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How to become a Texas Notary

Abbreviation: Tex., TX | 28th State | Statehood: December 29, 1845 |
How to become a notary in Texas:
To become a Texas notary public, a notary applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
  1. Be at least 18 years of age
  2. Be a resident of the State of Texas
  3. Not have been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude that has become final, which has not been set aside, or for which no pardon or certificate of restoration of citizenship rights has been granted

Qualifications:
In order to become a Texas notary and receive a Texas notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
  1. Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section.
  2. Properly complete and submit an application for appointment form to the Secretary of State, Notary Public Unit.
  3. Provide a $10,000 surety bond, if required (state employees are exempt from the bond requirement).
  4. Pay the $21 filing fee.
  5. Take an oath of office before a notary public.
  6. Provide an e-mail address on the application to receive an electronic return of the notary commission.
  7.  

    Download the application for appointment at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/faqs2300.shtml or click here to download Form 2301 or Apply at http://www.texasnotary.com/how-to-become-a-texas-notary/

     

    Apply Online to Become a Texas Notary

Can a non-resident become a notary in Texas?
Yes. A non-resident licensed Texas escrow officer who resides in a state adjacent to Texas can become a Texas notary public if the person (1) meets the qualifications as a Texas resident, setting aside the residency; (2) is a resident of one of the following adjacent states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico; and (3) completes Form 2301-E. If the non-resident notary public is no longer a licensed Texas escrow officer, the notary must voluntarily surrender his or her notary public commission to the Secretary of State.

 

Form 2301-E can be found here.

Is a Texas notary bond required to become a notary in Texas?
Yes. A Texas notary bond in the amount of $10,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. Texas notaries employed by state agencies are not required to obtain surety bonds; however, they must obtain verification of employment from the State Office of Risk Management prior to submitting their notary applications. If the notary public ceases to be employed by a state agency, the no-bond notary must either surrender his or her notary public commission to the Secretary of State, or obtain a surety bond for the remainder of the commission term. To purchase a Texas notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.texasnotary.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.

Do I need a Texas notary errors & omissions insurance?
Optional. Errors and Omission insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. The American Association of Notaries encourages Texas notaries to purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their protection against liability. For additional information, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.texasnotary.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.

How much does it cost to become a notary in Texas?
To become a notary public in Texas, a notary applicant’s required expenses include the following: (1) a $21 filing fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a notary stamp; (3) a journal; and (4) the notary surety bond, if required.

How long is the term of a notary public commission in Texas?
The term of office of a Texas notary public is for four years, commencing on the date specified in the commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when the notary public ceases to reside in Texas or an adjacent state; or (5) if a non-resident notary is no longer a licensed Texas escrow officer.

Where can I perform notarial acts in Texas?
A Texas notary has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county at any location in Texas. Likewise, a Texas notary public may not perform notarial acts outside this state.

Who appoints Texas notaries public?
The Texas Secretary of State appoints Texas notaries public.

 

To contact the Texas Secretary of State:

 

Secretary of State
Notary Public Unit
PO Box 13375
Austin, Texas 78711-3375
512-463-5705
http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/notary-public.shtml

How to renew your Texas notary commission:
A Texas notary public may file an application for reappointment with the Secretary of State no earlier than 90 days prior to the expiration date of the notary’s term. To renew a notary commission: (1) complete Form 2301 available from the Secretary of State; (2) obtain a $10,000 surety bond; and (3) pay the filing fee of $21. Download Form 2301 at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/statforms.shtml - NPUF or click here.

Are there any exams or notary course requirements to become or renew your Texas notary commission?
No. State law does not mandate a course of study or examination to become a notary public in Texas.

Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Texas?
Yes. Texas law requires all notaries public to use a rubber-inked stamp or embosser to authenticate all notarial acts. Section 406.013 of the Texas Government Code provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all notary seals.

 

Dimensions: May beof circular form, not more than two inches in diameter, or of rectangular form, not more than one inch in width and 2 ½ inches in length with a serrated or milled edge border.

 

Required Elements: The Texas seal of office must contain the following elements:

  • The words "Notary Public"
  • The words "State of Texas" around a star of five points
  • The notary public's name
  • The notary’s identifying number
  • The date the notary public’s commission expires
  •  

    Texas notaries who were commissioned or recommissioned on or after January 1, 2016, must have their notary’s identifying number issued by the Secretary of State on their seal of office. A “no bond” notary public (state employee) must also include in his or her notary seal the words “notary is without bond.”

