When a person takes on the role of a notary, their job is to be an impartial witness and prevent fraud during the signing of important documents. When a document needs to be notarized, the notary should ask to see identification and then provide an official stamp on the document.
A notary is not acting as a witness to the facts of a document. They are witnessing the signing of the document and making sure that the person signing is the right person.
A notary commission is good for 5 years and then has to be renewed.
In Minnesota, a person who wants to be a notary, also called a “notary public,” has to be at least 18 years old and has to be a Minnesota resident. A notary does not have to be a US citizen, but must be in the country legally.
If they meet these requirements, they submit an application and pay an application fee. Minnesota does not require any special classes or training but classes are available for anyone who wants to take them. Once the Office of the Secretary of State accepts the application, the person is a notary. The notary has to buy their own official stamp and anything else they may need.
A notary in the United States is NOT the same as a “notario” in many Hispanic countries. “Notarios Públicos” in Hispanic countries are trained, legal professionals that often give legal advice and draft legal documents. A notary or notary public in the United States can only act as the witness to a signature and usually doesn’t have formal legal training.
Anyone claiming to be a “notario público” in the United States CANNOT help you with your legal problem, such as immigration or family matters.
It is against the law for “notarios” or even lawyers who are not licensed in the United States to provide immigration advice. Even just filling out forms should only be done by a lawyer or accredited representative that is licensed in the United States.