How to Become a Notary in Texas
The Application Process to Become a Notary in Texas:
Are you interested in becoming a notary in Texas? Are you interested in generating extra income, starting your own Texas notary business, adding a notary title to your resume, or helping people in your community? The state of Texas appoints notaries to serve the public as unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. Becoming a notary in Texas is a straightforward process, and as long as you fit the eligibility requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Texas notary. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994.
The American Association of Notaries can help you with the Texas notary application process from start to finish, and when your notary application is approved, we can manufacture your notary stamp and notary supplies. We can also support you during your Texas notary commission term so you can fulfill your notary duties accurately. The American Association of Notaries has been helping Texans become notaries since 1994. We can help you, too, become a notary in Texas!
This Texas notary guide will help you understand:
- Who can become a notary in Texas
- How to become a notary in Texas
- The basic duties of a notary in Texas
What are the qualifications to become a notary in Texas?
To become a notary in Texas, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Be a resident of the state of Texas.
- Not have been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude that has become final, has not been set aside, or for which no pardon or certificate of restoration of citizenship rights has been granted.
Note: A crime involving moral turpitude includes class A and B type misdemeanors and felony convictions. “Class C type misdemeanor convictions shall not be considered in determining eligibility” (1 TAC §87.10[d]).
What is the process to become a notary in Texas?
To become a notary in Texas and receive a Texas notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements to become a notary in Texas listed in the previous section.
- Properly complete and submit an Application for Appointment as a Texas Notary Public to the Secretary of State, Notary Public Unit.
- Provide a $10,000 surety bond. (State employees are exempt from the bond requirement.)
- Submit a filing fee of $21.
- Take an oath of office before a notary public upon receipt of the notary public commission.
- Purchase a notary stamp and a notary record book.
E-commissions are now available from the Secretary of State’s website. Notary applicants who provide an email address on their Application for Appointment as a Texas Notary Public will have their notary public commissions emailed to them.
Click here to learn how to become a Texas notary.
How do I renew my notary commission in Texas?
A notary public seeking to renew either a traditional notary public commission or both a traditional and online notary commission may apply for reappointment as a notary public no earlier than ninety days before the expiration of his or her notary commission. Texas notaries must file an application for renewal in the same manner and on the same form as if filing the initial application for appointment as a notary public (GC §406.011a and 1 TAC §87.15a). The renewal application must be received by the Secretary of State no later than the expiration date of the notary public's current commission. The Secretary of State is not bound by prior determinations of eligibility. Click here to renew your Texas notary public commission.
Who appoints notaries in Texas?
The Texas Secretary of State appoints and commissions new and renewing notaries public. “All records concerning the appointment and qualification of the notary public shall be kept in the office of the secretary of state” (GC §406.012). To contact the Texas Secretary of State, use the following information:
Secretary of State
Notary Public Unit
PO Box 13375
Austin, Texas 78711-3375
Can a non-resident become a notary in Texas?
Yes. A nonresident can apply to become a notary in Texas if the nonresident meets all the following requirements:
- Is a nonresident licensed Texas escrow officer within the meaning assigned by §2652.051 of the Texas Insurance Code.
- Satisfies the same qualifications as Texas residents, setting aside the residency requirements.
- Is a resident of one of the following adjacent states: New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Louisiana (1 TAC §87.12a).
- Completes and submits Form 2301-E to the Texas Secretary of State.
- Follows the same application for appointment as a notary public process as Texas residents.
Note: If the nonresident notary public is no longer a licensed Texas escrow officer, the nonresident notary vacates the office of notary public and must surrender the notary commission to the Secretary of State (1 TAC §87.60[c]).
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Texas?
The term of office of a Texas notary public is four years commencing after the date the notary public qualifies (GC §406.002). However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void by:
- Resignation, death, or revocation.
- When a notary public is no longer a resident of Texas during the notary’s commission term.
- When the nonresident notary public is no longer a licensed Texas escrow officer during the notary’s commission term.
- When a notary is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, which includes class A and B type misdemeanors and felony convictions.
Click here to learn how to become a Texas notary.
