Notary Public Background Check Certification

National Verification Registry
PO Box 41400
Des Moines, IA 50311
Ph. 877-349-6588


Frequently Asked Questions

Notary Public Questions

Q: I'm a notary signing agent. How do I become background screened and certified?

  1. Enter Your Information into this Secure Web Site and Pay for the Application (15 - 30 minutes)

    Please be accurate. You will NOT PASS if:

    • ANY information you provide is inaccurate or typo'd (i.e. your name, DOB, SSN, and DL number)
    • You have ANY felony convictions, other convictions of a serious nature, or any conviction or judgement related to violence, fraud or similar crimes.
    • You do not provide your full legal name and all other legal names you have used.
    • The address history you provide is not complete and accurate.

  2. Appear Before a Notary Public (Identity Plus Add-on Only!)

    Collect copies of the documents we have requested, sign your Declaration and Authorization, appear before a notary public to have it notarized, and mail the items to us.

  3. Wait for Your Results (3 - 10 days)

    Results are usually available in 3 to 5 business days after receipt of your paperwork, if applicable. Factors that may delay your results include: issues appearing in your reports that require further research, county courthouse delays, any additional forms or verifications needed to access your records. (For example, some states may require a signed authorization form in order to access your Motor Vehicle Report.)

Q: What does the NPBC certification represent?

The NPBC certification is certifying that your criminal background has been checked and that you acknowledge having an understanding of privacy best practices. The check involves a reasonable criminal background investigation that should satisfy title company due diligence requirements. The NPBC certification is NOT a certification of the individual notary nor of future performance, only that a reasonable background check has been recently performed based on the information provided.

Q: How long is the certification good for?

Many companies will require you purchase a new background check every 1 - 2 years. You will need to consult with the companies that require it to determine what their specific needs are.

Q: Will the NPBC certification work with other listing sites?

Yes, the NPBC includes provisions that will allow any approved company to help get you certified or to display your certification. Once you have been certified, participating companies you are listed with will be provided with instructions for displaying your certification on your notary signing agent profile.

Q: Do I have to pay for another membership before I am able to purchase the NPBC?

No, why should you? The purchase of the NPBC is not tied to the purchase of anything else and there are no hidden costs. While there IS a privacy training requirement, there will be free options available to you for meeting it.

Q: I have already had my background checked by my state. Is it really necessary to have it done again?

Great question! The currency and scope of your state background check may impact the necessity and/or scope of what is required for lender and title company compliance. Please check with your clients to determine whether they will recognize your state-based background check. Unfortunately, we are not able to recognize it because we have no idea what has been done, if anything, and many states will not share. Recently, for example, when we asked the California Secretary of State about that nature of their check, this is what they told us: "Our background checks of applicants are highly confidential and the results cannot be shared with anyone. Nor are we prepared to discuss the details or methodology involved." Without clear disclosure and understanding of the methodology used, we are not able to recognize the check; for all we know, they are not really running them.

Q: What types of checks are run?

Checks may include a National Criminal File search, a Driver's Report, a Social Security Trace, County Criminal Searches in every county you have lived or worked in during the last 10 years, Statewide Criminal Searches in every state you have lived or worked in during the past 10 years, Compliance Link searches against OFAC and the FBI Terrorist list, an Alias Names search, a Federal District Search and a known Sex Offender search.

Q: Will the NPBC run my credit report?

No. However, your credit records may be accessed to verify your name and address history. That is considered a "soft hit" and will not affect your credit score.

Q: How much will my background check certification cost?

The price of a standard Level 2 check for most people is $49. Applicants with New York in their address history will be required to pay an additional $96 due to the excessive cost of county record access in New York. To get started, you must complete the simple, secure, on-line application. If you have an Offer Code from an affiliate, you will have the opportunity to enter it during the application process. Please note that if the information you provide does not coincide with what is found in the investigation, you may fail the check and will need to pay for another. This is particularly true of names, aliases/prior names and your address history.

Q: Why should I have to pay for it if they're the ones who are requiring it?

Because it makes the most economic sense. Increasingly, title companies have been paying to run background checks independently of one another in order to satisfy their compliance concerns. In some cases, the cost of those checks on a per-company basis is very significant, leaving them fewer dollars to pay your fees. If, as a group, they are able to off-load all of the fees they are paying independently to you - requiring that you pay for a single, comparable check and then provide proof of that check - they stand to save millions of dollars in addition to reducing their administrative burden. It should follow, then, that they will have more money to pay you with and that you should build the cost of the check into your fee structure and consider it a cost of doing business.

Q: What would cause me to fail the check?

There are many factors that could result in a failed background check: a felony conviction, a qualifying misdemeanor conviction, more than one operating while intoxicated (OWI) conviction, an outstanding warrant, a deferred judgment or other pre-trial diversions (where allowed by law) for serious offenses, substantial discrepancies in the data you provide versus what the investigation reveals, and so on.

Q: If I fail, will I get my application fee back?

No, there are no refunds. The costs to run a reasonable background check can be substantial in some cases. For this reason, if you have ANYTHING in your background that you believe would cause you to fail the check, we recommend you save your money and not have it run.

Q: Does the Notary Public Background Certification check cover my business?

No, your business is not a notary public. The NPBC covers you, the notary. You may, however, link the NPBC logo to your business if you are operating under a business name. When the logo is clicked, it will show your name as the person whose background check has been verified.

Q: Is my information secure?

Yes! The procedure is secure and confidential and all of your information will be kept safe, including the information we gather that is already a matter of public record. All information will be handled in accordance with GLBA Safeguard Rules and the FTC Disposal Rule.


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