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Secretary of the Commonwealth - Daniel G. LeBlanc


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Frequently Asked Questions En espanol


Authentications

What documents CANNOT be notarized?

Any documents from Vital Records (birth or death certificates, marriage or divorce decrees), documents from a court, documents from the State Corporation Commission or Federal government documents. Such documents require an ink signature and date by the Registrar or Deputy Registrar of Vital Records or an ink signature and date by the Clerk of the Court or a signature by the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission. Federal documents can be copied and notarized by a Virginia notary as a true copy of the original document (such as copies of a passport, or an Immigration search report).

What is the cost of Authentication of a document?

$10.00 per document.

What do I need to send to you in addition to the document to be authenticated?

  1. A cover letter with your name, address, phone number and the country for which the document is to be prepared.
  2. A personal or corporate check for $10.00 per document payable to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  3. A self-addressed mailer with postage or prepaid airbill for returning the documents to you.

How long does this process take?

Three to five working days. We do not offer an expedited service.

Is court certification of the notary required?

This is generally something required by the country itself; however, it is not required by our office.

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Corporations

Where can I find UCC filings and other corporation information?

This information is NOT handled through the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office in Virginia. ALL corporation information is handled by a separate entity, the State Corporation Commission

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Clemency

What is clemency?

There are two types of clemency: Restoration of Civil Rights and Pardons.

What is the difference between a restoration of rights and a pardon?

A restoration of rights restores the rights which are lost upon a felony conviction. A pardon is an act of forgiveness and is granted only in exceptional cases. If you have been convicted of a felony you must have your rights restored before the Governor will consider a petition for a pardon.

What rights are restored?

A restoration of rights restores the rights to vote, to run for and hold public office, to serve on juries and to serve as a Notary Public. It does not include the right to possess or transport any firearm or to carry a concealed weapon.

How can I have my firearm rights restored?

If the Governor restores your civil rights, you may petition the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which you reside for a permit to possess or carry a firearm. The court may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, grant such a petition and issue a permit.

Who may grant clemency?

The power of granting executive clemency is vested in the Governor, and both the Constitution of Virginia and the Code of Virginia give the Governor discretion in exercising this power. This discretionary power allows each Governor to establish his own guidelines and policies regarding the eligibility of those seeking clemency.

How do I know if I have lost my civil rights?

You have lost your civil rights if you have ever been convicted of a felony, in any Virginia court; any court of any other state or the District of Columbia; any Federal court; or any court of any associated Commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

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Extraditions

What is extradition?

Extradition is the legal surrender of an alleged criminal, apprehended in one jurisdiction, to another state, country, or other governmental unit for trial. Two distinct processes are used to achieve this end: the first, when Virginia is the state of asylum for the fugitive; the second, when Virginia is the state from which the fugitive fled and the Commonwealth is seeking his or her return.

What are extraditable offenses?

The accused can be extradited when he or she is charged with any punishable offense in the demanding state. The words "treason, felony and other crime" in the Constitution and federal statutes have been held to include "every offense...known to the laws of the state from which the accused has fled, including misdemeanors."

What is a fugitive warrant?

A fugitive warrant is the arrest warrant issued by a judge or magistrate of the asylum state, prior to receipt of the Governor's warrant, authorizing the arrest and detention of the fugitive pending receipt of the Governor's warrant.

What is a Governor's warrant?

The Governor's warrant or rendition warrant is the warrant issued by the Governor of the asylum state for the arrest and detention of the accused until the agent of the demanding state arrives to return the accused to the demanding state.

What is a requisition warrant?

The requisition warrant is the formal request made by the Governor of the demanding state on the Governor of the asylum state for extradition of the accused, and on which the Governor's warrant is based.

What is a waiver of extradition?

A waiver of extradition is signed by the accused, before a judge, after he has been informed of the nature of the charges and his rights to extradition proceedings. He voluntarily consents to be transported to the demanding state.

What are the rights of the accused person?

Once the Governor's Warrant has been served, the accused must be taken before the judge and informed of the demand for his surrender and of the crime for which he is charged. The accused is advised of his right to counsel and his right to test the legality of his arrest by applying for a writ of habeas corpus.

What issues are addressed at the habeas hearing?

The hearing on the writ of habeas corpus is limited to addressing four major issues:

  1. That the demand for extradition was pursued according to proper form;
  2. The identity of the fugitive;
  3. Whether the individual being extradited is a fugitive from the demanding state; and
  4. Whether the individual subject to extradition has been properly charged with a crime.