Is notary training or an exam required to become a notary or to renew a notary commission in Texas?
No. New applicants seeking an appointment as a notary public and renewing notaries in Texas are not required to take and pass any notary courses or exams. The Secretary of State’s Office provides notary public education materials to the applicants newly appointed and commissioned as Texas notaries public and provides certain notary training videos on its website. Although a notary public training course is not required by Texas notary laws, the American Association of Notaries recommends that all Texas notaries take one to learn fundamental and conventional notarial standards and practices and to ensure that their notarial acts are in compliance with Texas notary laws and administrative rules. The American Association of Notaries offers a Texas notary training course that includes:
- Very specific Texas legal requirements with which all Texas notaries should be in compliance.
- The fundamental notarial standards, guidelines, and practices critical to the office of a notary public.
- Step-by-step notarial practices for the execution of proper notarial acts so that notaries can perform these acts professionally and effectively.
To begin the AAN online notary course training, click here: www.becomeanotarypublic.com.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Texas?
A Texas notary applicant’s expenses may include the cost for the following:
- $21 filing fee to process an application for appointment or reappointment.
- $10,000 surety bond.
- Notary stamp.
- Notary record book.
- E&O insurance policy if a notary wishes to obtain one for his or her own personal protection against liability.
Click here to learn how to become a Texas notary.
Is a notary errors & omissions insurance policy required to become a notary in Texas?
A Texas errors and omissions insurance policy is optional in Texas. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Texas notaries obtain an errors and omissions insurance policy for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial or other type of loss to the public or a client for which a notary public is sued for recovery. An E&O insurance policy customarily covers legal fees and damages based on the coverage a Texas notary selects. To obtain information regarding an E&O insurance policy, visit the American Association of Notaries website, or call 713-644-2299.
Is a notary bond required to become a notary in Texas?
A Texas notary bond in the amount of $10,000 is required for all new applicants seeking an appointment as a notary public and for renewing Texas notaries. The notary bond must be issued by a solvent surety company authorized to do business in Texas. The notary bond must be approved and filed with the Secretary of State. The notary bond requirement to be appointed and commissioned as notary public does not apply to a person whose services as a notary public are performed primarily as a state officer or employee (GC §406.010[f]). A separate notary bond is not required for an online notary public commission. To purchase a Texas notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website, or call 713-644-2299.
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Texas?
The Texas notary statute requires all notaries public to use either a rubber stamp seal or a seal embosser to authenticate their official acts (GC §406.013a). Section 406.013 of the Texas Government Code provides the legal specifications regarding the layout and the information required on all official inked stamps or embosser seals.
Dimensions: The inked stamp or embosser seal may be a circular form not more than two inches in diameter, or a rectangular form not more than one inch in width and 2-1/2 inches in length. The seal of office must have a serrated or milled edge border.
Required Elements: The seal of office must clearly show, when embossed, stamped, or printed on a document 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
Note: The notary’s stamp or embosser seal must be clear and legible and capable of being reproduced photographically.
How much can a Texas notary public charge for performing notarial acts?
Texas notary fees are set by state notary statute (§406.024). The maximum allowable fees that a Texas notary or his or her employer may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $6.00 (for the first signature and $1.00 for each additional signature)
- Oaths or affirmations - $6.00
- Copy certifications - $6.00
- For swearing a witness to a deposition - $6.00
- For taking the deposition of a witness - $0.50 for each 100 words
- For protesting a bill or note for nonacceptance or nonpayment - $4.00
- For each notice of protest - $1
- For certificate and seal to a protest - $4
- For a certificate under seal not otherwise provided for - $6.00
- For a copy of a record or paper in the notary’s office – $0.50 for each page
- Online notarization - $25 in addition to any other fees authorized under Section 406.024
Note: A notary public must 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). Charging more than the maximum fee allowed by Texas notary laws may subject Texas notaries to possible criminal prosecution and suspension or revocation of the notary’s commission by the Secretary of State’s office.
Is a notary journal required in Texas?
