West Virginia Laws on Notaries Public

WV Code § 39-4-20 (2015)

(a) An individual qualified under subsection (b) of this section may apply to the Secretary of State for a commission as a notary public. The applicant shall comply with and provide the information required by rules promulgated by the Secretary of State and pay any application fee.

(b) An applicant for a commission as a notary public must:

(1) Be at least eighteen years of age;

(2) Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;

(3) Be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in this state;

(4) Be able to read and write English;

(5) Have a high school diploma or its equivalent; and

(6) Not be disqualified to receive a commission under section twenty-three of this article.

(c) Before issuance of a commission as a notary public, an applicant for the commission shall execute an oath of office and submit it to the Secretary of State.

(d) Before issuance of a commission as a notary public, the applicant for a commission shall submit to the Secretary of State an assurance in the form of: (1) A surety bond or its functional equivalent in the amount of $1,000; or (2) certification that the applicant is covered under a: (A) Professional liability insurance policy; (B) an errors and omission insurance policy; (C) a commercial general liability insurance policy; or (D) their equivalent, in the amount of $1,000. The assurance must be issued by a surety or other entity licensed or authorized to do business in this state. The assurance must cover acts performed during the term of the notary public’s commission and must be in the form prescribed by the Secretary of State. If a notary public violates law with respect to notaries public in this state, the surety or issuing entity is liable under the assurance. The notary public shall give thirty days’ notice to the Secretary of State before canceling any assurance or loss of insurance coverage. The surety or issuing entity shall notify the Secretary of State not later than thirty days after making a payment to a claimant under the assurance. A notary public may perform notarial acts in this state only during the period that a valid assurance is on file with the Secretary of State.

(e) On compliance with this section, the Secretary of State shall issue a commission as a notary public to an applicant for a term of five years.

(f) A commission to act as a notary public authorizes the notary public to perform notarial acts. The commission does not provide the notary public any immunity or benefit conferred by law of this state on public officials or employees.
WV Code § 39-4-21 (2015)

(a) The Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a commission as notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability to act as a notary public, including:

(1) Failure to comply with this article;

(2) A fraudulent, dishonest or deceitful misstatement or omission in the application for a commission as a notary public submitted to the Secretary of State;

(3) A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit;

(4) A finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or notary public in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on the applicant’s or notary public’s fraud, dishonesty or deceit;

(5) Failure by the notary public to discharge any duty required of a notary public, whether by this article, rules promulgated by the Secretary of State, or any federal or state law;

(6) Use of false or misleading advertising or representation by the notary public representing that the notary has a duty, right or privilege that the notary does not have;

(7) Violation by the notary public of a rule of the Secretary of State regarding a notary public;

(8) Denial, refusal to renew, revocation, suspension or conditioning of a notary public commission in another state;

(9) Failure of the notary public to maintain an assurance as provided in subsection (d), section twenty of this article;

(10) Charging more than the maximum fees specified in section thirty of this article; and

(11) Failure to notify the Secretary of State of an address or name change pursuant to subsection (b), section twenty-two of this article.

(b) If the Secretary of State denies, refuses to renew, revokes, suspends or imposes conditions on a commission as a notary public, the applicant or notary public is entitled to timely notice and hearing in accordance with article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.

(c) The authority of the Secretary of State to deny, refuse to renew, suspend, revoke or impose conditions on a commission as a notary public does not prevent a person from seeking and obtaining other criminal or civil remedies provided by law.
WV Code § 39-4-17 (2015)

The official stamp of a notary public must:

(1) Include the notary public’s name, address, jurisdiction, commission expiration date and other information required by the Secretary of State; and

(2) Be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated.


Inside West Virginia Laws on Notaries Public