An Illinois notary public holds an important office and must fully understand the functions and responsibilities of that office as set forth by Illinois law. Effective June 13, 2000, under certain conditions, residents of states bordering Illinois may be commissioned as Illinois notaries.
The purpose of notarization is to prevent fraud and forgery. The notary acts as an official and unbiased witness to the identity of a person who comes before the notary for a specific purpose. This places a great deal of responsibility upon the notary.
If a document requires the administration of an oath, the person must personally appear before the notary, be administered the appropriate oath, and sign the document in the notary’s presence.
If the document requires an acknowledgment, the person must appear before the notary and acknowledge the document.
Illinois residents are appointed notaries by the Secretary of State for a term of four years. Out-of-state residents are appointed for a one-year term. An applicant for appointment must:
- be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;
- be a resident of the State of Illinois or employed in the state of Illinois for at least 30 days;
- be at least 18 years of age;
- be able to read and write the English language;
- have not been convicted of a felony; and
- have not had a notary commission revoked during the past 10 years (Sec. 2-102).
An applicant must complete the proper application form provided by the Secretary of State, which includes the oath of office. He or she must also obtain from a bonding or surety company a $5,000 notary bond. The application and bond are then forwarded to the Secretary of State along with the $10.00 filing fee. If the Secretary of State approves the application, a commission will be issued. The commission will be mailed to the County Clerk of the County in which the applicant resides. The appointment is not complete until the commission is recorded with the County Clerk.
Click here to download the Notary Public Application . You may either open the document and fill it out from your computer, or print the application and then fill it out.
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Once the County Clerk's Office receives the commission from the State your signature must be recorded. This signature is what is verified for your notary to be valid along with your commission dates. To record your signature with the County Clerk, you may either come to the Rock Island County Clerk's Office and pay the $5.00 registration fee or you may mail your signature to the Rock Island County Clerk's Office, using the white strip that comes with the letter which is mailed to you when your commission is ready to be picked up. To record your signature by mail, the registration fee is $10.00.
We will accept checks, made payable to the Rock Island County Clerk, for notary public signature registrations.
Every notary public must obtain and use a rubber stamp seal as described and shown in the Illinois Notary Public Handbook which also contains additional guidelines, legal liabilities and requirements.
Notary seals may be purchased at most office supply stores or stamp manufacturers. Consult the yellow pages of your telephone book for “rubber stamps.”
Change of Name or Move to Another County
The law requires a notary public to resign his or her appointment if there is change in name, a move to another county, or a non-resident notary changes employment to another county (Sec.4-101). If the person wishes to continue to be a notary, he or she must apply for appointment under the new name or in the new county of residence or employment. This action is necessary so that county clerks can certify the authority of notaries in their counties.
Things a Notary Should Know:
- A Notary Public is a legal witness for the State they are commissioned in. You are only to verify and witness the signature of any individual, providing they show proper State photo Identification or valid Driver's License.
- You have the legal right to refuse to notarize any signature if proof of proper identification is not provided.
- The content of a document does not fall under responsibilities or liability of a notary public.
- The law does not require that a notary public charge a fee, however the maximum that is allowed is $1.00.