q. What is the exam pass-rate for people who attend your live seminars?
    A.Over 90% of our students pass the state exam on their first attempt.

     

  • Q. Do you offer any group discounts?
    A. Yes. Please contact us for details and rates.

     

  • Q. What if I cannot pay by credit card. Do you accept any other form of payment?
    A. Yes. We accept cash, check or money order at the door. If you would like to mail your payment, please include your name, address, telephone number and email address (and seminar date if applicable) and send it to Allstate Notary Preparation, P.O. Box 191404, San Diego, CA 92159.

     

  • Q. What is Allstate Notary Preparation's pass guarantee?
    A. If you take our live class and fail the exam, you may retake our live or online class for free.

 

EXAM FAQs

  • Q. I recently took the notary exam. Can I check my exam results online?
    A. Yes. If you wrote your email address on the top of your notary application, CPS will email your exam results letter to you. Your exam results are available within approximately 15 business days of your exam date on the CPS Human Resource Services website. If you did not receive the letter from CPS, please contact them at notaryinfo@cpshr.us

     

  • Q. Can I take the official notary public exam online?
    A. No. The official notary public exam is NOT offered online by the State of California. You must register with Cooperative Personnel Services and attend an official exam site to take the exam in person.

     

  • Q. Can I take the state Notary Public exam through Allstate Notary Preparation?
    A.Yes. The state exam is administered by CPS Human Resource Services (CPS) immediately following the conclusion of each of our seminars. Those registered for the notary live notary seminar that day are automatically registered for the state exam following the seminar. Others may attend the exam if there is space available. Our San Diego seminar location usually has sufficient room for exam attendees. Space is limited at the Escondido class location.

     

  • Q. Is the proctored state exam that follows your seminars the official state exam?
    A.Yes. CPS Human Resource Services (CPS) comes to our seminar locations and administers the official California state notary public exam to our candidates.

     

  • Q. I am taking your online course. Can I take the state exam after one of your live classes?
    A. Yes. If you are taking one of our online or self-study courses, you can take the state exam that is administered after our live class as long as there are seats available. Please email us if you would like to check availability.

     

  • Q. How much does the Notary Public exam cost?
    A.The fee for the official exam is $40 for new applicants and reappointments and $20 if you have previously sat for the exam and failed.

     

  • Q. How many times can I take the exam?
    A.You can take the exam as many times as you need in order to pass, but you may only take the exam one time per calendar month.

     

  • Q. What is the format of the exam?
    A.The exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions. The exam time allowed is 50 minutes. A score of 70% or better is passing.

     

  • Q. If I'm taking the online course or self-study course, how can I find the exam dates and locations that are available in my area?
    A. Upcoming exam dates and locations are listed on the CPS website.

 

COMMISSIONING FAQs

  • Q. I received my commission package from the Secertary of State. Now what?
    A.The steps are as follows if you have purchased your bond and/or seal from us:
    1. Fax to 619-461-8467 or email us a copy of your notary commission or your "certificate of authorization to manufacture notary public seals" form so we can start processing your bond and/or seal.
    2. For order that include a seal: Mail us your original "certificate of authorization to manufacture notary public seals" form to P.O. Box 191404, San Diego, CA 92159. Once we receive the original "certificate of authorization to manufacture notary public seals" form from you, then we will mail your completed order to you.
    3. Please be sure to provide a return mailing address where you want your order shipped.
    4. Once you received the original signed, notarized bond from us then you can go to the county clerk to file your oath and bond.

    Please send your certificate to us via USPS Priority mail or regular mail. Sending your certificate Certified mail or anything that requires a signature at the post office will delay your order processing. FedEx and UPS do not deliver to a post office box.

    To get your stamp, mail us the form that looks like this:


  • Q. Are you an approved seal vendor?
    A.Yes. We are on the approved seal vendor list under the name of "Allstate Notary Preparation" in San Diego, CA.

     

  • Q. What are the steps to becoming a California Notary Public?
    A.The steps are as follows:
    • Obtain and complete the Notary Public Application
    • Register for the exam with us or through the CPS Human Resource Services website or by calling CPS at (916) 263-3520.
    • Be sure to read the Testing Information in advance
    • Register for an approved course of study
    • Complete the approved course of study and obtain your completion certificate
    • Obtain a 2x2 color passport pohoto and bring it with you to the state exam
    • Take and pass the state exam
    • Have your fingerprints taken
    • Receive your commission package
    • Purchase your notary supplies
    • File your oath and bond within the 30 day time limit

     

  • Q. What are the costs involved in becoming a Notary Public?
    A. Seminar and supply costs vary by vendor. Exam and FBI/DOJ fingerprint fees are set fees.
    The costs are as follows:
    • Approved Educational Course- $75 for our seminar or $35 for our online course. Course fees are non-refundable.
    • Color Passport Photo - approximately $10.00 - $15.00
    • Exam Fee - $40.00 for first time applicants and renewing notaries.
    • Fingerprint Fees: $32.00 to the DOJ and $19.00 to FBI, plus approximately $18.00-30.00 "rolling fee" depending where you have the livescan taken.
    • Notary Supplies - Anywhere from $65.00 and up depending upon what supplies you purchase and where you purchase your supplies.

