Since the onset of the pandemic, getting appointed has been confusing if not inconvenient for many notaries. In order to avoid further confusion, let’s revisit the appointment process in these COVID-19 times.
Education and your notary application
Three hours of notary education is still required. PAN offers online education that fulfills this requirement. In addition, PAN is planning on offering live notary education soon. Check our website at www.notary.org for locations and dates.
Since the new notary law was instituted in 2017, first-time applicants must take the Pearson VUE notary exam. Renewing notaries who have a lapse in their commissions must also take the exam.
PAN members are to send us their completed notary application once they have successfully finished their education. The $42 Department of State fee is included in the PAN membership. Our staff reviews each application to make sure there are no errors before submitting the applications to the State. For those of you who are not members of PAN, you must send your completed notary application and education certificate to the State along with the $42 fee.
Once your notary application, fee, and education certificate have been received and approved by the State, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE to take the notary exam. The email will provide you with the details on how to schedule the exam.
New notary applicants should allow at least four to six weeks for processing after submitting a completed application to the State. If you do not receive the approval email within this time period, contact the Division of Commissions, Legislation and Notaries at 717-787-5280.
Scheduling and paying for the exam
The notary exam will be given at a Pearson VUE computer-based testing facility. When you receive your approval email, you will need to schedule your test by using the Pearson VUE web reservation site at http://www.pearsonvue.com.
The exam fee is $65 and is payable with a credit card, debit card or electronic check payable to Pearson VUE. Personal checks are not accepted. Exam fees are paid online at the end of the exam scheduling process.
Your Notice to Appointee letter
The State began sending Notice to Appointee letters and blank bonds by email several months ago. PAN members do not need to send us their letters or blank bonds. Once notaries are approved by the State, PAN receives notification of appointments. We execute the notary bonds and mail them to members. Non-PAN members must have their bonds executed by a surety (bonding company).
Getting sworn in
Now that the education and application requirements have been met, it’s time to complete the commissioning process by getting sworn into office at the county Recorder of Deeds (in the county of your office of record).
Some of the Recorders’ offices are still closed to the public or have limited open hours. Please call the Recorder’s office to be sure they have your commission information from the State and ask if they are swearing in notaries and the days and times. Don’t forget to ask about the fees they charge for recording bonds and taking the oath of office. Contact the Prothonotary’s office as well to ask them about their available hours and fees for registering signatures.
If your Recorder’s office is closed, you may have a judge or other notary give you the oath of office. Mail in your original executed bond and oath of office, a copy of a valid ID, and a check or money order to your Recorder of Deeds office. Make a copy of your signature form (include a copy of your ID), and mail it to the Prothonotary’s office. Include self-addressed stamped envelopes for these transactions.
The benefits of being a PAN member
In addition to guiding notaries through the application process, PAN’s Customer Service Department is available to answer any of your notary or motor vehicle paperwork questions during your four-year commission as a notary. They can be reached at 800-944-8790, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.