Find a Notary
A Quick Primer on Notaries in Minnesota
Many low-income people often need the services of a notary for various documents. Sometimes locating a notary can be problematic. At other times, there is a cost factor. We thought that we’d provide this quick summary of notaries in Minnesota.
How to Become a Notary
The process for becoming a notary is relatively straight forward. In Minnesota, the requirements include:
- Applicant must be 18 years of age.
- Complete and mail the Notary Application available online.
- Pay a $120 non-refundable fee plus an additional $20 fee to register in the applicant’s county.
- Obtain a notary seal.
- Pay an additional $120 to renew the notary certification every five years.
How Much Can a Notary Charge?
Under Minnesota Statutes Section 357.17, a notary may only charge $1 per document notarized. However notaries may charge additional fees if they are required to travel or are needed to notarize something after normal business hours. These fees vary by notary but can range from $20-25 for travel during normal business hours to $50-60 for travel after normal business hours.
- For more information, visit https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=357.17
How to Locate a Notary
The Secretary of State’s website offers a notary search by name, city, and county. However, this site will not tell you which notaries serve the general public. Each county also offers notary services. These services are offered for the flat fee of $1 per document and are available daily during business hours. If you are in need of a notary after hours or a notary that can travel, other websites allow a notary search by location, hours of availability, and work experience. These notaries charge additional fees depending on the circumstances.
- – Visit the Secretary of State’s website at https://notary.sos.state.mn.us/
- -ANOKA COUNTY: Notary services are available at all Anoka County License Centers. Find a location at http://www.anokacountyonline.com/license-centers.html?category=License-Centers.
- -CARVER COUNTY: Carver County offers notary services at the Chaska Government Center. For directions and to verify a notary is available visit http://www.co.carver.mn.us/county_government/directions.asp#Government%20Center.
- -DAKOTA COUNTY: Notary services are available at all Dakota County Service & License Centers. Find a location at http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/permits/slc/pages/default.aspx.
- -HENNEPIN COUNTY: Hennepin County Service Centers offer notary services. You may call ahead of time to schedule an appointment. Find a Hennepin County Service Center at http://www.hennepin.us/your-government/facilities/service-center-info. Book an appointment online at http://hennepinservicecenters.fullslate.com/.
- -RAMSEY COUNTY: St. Paul Public Libraries offer notary services at every location. Find a St. Paul Public Library location at http://www.sppl.org/locations. Call 651-266-7000 before hand to verify available times.
- -SCOTT COUNTY: Notary services are available at the Scott County Government Center. For location information visit http://www.co.washington.mn.us/index.aspx?NID=470.
- -WASHINGTON COUNTY: Notary services are available at the Washington County Government Center’s customer service desk. For address and contact information visit http://www.co.scott.mn.us/Pages/ContactUs.aspx. Washington County also has a small office in Elko New Market that provides notary services as well. For location information visit http://www.minnesotahelp.info/Public/details.aspx?qlink=ByMpQjv8CEKE053QGcLbZg.
-Other available resources (after hours, travel needed):
The Significance of Notarization
The reason many government and other official documents (such as affidavits, health care directives and Power of Attorney) require notarization is so that the authenticity of the signature can be assured. In other words, if a signature has been notarized, the person or agency receiving the document on which the signature appears can rest assured that the signature is legitimate.
As a result, it’s important that a document not be signed without a notary being present to witness the signing. Otherwise, the notary cannot legitimately attest to the signature being genuine. It doesn’t matter if you swear that the signature is yours; if the notary doesn’t see the actual act of signing, the notary cannot place his/her seal on the document. A notary has an obligation to physically observe the actual signing of a document.
Be Aware of Improper Notaries
In limited instances, some notaries may hold themselves out to perform services which are not legal. Often these people seek to help with immigration matters which actually should be taken care of by lawyers.
Notaries who improperly represented their services are known as “consultants” or “notaries publicos.” These notaries often take advantage of people from their own ethnic communities. To read more about “notario fraud,” see http://www.stopnotariofraud.org/faq.php
If you have additional questions about notaries or this primer, please contact:
Katie Mae Dickinson