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Gubernatorial Appointments

How can I find out what openings will be available on boards and commissions this year?

Pursuant to Section 2.2-405 of the Code of Virginia, by January 15th of each year the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth prepares a list of all board and commission vacancies scheduled to arise during the year. The list is free to the public and available below:

Term Appointment List (Word, 49 k)

What are the different types of boards?

The three types of boards to which the Governor makes appointments are as follows:

  1. Advisory - A board which provides advice and comment to an executive branch agency. An advisory board, commission or council serves as a formal liaison between the agency and the public to ensure that the agency understands public concerns and that the activities of the agency are communicated to the public.
  2. Policy - A board, commission or council that is specifically charged by statute to promulgate public policies or regulations. It may also be charged by statute with adjudicating violations of those policies or regulations.
  3. Supervisory - A board, commission or council that is responsible for agency operations including approval of requests for appropriations. A supervisory board appoints the agency director and ensures that the agency director complies with all board and statutory directives. The agency director serves at the pleasure of the board.

How often do boards meet?

Unless otherwise specified by law most boards and commissions meet quarterly each year. However, some boards may meet more frequently due to the responsibilities and functions of the board.

Are members of boards paid a stipend?

Unless otherwise specified by law, members of boards and commissions are not paid a stipend but receive reimbursement for their expenses.

How can I find out more information on a specific board?

The Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth details the purpose, powers and duties of each board and also lists each board's membership. One may also call the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and ask to speak to someone on the Appointments Staff.

Read more about the Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

How do I apply for a board appointment by the Governor?

Individuals interested in applying for an appointment by the Governor should:

  • fill out the Appointments application
  • send an email or letter indicating their interest in a particular board and
  • send their resume for the Governor's review

to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at the following address:

Secretary of the Commonwealth
Appointments Division
Post Office Box 2454
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2454

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Lobbyist

How may I register as a lobbyist?

One may register as a lobbyist by completing a lobbyist registration form provided by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and paying the registration fee.

Lobbyist's Registration Form (PDF, 89 k)

For online registration, see the Lobbyist page.

What constitutes lobbying?

Lobbying is influencing or attempting to influence executive or legislative action through oral or written communication with an executive or legislative official and/or the solicitation of others to influence an executive or legislative official.

When are lobbyist registrations due?

An individual must register with the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to engaging in lobbying. One who engages in lobbying entirely outside the capital city must register within fifteen days of engaging in lobbying.

Are lobbyist registrations due annually?

Yes. All lobbyist registration are required annually and expire April 30.

What is the fee for registering as a lobbyist?

The fee for registering as a lobbyist is $50 per principal.

Do I have to register for each principal separately?

Yes. You must register for each principal on whose behalf you will be lobbying.

How may I terminate a lobbyist registration?

One may terminate a lobbyist registration by filing a lobbyist disclosure report including information through the last day of lobbying activity.

When are the lobbyist disclosure forms due?

Lobbyist disclosure forms must be filed with the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth by July 1.

For what period must I report for on my disclosure form?

The period for which all lobbyist must report is the twelve-month period beginning May 1 and ending April 30.

Where may I pick up a lobbyist registration and disclosure form?

Both forms are located on this Web site or you may pick up a lobbyist registration and disclosure form from the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth located at 1111 East Broad Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, Virginia.

Lobbyist's Registration Form (PDF, 89 k)

Lobbyist Disclosure Statement (PDF, 121 k)

Disclosure Statement Instructions (PDF, 174 k)

For online registration or online submittal of Disclosure Statements, see the Lobbyist page.

To what address do I send my registration and disclosure forms?

Please send all registration and disclosure forms to:

Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Lobbyist Specialist
1111 East Broad Street, 4th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

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Notary

What is the procedure for becoming a notary public?

Anyone wishing to become a notary public for the Commonwealth of Virginia must submit a completed application for appointment as notary to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth along with a fee of $35.00 made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. The applicant should receive notice that their application has been approved within two to four weeks of receipt. The notary then has sixty days to present themselves to the court of their choosing to take their oath of office and pick up their commission certificate. At that time, the clerk of court will require an additional fee of $10.00 which should be made payable to the court. A commission as notary is good for four years.

How can I obtain an application for appointment?

Applications for appointment may be obtained on this website, at your local circuit court, or by calling our office.

Download the Notary Application (PDF, 59 k)

What is the process for renewing a notary commission?

