how to become a notary in tennessee

A notary public is someone who acts as a witness to the identity of a person who needs to get an official document signed. A notary can also:

  • Administer oaths
  • Take depositions, affidavits, and acknowledgments

A Tennessee notary public must be commissioned or licensed in their county of residence, but they have statewide jurisdiction (and they are state officials) so they can notarize within any county in their state.

Ready to become a notary public in Tennessee? First, you’ll need to get Tennessee Notary Public License and Tennessee Notary Bond. Here are the steps you need to take to become a notary in TN:

How to Become a Notary in Tennessee

Step #1: Meet Initial Requirements

  • Must be 18 years old
  • Be a registered voter of the county you wish to be a notary in (or a resident alien of the U.S.) 
  • Never been convicted of a felony
  • Be able to read and write the English language

You cannot become a notary if you:

  • Are a member of the military or Congress
  • If you hold any office of profit or trust under a foreign power, other state, or the United States
  • If you have unpaid judgments to the US, state, or county, or if you owe money to the state or federal treasury

Step #2: Complete  Application

You can receive your application from your County Clerk’s office.


Step #3: Submit Application and Fees

Turn your application and your $12  fee ($7 for the county clerk and $5 for the Tennessee Secretary of State) into your County Clerk’s office. 
You must be elected by the county legislative body (county commission) in the county in which you reside or maintain a principal place of business.
Your county clerk will certify your election, forward it to the Secretary of State, and then your commission is prepared.
The clerk will notify you that your commission has been accepted and you can move on to Step #4.

Step #4: Purchase a  Notary Bond

A Tennessee Notary Bond guarantees you will perform your notary duties according to your appointment. If you fail to perform your duties according to your licensed appointment, someone can make a claim against your bond. 
You can purchase a Tennessee Notary Bond from a surety bond company or insurance agency. 
Tennessee has set the notary bond amount at $10,000.  

You will not need to pay the full bond amount. Instead, you will just pay a small one-time portion.

Most Notary Bonds can be issued for around $50. 

Step #5: Submit Bond

Take your Tennessee Notary Bond to the county clerk. The county clerk will send your documents to the Secretary of State.

Once the Secretary of State approves your documents, the office will issue your Tennessee Notary Commission and return it to the county clerk’s office where you can pick it up.

You can then purchase your notary seal and stamp. You will also need a “well-bound book or notary journal to record every notarization you perform. We love what National Notary has to say about “well-bound books”:

The most effective journals meet the statutory requirement of being “well-bound” if they have numbered pages that are sewn together so they can’t be easily removed or rearranged. These two things help ensure the journal is a chronological record of every act you perform – and it’s easier to see whether it’s been tampered with.

Notaries should also consider purchasing Errors and Omissions Insurance to limit their exposure. 

For more information on how to become a Tennessee Notary Public, view the Tennessee Notary Public FAQ page. 

Tennessee Notary Public Term

Your term of office in Tennessee lasts 4 years. Your term begins on the date that your commission is issued by the Governor. At the end of this period, you may apply for a renewal.

Your renewal application must be submitted within 2 months before the expiration date. 

It is a Class C misdemeanor for you to act in an official capacity after your expiration has expired.


If you have additional questions, you can view the Tennessee Secretary of State’s FAQ page on notaries. Questions include:

  • What are the duties and responsibilities of a notary?
  • Does the “well-bound book” need to be a specific format?
  • What fee can I charge?
  • How do I handle a complaint about a notary?
  • And more…

Related Links:

What is a Notary Bond?

What is a Notary Public?

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