     

  • Q. How long does it take to become a notary public or renew an existing commission?
  • A.It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to receive your new commission starting from the date you pass the state exam. Your exam results are usually sent out within 15 business days of your exam date. You must submit your fingerprints for a background check. The Secretary of State's office receives the results of your background check, processes your application and then mails your commission to you within approximately 4-6 weeks.

     

  • Q. How can I get more information from the California Secretary of State?
    A. Visit the California Secretary of State's official website.

     

  • Q.I haven't received my commission package. How can I contact the Secretary of State?
    A. The phone number for the California Secretary of State is 916-653-3595.
    You may also email (recommended for a faster response!) the Secretary of State at notaries@sos.ca.gov.

 

NOTARY SUPPLIES FAQs

  • Q. How do you send my bond?
    A. Your bond sent with the rest of your order. You may choose to have your bond mailed separately via USPS Priority Mail for an additional $6.45 if you are ordering supplies only (not in a package with the notary class).

 

  • Q. What information do I need to send you in order to get my bond and/or E&O insurance?
    A. Please fax or email us a copy of your notary commission so that we can process your bond and/or E&O insurance policy. If you also ordered a stamp, we only need your seal certificate (see next question).

     

  • Q. What information do I need to send you in order to get my notary seal?
    A. Please fax or email and then MAIL us the ORIGINAL "Certificate of Authorization to Manufacture Notary Public Seals" form that you received in your commission package from the Secretary of State.

    Mailing Address:
    Allstate Notary Preparation
    P.O. Box 191404
    San Diego, CA 92159

    We need to stamp that original seal certificate before we can send the seal to you. Please send your certificate to us via USPS Priority mail or regular mail. Sending your certificate Certified mail or anything that requires a signature at the post office will delay your order processing. FedEx and UPS do not deliver to a post office box.

 

  • To get your stamp, mail us the form that looks like this:

 

 

  • Q. What do I need to do after I get my bond?
    A. Once you get the bond from us, you need to file the bond along with your oath of office at the county clerk's office in the county where you maintain your principal place of business. (Your county is stated on the face of your commission and on your notary seal.) You may begin notarizing AFTER you have filed your oath and bond and within 30 days of your commission start date.

 

  • Q. How long does it take to get my order?
    A. We process your order within 1-2 days of receipt of the required paperwork (seal certificate and/or copy of your commission) and payment. Your order is then sent to you altogether from San Diego via USPS Priority Mail which usually delivers in 2-4 days. E&O only orders will be sent via first class mail.

 

  • Q. Can I have my bond sent separately from the rest of my order?
    A. Yes. If you are ordering bond and/or supplies only (not in a package with a notary class), please select the "separate shipping" option when you place the order. The bond will be mailed via USPS Priority Mail the day after we receive a copy of your commission.

 

  • Q. Where are you located? Can I pick up my bond and supplies in person?
    A. We are located in San Diego. Unfortunately, we no longer have a store front where you can walk in and pick up supplies.

 

  • Q. Can you send my order to a P.O. Box?
    A. Yes. We send orders via USPS Priority Mail. The post office delivers to P.O. Boxes.

 

  • Q. Do you sell any other notary supplies?
    A. Yes. We also sell notary journals, thumbprint pads, jurat stamps and disclaimer stamps. If you need an embosser, we can refer you to another vendor.
  • Q. Do I need to use the new acknowledgment and jurat wording?
    A. Yes. Effective January 1, 2015: Acknowledgments, jurats and proof of exection forms must contain the statutory disclaimer statement above the venue. You can use a stamp to affix the disclaimer or use loose certificates that already contain the disclaimer.

 

  • Q. Are you an approved vendor?
    A. Yes. We are a state-approved seal vendor and a California licensed insurance agency.

  • Q. What do I need to do if I received my bond but I did not file my bond within my 30 days?
    A. You will need to requalify for a new commission. Once you receive your new commission you will need to send us a copy of your new commission and your original bond back so that we can reissue your bond. There is a no fee to have your bond reissued if you mail the original bond back to us. You will need to purchase a new seal.

 

  • Q. What do I need to do if I change my commission name?
    A. Once you receive your amended commission you will need to send us a copy of your amended commission so that we can amend your bond. We do not charge a fee to amend your bond. You will need to purchase a new seal. The amended bond needs to be issued by the insurance agency that issued your original bond. We cannot amend your bond if we did not issue your original bond.

 

  • Q. Is my credit card transaction secure?
    A. Your credit/debit card transaction is securely processed through Authorize.net. For your security (and ours), Bluewater Surety Insurance Agency / Allstate Notary Preparation, Inc. does not have access your credit card information.
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