The process for renewing a commission is the same as applying for an original commission.

How can applicant go about completing part four (the recommendation) of the application?

This section of the application must be completed by a Judge, Clerk or Deputy Clerk of a Virginia Court, a Commonwealth's Attorney or any of his assistants, the Attorney General or any of his assistants or a member of the General Assembly. If the applicant does not know any of these individuals, they may simply present themselves to any court and the clerk or deputy clerk will complete the section for them. The purpose of the recommendation is to ensure that the applicant is the person they claim to be.

How would someone go about contacting a notary who may have notarized documents for them in the past?

Anyone may request the address and telephone number of a notary by submitting a letter of request stating the name of the notary and the reason for request to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Will the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth provide formal verifications of notaries?

Yes. Our office will provide a formal letter stating both the notary's commission date and expiration date. Verification can be made on all active and expired commissions dating back to 1998.

What is the procedure for handling a complaint lodged against a notary public?

Anyone who wishes to make a formal complaint against a notary public for incorrectly performing a notorial act must submit in writing a brief description detailing the complaint and a copy of the notarized document in question. Once the complaint is received the notary department will determine if a violation has been committed. If the complaint is deemed valid, the notary will receive a letter advising them that an investigation has been initiated. The Notary Specialist will schedule an informal hearing where the both parties will be given the opportunity to explain their positions. If either party is unable to attend, a written account will be accepted and read at the hearing. The Secretary of the Commonwealth then has ninty days to render a decision of which the notary will receive written notice. A copy will be sent to the complainant upon request.

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Report of the Secretary

What information is contained in the Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth?

Included in the Report are the Commonwealth's executive, legislative, and judicial officials, gubernatorial appointees to boards and commissions, local government officials, Virginia's Congressional Delegation, and general information on the Commonwealth.

When is the Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth available?

Each year the Report (aka the Blue Book) is made available on the first day of the Regular Session of the General Assembly (second Wednesday in January). This report is currently available in PDF format, which anyone may download and print.

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Seals of the Commonwealth

Who can use the seals of the Commonwealth of Virginia?

Section 7.1-31.1 of the Code of Virginia provides that the seals of the Commonwealth are deemed the property of the Commonwealth; and no persons shall exhibit, display, or in any manner utilize the seals or any facsimile or representation of the seals of the Commonwealth for nongovernmental purposes unless such use is specifically authorized.

If my company would like to use the seal on its products, for what purpose may I use it?

Pursuant to Section 2.2-122 of the Code of Virginia, the seals of the Commonwealth may be authorized for commercial purposes upon a finding that such use promotes an appropriate image of the Commonwealth, its heritage and its history, and that such use is carried out in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth. An individual shall be deemed qualified to protect and promote the image of the Commonwealth if it holds licenses to produce products associated with museums and sites of major historical importance in the Commonwealth.

Who approves the commercial use of the seals of the Commonwealth?

The Secretary of the Commonwealth determines the appropriateness of any contract entered into for the commercial use of the seals of the Commonwealth, the product intended to be sold, any marketing activities undertaken to promote the sale of the product, and the pricing structure of the product.

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Service of Process

What process should I use to have service on the Secretary of the Commonwealth?

  1. An affidavit may be obtained from any court in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The affidavit and any supporting documents shall be filed with the court where the case will be heard.
  2. Send the original and one copy per defendant of the affidavit along with the appropriate number of copies for any supporting documents to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

What do I need to send to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office?

  • 2 Affidavits (1 original and I copy)
  • 1 Copy of papers being served
  • 1 envelope addressed to the person/business being served, returnable to the plaintiff
  • 1 certified mail card (green) also addressed to the person/business being served, returnable to the plaintiff
  • A check or money order for $28.00 per person/business being served - if it is a couple, two separate sets of papers.

What is your fee?

Our fee is $28.00 per defendant being served.

What is your address?

Our address is:

Secretary of the Commonwealth
ATTN: Service of Process
Post Office Box 2452
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2452

or

1111 East Broad Street, 4th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219

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State Government Organization Chart

What information does the Organizational Chart include?

This publication illustrates the overall organization of state government as of July 1 of each calendar year, including the reporting relationships of the agencies and entities within the three separate branches of government. Independent agencies are listed as well.

How can I receive an Organization Chart?

You can download a copy of the Organizational Chart (for 2002-2003). The form is in .pdf format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. To obtain a free copy of the Reader, visit the Adobe website.