    Is a notary journal required in Texas?
    Yes. Section 406.14 of the Texas Government Code requires all Texas notaries to keep a notary record book of all notarial acts performed as a notary public. Texas notaries may maintain a notary record book electronically on a computer or other storage device. A notary public is required to keep, in a safe and secure manner, copies of the records of notarizations performed for the length of: (1) the term of the commission in which the notarization occurred; or (2) three years following the date of notarization. For Texas notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.texasnotary.com or call (800) 721-2663 or click here.

    How much can a Texas notary charge for performing notarial acts?
    Texas notary fees are set by statute (§406.024). The maximum allowable fees that a Texas notary public or their employer may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $6.00 (for the first signature and $1 for each additional signature)
  • Oaths or affirmations - $6.00
  • For a certificate under seal not otherwise provided for - $6.00
  • Copy certification - $6.00
  • For swearing a witness to a deposition - $6
  • For taking the deposition of a witness - $0.50 for each 100 words
  • Protest - $4
  •  

    Note: “A notary public shall keep posted at all times in a conspicuous place in the respective offices a complete list of fees the notary may charge by law,” (GC §603.008). Furthermore, “an officer who by law may charge a fee for a service shall keep a fee book and shall enter in the book all fees charged for services rendered,” (GC §603.006).

    What notarial acts can a Texas notary public perform?
    A Texas notary public is authorized to perform five notarial acts:
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Administer oaths or affirmations
  • Protest instruments
  • Take depositions
  • Certify copies of documents not recordable in the public records
  • Can I perform electronic notarizations in Texas?
    Yes. Texas notaries are allowed to perform electronic notarizations in compliance with the provisions of the Texas Notary Public Act and the Texas Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. Section 406.026 of the Texas Government Code states that if a signature is required to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirements may be satisfied if the electronic signature of the notary authorized to perform that act, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature required to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath. Currently, Texas state law mandates that the principal signer of a document must personally appear before the electronic notary public physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials to each other without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or facsimile machines during the entire electronic notarization.

     

    Note: Effective July 1, 2018, the state of Texas enacted the “Online Notary Public” in 2017, authorizing online notaries public to perform online notarizations. Sections 406.103 and 406.104, Subchapter C of the Texas Government Code authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt rules to implement the new law, including rules to facilitate online notarizations, develop and maintain standards for online notarization, standards for credential analysis, and identity proofing.

    How do I change my address?
    A Texas notary public is required to notify the Secretary of State of a change of the notary's address not later than the 10th day after the date on which the change is made. Such change can be updated: (1) through the Secretary of State’s address online; or (2) by downloading and mailing the Notary Public Change of Address form to the Secretary of State's office.

    How do I change my name on my notary commission in Texas?
    Optional. A Texas notary public whose name is legally changed during the term of the notary’s commission may continue to act under his or her original commission until the expiration or termination of such commission. The notary also has the option of changing the name on his or her notary public commission. This entails: (1) filling out an Application for Change of Name as a Texas Notary Public form from the Secretary of State; (2) obtaining a rider or endorsement from the insurance agency or surety showing the new name change; and (3) submitting a $20 filing fee. Click here to download the Application for Change of Name as a Texas Notary Public form.

    Death/Resignation/Removal:
    A Texas notary public, or his or her representative, is required to send a signed letter to the Secretary of State’s office if the notary: (1) no longer maintains residence in Texas during the term of the notary’s commission; (2) no longer maintains employment in Texas; (3) no longer has a regular place of work or business in Texas; (4) no longer wishes to hold the office of notary public; (5) is deceased; and (6) is duty-bound to resign by court order or the Secretary of State’s revocation process. A notary public, whose commission has been revoked, must deposit his or her notary record books with the county clerk of the county in which the notary public resided. The notary’s seal must be immediately destroyed.

