What is a Notary? And where can you go to find a Notary near you? Officially called Notary Publics, Notaries are state-appointed officials who observe the signing of documents.
Their responsibility is to ensure that individuals understand what they are signing and that they were not coerced to sign against their will.
If you need a Notary, there are many places that have certified Notaries to help you. Know that in some instances, a Notary Public may charge for their Notary services.
Here are some places you may be able to find a Notary.
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Places to Find a Notary Near You
You might need to find a Notary if you need certain types of legal documents signed. The most common type of documents that require a notarization are loans, especially mortgages.
Other types of documents that will often require notarization, include:
- Automobile bills of sale
- Marriage certificates
- Business documents and transactions
- Guardianship agreements
- Jurats and Affidavits
- Medical documents
- Powers of attorney
- Wills, deeds, and deeds of trust
For a more complete list of the most commonly notarized documents, check out www.notarize.com.
Before we take a look at the 18 places to find a notary near you, it’s important to remember that notaries are considered officials of the state and are duty-bound to serve the public whenever possible.
What this means in layman terms is that you should not have to be a customer of a business to use a notary.
While business owners and manager may not like the idea of their employees notarizing documents for non-customers, they are not allowed to bar them from doing so. However, as discussed above, expect to pay a small fee if you are a non-customer using a notary’s services.
So, where could you expect to find a notary? As it turns out, in more places than you might think.
1. Attorneys’ Offices
As mentioned above, legal documents like wills and trusts are some of the most commonly notarized items. For this reason, nearly every attorney’s office will have someone on staff who is certified as a notary public.
If you are already the client of an attorney in your area, they will most likely be more than happy to notarize documents for you, even ones that are not related to your attorney-client matters.
If you are already a bank customer, this is probably the simplest choice for notarizations. Just visit your closest local branch and they’ll notarize your documents for free.
You can also check your banks’ hours to see if there are nights that they are open late, or if they open for a few hours on Saturdays.
You may be able to get documents notarized at a bank even if you’re not a customer of the bank.
3. Bail Bonds Offices
In court proceedings, it’s imperative that it can proven that signatures are legitimate and have not been forged. For this reason, it’s vital for bail bonds stores to have a notary public on hand.
Many of them will notarize other documents for a fee on the side.
While you may not be thrilled about visiting a bail bonds office for your notarization, they do offer one perk: late hours. In their line of business, bail bonds stores need to be open 24 hours a day.
So if you need a notarization at an odd time when even most 24-hour mobile notaries are already snug in bed, a bail bonds store can work in a pinch.
4. Car Dealerships
Since automobile bills of sale and car loans often require notarizations, it’s not unusual for car dealerships to have a notary public on hand. They are typically open later than banks and attorneys’ offices and all day on Saturdays as well.
5. Disney World
Yes, you read that right. If you are on vacation and need to take a break from all the “magic” in order to attend to some business, Disney has got you covered. Notary publics are available for a fee from business centers at various Disney’s hotels.
6. Doctors Offices and Pharmacies
Medical records are some of the most commonly notarized documents, so your local doctor or pharmacy may offer notary services. Doctors offices tend to have fairly restrictive hours, but pharmacies, like Walgreens or CVS, are often open till midnight or even 24 hours a day.
7. Embassies or Consulates (When Traveling Abroad)
I wanted to make sure to include this one because international travel can be one of the most difficult and confusing times to find a notary.
8. High Schools
Stop by your son or daughter’s high school office and you may be able to find yourself a notary!
Most hotels offer notary services at the concierge desk or at designated “business centers.”
10. Insurance Agencies
Do you have home, car, or life insurance? Then you probably know a notary! Give your agency a call and see if someone in the office could help you out.
11. City Halls
This is where I personally have always gone to get my documents notarized. I live in a small town, so my local city hall is 2 minutes from my house and is rarely busy.
If you live in a more metropolitan area, this may not be as convenient of a choice for you.
Many public libraries offer free or very inexpensive notary services. Call up your local library to check.
If you’re not sure where to find the closest library to you, use PublicLibraries.com to find one nearby.
13. Court Offices
If you have a court document that requires a notarization, you shouldn’t need to worry about getting it notarized before heading to the court office. Once you are there, you should be able to find an available notary to assist you.
14. Mail Stores
Many mail stores offer a variety of additional services, including notaries. Some popular mail stores that are known to offer notary services, include:
In each case, call before heading out just to make sure that your local branch has a notary on hand.
Interestingly, FedEx stores DO NOT offer notary services.
Another notable exception is the U.S. Postal Service. Since notary publics are commissioned by the government, many are surprised that their local Post Office does not have a notary available.
The reason for is that notary publics are commissioned at the state level while the U.S. Post Office is a federal service.
If you are a college student, you may not have to go far to find a notary. Stop by your school’s office and you’ll likely be able to find someone who can assist you.
16. Police Stations
Sometimes local police stations will notarize documents to the public for a small fee. Call up your local police station to check their policy.
