Notary Public

A notary public is a public official whose powers and duties are defined by statute. It is a relatively simple matter to become a notary public, but the office has important responsibilities, limitations, and liability potential. Legal counsel should be consulted whenever specific problems or questions arise concerning any aspect of the office of notary public.

Notary Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of the county, or maintain a principal place of business in the county from which they are elected.

The Application Process

Please be aware that the entire application process can take up to 8 weeks. If it has been over 8 weeks since you filed your application, please call the Notary Department at (901) 222-3043.

A Notary Public Application may be obtained from the Shelby County Clerk or downloaded below. You may mail the completed, notarized application with the $16.00 application fee payable to "Shelby County Clerk" to:
Shelby County Clerk's Office
Notary Division
150 Washington Ave
Memphis TN 38103

You may also file the application in person at either of the locations below:
Downtown Office
150 Washington Ave, Room 200
Memphis TN 38103

East Office
1075 Mullins Station Rd, Room W-103
Memphis TN 38134

After election by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners the Clerk's office forwards notary applications to the Secretary of State's Office. The Secretary of State will assign commission dates and print Notary Certificates for each applicant. Once received, the County Clerk will notify each applicant by mail of their commission date.

Before commencing duties or exercising powers, a notary must post a $10,000 surety bond in the County Clerk's Office. The bond is payable to the State and conditioned upon the faithful performance of the duties of a notary public.

After securing the bond, notaries must make a personal appearance with picture ID to the Downtown Office in Room 200 at 150 Washington Ave or the East Office in Room W-103 at 1075 Mullins Station Rd. At the office, the applicant will take and subscribe to an oath before the County Clerk or a deputy clerk to support the constitutions of the State of Tennessee and the United States, and that the notary will - without favor or partiality - honestly, faithfully, and diligently discharge the duties of a notary public.

Please be aware that the entire application process can take up to 8 weeks. If it has been over 8 weeks since you filed your application, please call the Notary Department at (901) 222-3043

Notary Stamps

State law requires that all notaries use an official seal prescribed and designed by the secretary of state. The notary must purchase the official seal at their own expense. As of July 1, 2004, a notary must use a rubber or other type stamp (not an impression seal), and the stamp must be imprinted in some color, not black or yellow, that is clearly legible and appears black when copied on a non-color copier.

Term of Office

The notary's term is four years, beginning on the date of issuance of the commission by the Secretary of State. Renewals follow the same procedure.

Additional Notary Services

Certifications - The Shelby County Clerk's Office also certifies notaries public for apostilles as well as applications for adoptions, court actions, and various other purposes. There is a $5 fee for notary certifications. The Shelby County Clerk's Office can only provide this service for notaries that were elected in Shelby County.

Change of Address - If you move your residence or principal place of business out of the county from which you were elected (Shelby County) and commissioned to another county in Tennessee, you are required to notify this office and pay a fee of $7.00.

Change of Name - If your last name changes, you should contact the insurance agent that issued your notary bond. They will issue a rider for your bond. You must then submit the rider to this office with official name change documentation (marriage license, divorce decree, etc.) and the original notary certificate along with a fee of $7.00.

Additional Resources