How to Become a Texas Notary
The Texas Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a Texas notary? Do you want to generate extra income as a notary, start your own Texas notary business, add a Texas notary title to your resume, or help notarize documents for people in your community? Texas notaries are appointed by the state to serve the public as an unbiased impartial witness to document signing. The process to become a notary in Texas is straightforward, and as long as you meet the state notary law requirements listed below, you can apply to become a Texas notary.
The American Association of Notaries can help you with the Texas notary application process from start to finish, and when your 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!
This guide will help you understand:
- The process to become a Texas notary
- Who can become a Texas notary
- Basic Texas notary duties
Qualifications to become a notary in Texas:
To become a Texas notary public, 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, which has not been set aside, or for which no pardon or certificate of restoration of citizenship rights has been granted
The process to become a notary in Texas:
In order to become a Texas notary and receive a Texas notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the previous section
- Properly complete and submit an application for appointment form to the Secretary of State, Notary Public Unit
- Provide a $10,000 surety bond, if required (state employees are exempt from the bond requirement)
- Pay the $21 filing fee
- Take an oath of office before a notary public
- Provide an e-mail address on the application to receive an electronic return of the notary commission
Can a non-resident become a notary in Texas?
A non-resident can apply to become a Texas notary if he or she meets the following requirements:
- Is a non-resident licensed Texas escrow officer
- Meets the eligibility requirements to become a Texas notary, setting aside the residency requirements
- Is a resident of one of the following adjacent states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico
- Completes and submits application form 2301-E to the Texas Secretary of State
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.
Is a Texas notary bond required to become a notary in Texas?
A Texas notary is required to post a notary bond in the amount of $10,000 when applying for a Texas notary commission. The notary bond protects the public―not the notary―for a notary’s errors and omissions. Notaries employed by state agencies are not required to obtain notary bonds. To purchase a Texas notary bond, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.texasnotary.com or call (800) 721-2663.
Do I need a Texas notary errors & omission insurance?
Notary errors and omission insurance is optional. These policies are designed to protect a notary from 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. For additional information, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.texasnotary.com or call (800) 721-2663.
How much does it cost to become a notary in Texas?
To become a Texas notary, a notary applicant is required to:
- Pay a $21 application filing fee
- Purchase a notary stamp
- Purchase a notary journal
- Provide a $10,000 Texas notary bond
How long is the term of a notary public commission in Texas?
The term of office of a Texas notary is four years, commencing on the date specified in the notary's commission certificate. However, a notary's commission may be rendered void:
- By resignation
- By death
- By revocation
- When the notary public ceases to reside in Texas or an adjacent state
- 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 may not perform notarial acts outside the state of Texas.
Who appoints Texas notaries public?
The Texas Secretary of State is responsible for appointing Texas notaries:
Secretary of State
Notary Public Unit
PO Box 13375
Austin, Texas 78711-3375
How do I renew my Texas notary commission?
To renew your Texas notary commission, you must follow the same steps you followed when you first applied for a new notary commission. You can renew your notary commission not earlier than ninety days prior to the expiration date of your current notary’s term. To renew you must:
- Complete a new notary application
- Purchase a $10,000 notary bond
- Pay a state filing fee of $21
- Purchase a new notary stamp
Click here to renew your Texas notary commission.
Are there any exams or notary course requirements?
Texas law does not require new or renewing notaries to take any notary courses or exams prior to applying for a Texas notary commission. However, the American Association of Notaries recommends that all notaries take a notary course to familiarize themselves with performing notarial acts according to Texas laws and established standards of sound notary practices. AAN offers a notary course at www.becomeanotarypublic.com.
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in Texas?
Texas law requires that all notaries public use an inked notary stamp or metal 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 stamps and embossers. The notary stamp or embosser 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
The stamp must also:
- Be either circular or rectangular form
- Be not more than two inches in diameter (or one inch in width and 2 ½ inches in length)
- Contain a serrated or milled edge border
Is a notary journal required in Texas?
Section 406.14 of the Texas Government Code requires that all Texas notaries keep, in a notary journal, a record 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. 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. For Texas notary supplies, visit the American Association of Notaries website at www.texasnotary.com or call (800) 721-2663.
