Definition: Notary / Notary Public

A notary or notary public is any person appointed by the State of Washington (through the Department of Licensing) to perform notarial acts. To be eligible to be a notary, a person must be at least eighteen years old, able to read and write English, and either a resident of Washington or a resident of an adjoining state who is regularly employed or carries on business in Washington.1 In addition, a person who applies to be a notary must get endorsements from three non-relative Washington State residents who are at least eighteen years old and post a $10,000 surety bond.

Note that in some countries, the role of a notary is similar to that of an attorney, and in those locations becoming a notary requires education and training similar to that required of a person to become an attorney. That is not the case of notaries in Washington State. In Washington, there is no education or training requirement for a person to become a notary, and notaries in Washington cannot practice law unless they also happen to be attorneys.