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Notary Public Requirement: Read, Write, and Understand English

TF-English     The qualifications to become a Florida notary are:
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be a permanent resident of the state
  • If you have ever been convicted of a felony, you must have your civil rights restored
  • You must be able to read, write, and understand the English language
  This last qualification can sometimes be overlooked, especially when the diversity of the state of Florida is taken into consideration. It is, however, a REQUIREMENT. This does not mean you cannot perform notarial acts on documents in foreign languages though. It simply means that at a minimum, you must be able to read, write, and understand English. As such, notary materials are only available in the English language. Due to the diverse nature of our state, bilingual notaries are essential in Florida. That being said, there are restrictions to how you can advertise your services in other languages. In many Spanish speaking countries, a “Notario Publico” is an attorney or high level public official who is also a notary public. In the past, some notaries have used this knowledge to falsely advertise their services, implying that they have legal authority. Because of this, direct translations of “notary public” are not allowed in advertisements, in any language. In fact, to avoid future legal issues, Florida law requires notaries to include the following message in both English and the language of the advertisement: “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Florida, and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.” This message must be distinctly and clearly visible on the advertisement. Failure to do so can lead to a suspended license and possible criminal charges.