Notary Public Frequently Asked Questions

For an extensive list of Notary FAQs, please refer to the Notary Public Handbook listed under resources.

Who is eligible to apply to become a Wisconsin Notary Public?

Any United States resident 18 years of age or older who has at least the equivalent of an eighth grade education, is familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a Notary Public, and has demonstrated adherence to laws according to the Wisconsin Statutes with regard to arrests/citations/convictions, is eligible to apply for a Wisconsin notary public commission. An applicant does not need to be a Wisconsin resident and does not need to be an United States Citizen.

Who is not eligible to apply to become a Wisconsin Notary Public?

An applicant who does not meet all basic requirements listed above is not eligible to apply. Persons convicted in state or federal court of a felony may not be commissioned as Notaries Public for the State of Wisconsin unless they have been pardoned of the conviction by the Governor. The department will also consider persons convicted or have pending charges of a misdemeanor involving fraud, forgery, or similar violation before making a determination of commission.

Where can I purchase a stamp or seal?

You can purchase a stamp or seal from a local office supply store or online. The stamp/seal must have; "State of Wisconsin," "Notary Public" and your seal name which must include your complete legal last name. It may include your commission expiration date.

The clerk at the store said I needed to show my notary certificate before they could order a notary seal/stamp for me. What should I do?

Some office supply sources may try to require the notary certificate to purchase the stamp/seal. In Wisconsin, a notary applicant must have a seal/stamp prior to applying for a commission. You may have the store contact our office to verify our procedures if there are questions (608) 266 - 8915.

Do I purchase the stamp/seal before or after I receive my commission?

Purchase the stamp/seal before you receive your commission. The seal or stamp may be of any size or shape, but must state the words “Notary Public,” “State of Wisconsin,” and your name which must include your legal last name. You may use initials, or a shortened first name if you wish, but you must use your current legal last name in full. A sample of the seal/stamp is required as part of the Notary Public application process.

Where do I purchase a bond?

Check with your local insurance agent to see if they also write notary bonds. If they do not, they may be able to suggest a bond company for you or an internet search under "Notary Bonds in Wisconsin" will provide plenty of alternatives.

How much does a bond cost?

The price runs from $25.00 to about $100.00 for the same coverage. More information about Notary Bonds can be found under resources.

I receive a lot of mail regarding notary services. Is it required that I select one of these options?

No. You may enlist the help of a notary service for the fees they propose or you may easily apply yourself by following the instructions that are on our website.

What if my name changes before my commission expires?

You may continue to use your current signature and notary stamp/seal until the commission expires. If you would like to change your signature and stamp/seal prior to the expiration of the commission, you may do so for no additional fee. However, you would need to purchase a new stamp/seal and complete the Notary Public Address/Name/Seal Change form and send the completed form to our office. The bond and oath will be valid through the expiration date of your current commission.

If the imprint or seal is not legible on the application do I need to complete a new application?

No. You may imprint or stamp the seal on a clean white paper, until you get a clear sample or print, and then attach this paper to the application.

How do I renew my commission?

You will need to complete the Notary Tutorial Exam and obtain the Completion Certificate and the Four Year Notary Public Application. Mail all completed paperwork to DFI with $20 check or money order made out to Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions or WDFI. You can also file and pay online through the file online portal.

When can I renew my four year commission?

You may renew your four year commission within 6 month period prior to the expiration of your most recent commission. However, we recommend that you accurately submit your application at least three weeks prior to the expiration of your previous commission to avoid any lapses in commission appointments. If you renew after the previous commission expires be sure to refrain from notarizing any documents between the expiration date and the date of the new commission.

Does Wisconsin permit remote online notarizations?

Yes, subject to several legal safeguards to help ensure the integrity of the notarial process.  For assistance in understanding and complying with those special requirements, review the DFI’s Guidance for Notaries Seeking to Perform Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals. A list of approved providers is available on this website under remote online notary.

Contact Us

Phone: (608) 266-8915
Mailing Address:
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7847
Madison, WI 53707-7847
Physical Address:
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Division of Corporate and Consumer Services
4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower
Madison, WI 53705