17. Real Estate Agencies
If you have a good relationship with an agent that you’ve worked with in the past, give them a call and see if they, or someone else at their office, is a notary public.
18. Travel Agencies
If you are AAA member, most branches offer notary services as a membership benefit. Find a AAA office near you.
Other travel agencies may provide notary services as well. As we’ve discussed with other business categories, if you are not a member of the travel agency where the notary works, expect to pay a fee for the service.
How Find Notaries Near You That Are Open Late
If it’s important for you to be able to locate a notary during off-hours (like nights or weekends), there are various search engines that can help you find the right notary near you.
Perhaps the easiest way to find 24-hour mobile notaries near you is to simply search for them on Google.
Just type “24 hour mobile notaries near me” in your Google search engine, click enter, and Google will surface a list of notaries in your area. Click “More Places” at the bottom and the list will expand to include more names as well as a map view.
Each business’s hours of operation are shown at the bottom of their card. Depending on what time of the day (or night) you are searching, you are looking for businesses that either say “open” or “open 24 hours,” as indicated by the arrows in the image above.
Select any one of the available options to get more information about the notary. You’ll see a link to visit their website, and if available, you can even check out reviews from others who have used the notary’s services.
2. Notary Cafe
Notary Cafe is a search engine that focuses solely on notaries. Once you’ve entered your zip code, Notary Cafe shows you all the notaries in their network that are near you. In my own test, Notary Cafe surfaced far more names than Google.
Additionally, you can check out each notary’s bio as well as see more information about their capabilities, such as if he or she:
- Offers 24-hour service
- Is certified
- Has a mobile hotspot (in case you will be meeting at a location with no wifi available)
- Can process background checks
- Is insured
You can even text the notary right from Notary Cafe’s website. They have definitely put a lot of thought into building a website that provides a delightful customer experience.
3. Notary Rotary
One of the features that I like most about Notary Rotary is that you can filter your search right from the start based off of your needs. As seen below, they offer a host of different filters to help you find the right notary near you.
Once you’ve filled out your preferences, Notary Rotary provides a list of names ordered by proximity to your current location. You can call the notary up immediately or use Notary Rotary’s “Leave a Message” feature.
4. 123 Notary
Similar to Notary Rotary, 123 Notary allows its users to filter their searches. But 123 Notary has a few exclusive filters, including “Bilingual Assistance,” which could be really helpful for non-English speaking customers.
They also have filters for finding notaries that are familiar and comfortable with visiting hospitals or jails. These are filters that I personally would never have even thought to include, but they are nice additions.
Unfortunately, there is no option to text or message the notary straight from their web interface, but the email addresses of the notaries are provided.
While most people think of Yelp primarily as a place to find reviews on restaurants, their site has much more to offer.
Whether you’re looking for a hotel, repairman, mechanic, or, yes a notary, Yelp is a great place to find people that have made others in your community happy.
Simply type “notaries” in Yelp’s search engine and then plug in your zip code and you’ll be on your way!
As you would with restaurants, you can use Yelp to look at the reviews that others have left for notaries in your area. You want to try to find notaries that have a reputation for communicating well with their customers and punctuality in arriving for appointments.
The Notarization Process
Here’s a bit of information about how to get something notarized.
Sign and Acknowledge
Depending on the document that you are signing, you may or may not be required to sign it in the presence of the notary.
Many are surprised to learn that for a large number of documents this is actually not a requirement. You simply must show the signed document to the notary and affirm that it is your signature and that you were not forced to sign it against your will.
Verify Your Identity
You will be required to verify your identity. Any state-issued ID with a photo like your driver’s license or passport will work fine.
Pay a Fee (When Required)
Whenever you are using a notary late at night or on weekends, expect to pay a fee for the service. Fees typically range from $2-$20 and every state has a maximum fee that notaries are allowed to charge.
NOTE: Mobile notaries are allowed to charge more than the maximum in order to cover their travel-related expenses.
How to Become a Notary Public
Maybe you’re thinking it’d just be easier to become a notary. Well, first know that you can’t notarize your own documents.
However, if you want to become a notary, you could end up with a formidable side hustle business.
To become a notary, first visit your state’s Secretary of State website. You should find directions for becoming a notary on that site.
It will cost you a fee to become a notary, and it will take some time as you wait for your state to process your application and get you registered. For instance, my home state of Minnesota charges $120 to get certified as a notary.
And that doesn’t include the signature stamps the notary has to purchase. But you might find it worth the cost.
*Pro tip: Ask your employer if they’ll cover the cost for you to become a notary. If your company is in need of notary services often, the company might cover the fee for you to become one.
When I worked at a bank many years ago, the bank manager paid for me to become a notary. If only I’d known about side hustles back then!
If there’s one thing I hope you’ve learned from this guide it’s that most of us are actually surrounded by notary publics in our communities. You just have to know where to look.
And now that you know, you should be well-equipped to find one at any time of the day or day of the week.
If you know of more places to find a notary, be sure to reach out to us on Facebook to let us know!