    Prohibited Notarial Acts:
    These activities by a Texas notary public provide a basis for administrative disciplinary action:
  • Preparing, drafting, selecting, or giving advice concerning legal documents
  • Performing acts which constitute the practice of law
  • Using the phrase "notario" or "notario publico" to advertise notary services
  • Soliciting or accepting compensation for preparing documents for or otherwise representing the interest of another in a judicial or administrative proceeding, including a proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, United States citizenship, or related matters
  • Giving legal advice and accepting fees for legal advice
  • Charging more than the fee prescribed by law for notarial services
  • Notarizing a document without the signer being in the notary's presence at the time of the notarization
  • Notarizing his or her own signature
  • Issuing identification cards
  • Signing a notarial certificate under any other name than the one under which the notary was commissioned
  • Certifying copies of documents recordable in the public records
  • Recording in the notary’s record book the identification number that was used to identify the signer of the document that the notary notarized
  • Taking an acknowledgment or administering an oath or affirmation over the telephone
  • Notarizing an instrument if he or she is a party to the instrument or financially or beneficially interested in the transaction
  • Changing or altering a notarized document without the document signer
  • Determining which notarial certificate to attach to documents that do not contain one
  • Filling out Form I-9 on the behalf of an employer
  • Performing a notarial act on a military base that is federal enclave or an Indian reservation
  • Making a false statement knowingly on his or her notary public application
  • Performing a notarial act with an incorrect notary seal
  • Advertising as an immigration specialist
  • Affixing a notary signature and notary seal to an incomplete notarial certificate
  • Performing a notarial act without properly identifying the individual whose signature is being notarized
  • Refusing to promptly respond to a request for public information from his or her journal
  • Bypassing the notary record book requirements
  • Executing any notarial certificate as a notary public containing a statement known to the notary public to be false
  • Performing a notarial act if the notary has reasonable grounds to believe that the signer is acting under coercion or undue influence
  • Performing a notarial act if the notary has reasonable grounds to believe that the document in connection with the notarial act requested may be used for an unlawful or improper purpose
  • Performing a notarial act if the notary has reasonable grounds to believe the signing party does not have the capacity to understand the contents of the document
  • Performing a notarial act that the notary is not familiar with the type of the notarization requested
  • Providing notarial services that interfere with the notary’s execution of the notary’s duties if the notary is employed by a governmental body
  • Refusing a request for notarial services on the basis of the sex, age, religion, race, ethnicity, or national origin of the requesting party
  • Refusing a request for notarial services unless the notary has given careful deliberation
  • Failing to fully and faithfully discharge any of the duties responsibilities required of a notary public
  • Failing to utilize a correct notary seal, as specified by law
  • Failing to administer an oath or affirmation as required by law
  • Official Notarial Misconduct:
    Texas notaries public, who commit official malfeasance, may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action for any of the following unlawful activities:

     

    A false statement in a notary public application is cause for denial or revocation of a notary commission. A false statement made knowingly could be a criminal offense under Section 37.10, Texas Penal Code.

     

    Sec. 406.017. REPRESENTATION AS ATTORNEY A notary public, who is not an attorney, and conducts unlawful activities, such as: (1) performing acts which constitute the practice of law; (2) using the phrase "notario" or "notario publico" to advertise notary services; (3) soliciting or accepting compensation for preparing legal documents; or (4) soliciting or accepting compensation for representing the interest of another in a judicial or administrative proceeding, including a proceeding relating to immigration to the United States, United States citizenship, or related matters, may be convicted for the following offenses.

     

    A violation of Sec. 406.017 includes: (1) an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor; (2) an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted under this section; (3) failure to comply with this section is, in addition to a violation of any other applicable law of this state, a deceptive trade practice actionable under Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code.

    Texas Notary Laws and Regulations:
    Texas Government Code, Title 4, Chapter 406, “Notary Public”
    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.406.htm#A

     

    Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, Title 6, Chapter 121, “Acknowledgments and Proofs of Written Instruments”
    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CP/htm/CP.121.htm

     

    Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Part 4, Chapter 87, “Notary Public”
    http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=1&pt=4&ch=87

     

    Texas Administrative Code, Title 28, Part 4, Chapter 252, subchapter E, “Notaries Without Bond”
    http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=28&pt=4&ch=252

    Texas Notarial Certificates:
    Click here to view Texas’ notarial certificates.

    Revised: December 2017

    Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.

    Texas Notary Bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). American Association of Notaries, is owned by Kal Tabbara, licensed insurance agent in Texas.