Section 406.014 requires all Texas notaries to maintain a journal in a tangible medium or electronically in a computer or other storage device to chronicle all notarial acts performed. The American Association of Notaries encourages Texas notaries who maintain a journal on a tangible medium to keep a permanent, paper-bound journal with numbered pages to create and preserve a chronological record of every notarial act performed as a protective measure against liability. If a journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be maintained in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format and the records must be adequately backed-up and capable of being printed in a tangible medium when requested (1 TAC §87.51a). A notary public is required to keep, in a safe and secure manner, copies of the records of notarizations performed for the longer of:
- The term of the commission in which the notarization occurred.
- Three years following the date of notarization (1 TAC §87.54a).
Note: Texas notaries are prohibited from recording in their notary journal:
- An identification number or any other number that could be used to identify the principal of the document.
- A biometric identifier, including a fingerprint, voice print, and retina or iris image (1 TAC §87.50a).
Where can I perform notarial acts in Texas?
A Texas notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county anywhere within the geographic borders of the state of Texas. Likewise, a Texas notary may not perform notarial acts outside Texas. However, a Texas notary does not appear to be authorized to perform a notarial act on a federal enclave or Indian reservation within Texas (Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0390 ). Some but not all military bases are federal enclaves (website, “Frequently Asked Questions”).
What notarial acts can a Texas notary public perform?
A Texas notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (GC §406.016a):
- Take acknowledgments and proofs
- Administer oaths or affirmations;
- Protest instruments
- Take depositions
- Certify copies of documents not recordable in the public records
- Open and inventory safe deposit boxes (FC §59.109[a-2])
Note: A notary public may not issue an identification card (GC §406.016[c]). “A notary public not licensed to practice law in this state may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice” (GC §406.016[d]).
Can I perform electronic notarizations in Texas?
Yes. The Texas Legislature enacted the “Uniform Electronic Transactions Act” (Section 322.011), Title 10, Subtitle B, Chapter 322 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, which authorizes a traditional notary public to obtain an electronic or digital signature and electronic seal to notarize electronic documents in the physical presence of the individual seeking the notarization. First and foremost, the Texas notary statute requires that that the document signer physically appear before the notary public at the time of the electronic notarization. This means the signer(s) and the notary are physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials to each other without reliance on an electronic device such as a telephone, computer, video camera, or facsimile machine at the time of the execution of the electronic notarization. All the same rules, standards, practices, and regulations that apply to a traditional paper notarization also apply to an electronically signed document including, but not limited to, personal appearance before the notary public. In addition, the notary’s electronic seal must reproduce the required elements of the notary’s official seal.
Can I perform remote online notarizations in Texas?
Yes. Effective July 1, 2018, Texas notaries are authorized to perform online notarizations by using two-way video and audio conference technology that meets the standards adopted by the Secretary of State for such actions including credential analysis and identity proofing. Before a notary public performs his or her initial online notarization, the notary must apply to the Secretary of State for an online notary public commission.
What is the process to become an online notary in Texas?
To become an online notary in Texas, an applicant must:
- Purchase an electronic image of the notary’s seal in one of the following formats--BMP, JPEG, PNG, or TIF.
- Purchase a digital certificate containing the applicant’s electronic signature from a reputable third party provider.
- Be commissioned as a traditional notary public.
- Apply electronically to the Secretary of State through their online electronic commissioning system.
- Acknowledge that the applicant will comply with the standards set forth in the Texas Administrative Code relating to the identity proofing and credential analysis.
- Acknowledge that the applicant will use a third party provider who has provided evidence of its ability to provide an electronic technology standard that utilizes Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology from a PKI service provider that is X.509 compliant.
- Submit an electronically signed statement of officer.
- Upload the electronic seal in an acceptable image format.
- Pay a $50 application fee. An online notary public commission is effective as of the date of qualification, runs concurrently with the traditional notary public commission, and will expire on the same date as the corresponding traditional notary commission.
When performing online notarizations using an approved communication technology, an online notary public must adhere to these statutory requirements:
- The online notary must be physically located within the boundaries of Texas, even though the remotely located individual may be geographically located in any state or country but must be visually in the presence of the online notary through the use of an interactive two-way audio and video communication that meets the legal requirements.