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 or their employers 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
- For a certificate under seal not otherwise provided for - $6.00
- Copy certification - $6.00
- For swearing a witness to a deposition - $6.00
- For taking the deposition of a witness - $0.50 for each 100 words
- Protest - $4.00
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 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 notarization in Texas
Effective July 1, 2018, Texas notaries are allowed to perform online notarizations via audio/video conference technologies with anyone located across the state, the country, or the globe.
What is the process to become an online Texas notary?
To become an online Texas notary, you must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a traditional notary commission
- Purchase an electronic image of your Texas notary seal in one of the following formats: JPEG, PNG, or TIF
- Purchase a digital certificate from a reputable third party
- Apply for an online notary commission at the Texas Secretary of State's website: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/
- Pay a $50.00 application fee
How do I change my address?
Texas law requires notaries to notify the Secretary of State of a change in address not later than the tenth day after the date on which the change is made. Address changes can be updated:
- Online at the Secretary of State's website
- 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 Texas notary commission?
A Texas notary public whose name is legally changed during the term of the notary’s commission may continue to perform notarial acts using the name he or she is commissioned under until the expiration or termination of such commission. A Texas notary also has the option of changing the name on his or her notary commission by:
- Filling out an Application for Change of Name
- Obtaining a rider or endorsement from the insurance agency or surety showing the new name change
- Submitting a $20 filing fee
How do I resign my Texas notary commission?
To resign your notary commission, send a signed letter to the Secretary of State's office at the address listed below:
Secretary of State
Notary Public Unit
PO Box 13375
Austin, Texas 78711-3375
Prohibited Texas notarial acts
Any breach of the Texas notary law by a Texas notary, whether intentional or not, constitutes “official misconduct.” Below is a list of a few of the forbidden notarial acts that every notary must know and avoid:
- Knowingly making a false statement in a notary public application
- Using "notario" or "notario publico" in connection with advertising or offering the services of a notary public
- Falsely representing oneself an attorney as specified in §406.017, Government Code
- Failing to fully and faithfully discharge any of the duties or responsibilities required of a notary public
- Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law;
- Failing to utilize a correct notary seal as described in §406.013 and §406.101(5), Government Code and this chapter
- Failing to administer an oath or affirmation as required by law
- Collecting a fee in excess of the fees authorized by §406.024 and §406.111, Government Code
- Execution, as a notary public, any certificate containing a statement known to the notary public to be false
- Failing to complete the notarial certificate at the time the notary public's signature and seal are affixed to the document
- Advertising in any manner that the notary public is an immigration specialist or immigration consultant using any
- Other title or description reflecting an expertise in immigration matters
- Using false or misleading advertising of either an oral or written nature, in which the notary public has represented or indicated that he or she has duties, rights, powers, or privileges that are not possessed by law
- Performing a notarization when the purported principal did not personally appear before the notary public at the time the notarization was executed
- Failing to comply with or violating, a previous disciplinary action taken pursuant to §87.34 of this title (relating to Disciplinary Action)
- Failing to promptly respond to a request for public information in accordance with §87.52 of this title (relating to Public Information)
- Failing to properly identify the individual whose signature is being notarized;
- Failing to keep a notary record as described in §406.014 and §406.108, Government Code, and Chapter 87 of this title
- Failing to include in the notarial certificate for an online notarization a notation indicating that the notarization is an online notarization
- Failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the two-way audio-visual communication used during an online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception
- Failing to safely and securely maintain notary materials
- Performing a notarial act that the notary public is not authorized to perform
- Using a digital certificate or electronic seal that has expired or is no longer valid
- Failing to report a new digital certificate or electronic seal as required by §87.63 of this title (relating to Changes to Digital Certificate and Electronic Seal for Online Notary)
- Notarizing one's own signature
- Failing to respond in a timely manner to a request for information from the Secretary of State
- Failing to maintain a current address as required by §406.019, Government Code
What are the liabilities associated with performing unlawful acts?
Texas notaries public who commit official malfeasance may be subject to criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative disciplinary action by the Texas Secretary of State.
Notaries who violate Sec 406.017 (REPRESENTATION AS ATTORNEY) may be subject to a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony of the third degree if it is shown in the trial that the notary has previously been convicted under this section. In addition, 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"
- Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, Title 6, Chapter 121, "Acknowledgments and Proofs of Written Instruments"
- Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Part 4, Chapter 87, "Notary Public"
- Texas Administrative Code, Title 28, Part 4, Chapter 252, subchapter E, "Notaries Without Bond"
Texas notarial certificates:
Revised: December 2018
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.