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Conflict of Interest

Who is required to disclose their economic interests?

The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Justices of the Supreme Court, all judges, and all employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia who have been designated by the Secretary of the Commonwealth are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests form.

Non-salaried members of policy, supervisory and advisory boards, commissions and councils in the executive branch of Virginia's government must complete a Financial Disclosure Statement. Members of a few specific executive branch boards are required to file a completed Statement of Economic Interests.

All members of local governing bodies and school boards of any city, county or town with a population greater than 3,500 and all other local officials and employees who are designated by the local governing body are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests form.

Non-salaried members of local boards, commissions and councils may have to file a Financial Disclosure Statement if the local governing body requires them to do so.

Members of the governing body of any authority having the power to issue bonds or expend funds in excess of $10,000 in any fiscal year are required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement unless the governing body of the jurisdiction that appoints the members requires that the members file the Statement of Economic Interests.

Members of local planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals, real estate assessors and all executive officers in any city, county or town with a population greater than 3,500 are required to file a Disclosure of Real Estate Holdings.

Constitutional officers, which are the city or county Treasurer, Sheriff, Commonwealth's Attorney, Clerk of Circuit Court and Commissioner of Revenue, must complete the Statement of Economic Interests form as a condition of taking office and must also file a form annually.

All legislators must file a Statement of Economic Interests form as a condition of taking office and then annually.

All candidates for election to the General Assembly and the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General must file a Statement of Economic Interests form. Candidates for membership on a local governing body or school board of any county, city or town with a population greater than 3,500 must also file a Statement of Economic Interests form.

When are the forms due?

The forms are due by January 15 of each year. All new appointments or new employees designated by the Secretary of the Commonwealth or local governing body must also file a Statement of Economic Interests form at the time of appointment or employment.

How many are filed each year?

Approximately 25,000 forms are distributed and filed each year.

Where are the forms kept and for how long?

All state officers and employees, as well as all judges' forms are retained in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth for five years. All local officials and employee's forms are retained in the local governing body's clerk's office for five years. All legislators' forms are kept in their respective body's clerk's office for five years.

How can I get a copy of someone's Statement of Economic Interests form?

The Statement of Economic Interests, the Financial Disclosure Statement and the Disclosure of Real Estate Holdings are open for public inspection. In order to acquire a copy of a state employee's or a state official's form, you can contact Jonathan Young at 692-2538.

To receive a copy of a local official's form, contact the clerk's office of the locality.

For a copy of a State Senator's Statement of Economic Interests form, contact the Clerk of the Senate at (804) 698-7400; for a copy of a Delegate's Statement of Economic Interests form, contact the Clerk of the House of Delegates at (804) 698-1619.

When filling out the Statement of Economic Interests form, who do I consider my "immediate family"?

Immediate family means spouse, children who are still living at home and are dependents, or any other person living in your home who is dependent upon you and who received from you more than one-half of his or her financial support.

When completing Schedule B of the Statement of Economic Interests form, what do I consider my "personal liabilities"?

Personal liabilities means money owed to a bank or one creditor for over $10,000. This debt includes such things as student loans, and credit cards. This does not include such things that can be taken away for non-payment, such as a car loan, a mortgage on your home. For example, your house or car can be repossessed if you do not pay, however, if you have student loans, your education cannot be taken away from you, and you are personally liable to pay on these loans.

When completing Schedule E of the Statement of Economic Interests form, what do I consider a "gift"?

All gifts over $50 must be reported. A gift is considered any gratuity, hospitality, entertainment (including meals, transportation, lodging) that was given to you by a business, government or individual other than a relative or close personal friend and for which you neither paid for nor provided services in exchange.

When completing Schedule G of the Statement of Economic Interests form, who do I consider a "close financial associate"?

A close financial associate includes any partner in a business, co-owner of a business or piece of land, or member of your immediate family. This does not include an individual who is receiving retirement benefits from a business or who may be representing a state governmental agency.

What is the penalty for failure to file a Statement of Economic Interests form or wrongly filing the form?

Any person who does not file or who knowingly files the Statement of Economic Interests form inaccurately will be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is punishable by no more than 12 months in jail and a fine of no more that $2,500. A local official who knowingly files the form inaccurately will be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of no more than $500. Any person who knowingly files the form inaccurately may also be dismissed from office or employment.

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Secretary of the Commonwealth - Daniel G. LeBlanc
Copyright 2006


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