- The remotely located individual’s identity must be established based on satisfactory evidence of identity using an approved two-way video and audio conference technology that includes identity proofing and credential analysis.
- The online notary must complete an electronic notarial certificate.
- The online notary must include the language in the electronic notarial certificate that the notarization was an online notarization performed using communication technology.
- The online notary must record in a secure electronic record the online notarization.
- The online notary must make a recording and backup of the audio-visual conference that is the basis for satisfactory evidence of identity used for the online notarization.
- The maximum fee the online notary may charge for the online notarization is $25 in addition to the regular fees authorized under Section 406.024.
- The online notary must take reasonable steps to ensure that the two-way video and audio communication used in an online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception.
- The online notary must take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered device used to create an electronic signature is current and has not been revoked or terminated by the device’s issuing or registering authority.
- An online notary shall attach the online notary’s electronic signature and seal to the electronic certificate of an electronic document in a manner that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic document evident.
The records of an online notarization must be retained, in a safe and secure manner, for five years following the date of the online notarization. An online notary who replaces an electronic seal or digital certificate must notify the Secretary of State within ten days of the replacement. An online notary whose commission terminates must destroy the coding, disk, certificate, card, software, or password that enables electronic affixation of the online notary’s electronic signature or seal, unless the online notary is recommissioned as an online notary with the same electronic signature and seal within three months after the online commission terminated. An online notary shall immediately notify an appropriate law enforcement agency and the Secretary of State of the theft or vandalism of the online notary’s electronic record, electronic signature, or electronic seal (GC §406.109[e]). Lastly, the liability, sanctions, and remedies for the improper performance of online notarizations are the same under the law as for the improper performance of a notarial act performed by a traditional notary public.
How do I update my address with the Texas Secretary of State?
Within ten days of a change of address, a notary public must notify the Secretary of State (GC §406.019). To satisfy this statutory requirement to update a notary’s address, a notary must:
- Go online to the Secretary of State’s website.
- Download the Notary Public Change of Address form and submit it one of the following ways:
- Mail it to the Notary Public Unit, P.O. Box 13375, Austin, Texas 78711-3375.
- Fax the form to: (512) 463-5255.
- Hand-deliver the form to the Secretary of State, 1019 Brazos, Austin, Texas 78701.
No fee is required for an address change. If a notary public fails to comply with Section 406.019, his or her notary commission may be revoked.
How do I change my name on my notary commission in Texas?
The name change procedure is optional. A notary public may continue to perform notarial acts under the name specified on the notary’s current commission until the commission term expires. During the four-year term of office, a notary public may change the name on the notary commission by submitting the following to the Secretary of State:
- An Application for Change of Name as Texas Notary Public (Form 2305).
- The current certificate of commission.
- A rider or endorsement to the bond on file with the Secretary of State from the insurance agency or surety company specifying the change of name.
- A $20 filing fee.
The Secretary of State will issue an amended commission reflecting the name change and the effective date of the change provided there are no errors or omissions on the notary’s name change request. An online notary public must check the appropriate box on Form 2305 to update the name on both the traditional and online notary public commission and pay the fee for issuance of two commissions and the bond. The notary must obtain a new notary seal that contains the new name as specified on the amended commission under which the notary will perform all future notarial acts. “If the notary public who qualifies under a new name is commissioned as both a traditional and online notary, the notary shall obtain both a new traditional seal and new electronic seal and digital certificate that contains the name, as specified on the amended commission, under which the notary will perform all future notarial acts” (1 TAC §87.62[c]). To download Form 2305, go to: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/statforms.shtml.
Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information on how to become a notary, managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary education, and securing their notary stamp and notary supplies. Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. However, we make no warrant, expressed or implied, and we do not represent, undertake, or guarantee that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding notaries’ best practices, federal laws and statutes, and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from a variety of sources and do not warrant its accuracy. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, loss, damage, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss or consequential loss out of or in connection with the use of the information contained in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their states’ notary authorities or attorneys in their state if they have legal questions. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.
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, a licensed insurance agent in Texas.