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REGISTERING AS A NOTARY PUBLIC

For information on becoming a notary public, please contact the California Secretary of State at (916) 653-3595 or visit their website at www.sos.ca.gov/notary.

Pursuant to Government Code Section 8213(a), all notary public applicants must file the official bond and oath of office with the County Clerk in the county which the applicant maintains their principal place of business no later than 30 days after the beginning term prescribed in the commission. Documents mailed to the County Clerk must be sent via certified mail and must be received by the County Clerk at least two weeks prior to the expiration of the oath of office; postmarked dates are not valid and delivery times may vary.  The 30-day period cannot be extended for any reason; any documents not received by the County Clerk within the 30 days will be returned to you and must be re-filed with the Secretary of State.

To file a Notary Public application in person, click here for office locations and availability.  Please bring the following documents:

  1. Valid government-issued identification such as a driver's license or passport.
  2. Original commission certificate.
  3. Two Notary Oath of Office forms, unsigned.
  4. The ORIGINAL bond in the amount of $15,000.00. The name on the bond must match your State commission.
  5. Payment for the fees, payable by cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card (with additional $2.50 surcharge for card payment):
    • $42.00 Filing Fee
    • $14.00 Recording Fee for the first page
    • $3.00 Recording Fee for each additional page after the first page
    • $2.00 Copy Fee for the first page and $0.05 for each additional page
    • $1.00 Certification Fee for each copy page


To file a Notary Public application by mail, you must first appear before a commissioned and registered notary in San Diego County to give your oath.  Immediately after taking your oath, please send the following by certified mail:

  1. A letter of your request that includes your phone number where you may be reached during business hours.
  2. A photocopy of your Notary Commission.
  3. Two Notary Oath of Office forms completed in front of a Current Notary Public signed with your Notary Signature.
  4. The ORIGINAL bond in the amount of $15,000.00 signed with your Notary Signature. The name on the bond must match your State Commission.
  5. Fees may vary depending upon the pages required for recording your Notary Bond. It is our suggestion that you print "not to exceed $70.00" in the memo section of the check. We will calculate the costs and indicate the correct amount on your check. If you would like a receipt or copies mailed back to you, please include a self-addressed envelope with your request.
  6. Checks should be made payable to: "San Diego Recorder/County Clerk"

    Please mail your documents and payment to:
    San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
    P.O. Box 121750
    San Diego, CA 92112-1750


The County Clerk's Office will examine the documents, file, and record the bond. It may take approximately 4 to 6 weeks for the original bond to be returned to you.

Notary acts may commence once the documents have been filed and recorded with the San Diego County Clerk's Office and the commission date has become effective.


SURRENDERING NOTARY JOURNALS

Pursuant to Government Code Section 8209, if a notary public resigns, is disqualified, removed from office, or allows his or her appointment to expire without obtaining reappointment within 30 days, all notarial records and papers (including notary journals) must be delivered to the County Clerk where the notary public's current official oath of office is on file within 30 days of the commission expiration.  If the notary public willfully fails or refuses to deliver all notarial records and papers to the County Clerk within the 30 days, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be personally liable for damages to any person injured by that action or inaction.  In the case of the death of a notary public, the personal representative of the deceased shall promptly notify the Secretary of State of the death of the notary public and shall deliver all notarial records and papers of the deceased to the County Clerk.  

Notary publics may deliver their notary journals (and other notarial records and papers) in person to any one of our office locations Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm (excluding holidays), or mail the journals to the following address:

  • San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
    P.O. Box 121750
    San Diego, CA 92112-1750

When surrendering notary journals by mail, include a completed Notary Journal Return Receipt with the mailing and retain a copy of the receipt for your personal records.  Please ensure the inside cover of the notary journal(s) is completed and includes all required information: the notary public’s name, address, phone number, commission number, and commission expiration date.  The County Clerk’s Office strongly recommends sending notary journals via certified mail with tracking to ensure receipt.

Notary publics are responsible for the destruction or defacement of their own seals and stamps upon expiration, resignation, or revocation of their commission; this responsibility falls onto the notary public’s personal representative in the event of their death.


SIGNATURE AUTHENTICATION – NOTARY PUBLIC

Notary authentications are needed to verify that the notary has filed a bond in the county where they conduct business and has a current commission at the time of the notarization of the document. Notary authentications are most often used to verify the signatures of notaries on various documents that are leaving the country and are required before requesting an Apostille from the Secretary of State (visit the Secretary of State’s “Apostille Frequently Asked Questions” website for more information).

The County Clerk’s Office certifies the authenticity of the signature of the notary who signed the document, and, when appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears. The certification does not certify the contents of the document.

To request the signature authentication of a Notary Public in person at any of our locations, you must bring the original notarized acknowledgment/jurat containing the notary public’s signature and seal and payment. You may also request signature authentications by mail by sending a letter of your request that includes your phone number, the entire notarized document, and check payment to the San Diego County Clerk. Our mailing address is:

  • San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
    P.O. Box 121750
    San Diego, CA 92112-1750

The fee for a signature authentication is $12.00; in-person transactions are payable by cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card (with additional $2.50 surcharge for card payment), while mailed requests must be paid by check made payable to “San Diego Recorder/County Clerk”.


SIGNATURE AUTHENTICATION – PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER

The County Clerk’s Office authenticates the signature of the County Public Health Officer/Registrar of Vital Records on birth and death certificates to allow customers to submit the certificate directly to the Secretary of State for an Apostille. Public Health Officer signature authentications can also be applied to the “Application for Disposition of Human Remains” and the “Certificate of No Communicable Disease."

The County Public Health Officer’s signature appears on the birth and death certificates that are issued by the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). Prior to requesting an Apostille, customers may either request a signature authentication on the certificate issued by HHSA, or, if the certificate is of a birth or death record and is on file with the Recorder/County Clerk, purchase the certificate from the Recorder/County Clerk (visit https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/Pages/birthdeath-certificates.aspx for more information).  For more information regarding Apostilles, please visit the Secretary of State’s “Apostille Frequently Asked Questions” website.

To request the signature authentication of the County Public Health Officer in person at any of our locations, you must bring the original document that contains the County Public Health Officer/Registrar of Vital Records’ signature and payment. You may also request signature authentications by mail by sending a letter of your request that includes your phone number, the original document that contains the County Public Health Officer/Registrar of Vital Records’ signature, and check payment to the San Diego County Clerk. Our mailing address is:

  • San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
    P.O. Box 121750
    San Diego, CA 92112-1750

The fee for a signature authentication is $12.00; in-person transactions are payable by cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card (with additional $2.50 surcharge for card payment), while mailed requests must be paid by check made payable to "San Diego Recorder/County Clerk".

For questions regarding registering as a notary public, surrendering notary journals, or signature authentications, please e-mail us at arcc.fgg@sdcounty.ca.gov or contact us at (619) 237-0502 and press "0".  Se habla Español