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How to Become a Notary Public in Texas

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Texas, this practical guide will answer many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, and find out how you can become a commissioned Notary. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a Texas notary or renewing your Texas commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Texas Notary Process
Requirements to be a Notary in Texas
What Can I Do With My Texas Commission?
Additional Notary Public Information

 


Texas Notary Process

 

How to become a Notary in Texas

You should begin the renewal process no earlier than 90 days before your commission expires. You must purchase a new Notary seal to reflect your updated commission expiration date. You’ll also need a new record book (journal) if your old one is full. In order to apply for your commission renewal, you must maintain your $10,000 surety bond.

  1. Make sure you still meet all of Texas’ eligibility requirements.
  2. Obtain your $10,000 surety bond from a company authorized to do business in Texas and have the bonding company complete the bond section of your Notary application.
  3. Complete and submit the application Form 2031 (out-of-state applicants who are escrow agents must use Form 2301-E), along with the $21 filing fee, by:

    Email: notarypubliccommission@sos.state.tx.us
    Mail: Notary Public Unit, P.O. Box 13375, Austin, Texas 78711-3375
    Delivery: James Earl Rudder Office Building, 1019 Brazos, Austin, Texas 78701
     
  4. Receive your new commission certificate from the state in two weeks via email or 30 days by mail.
  5. Bring your commission certificate to a Texas Notary, take your oath of office, have the Notary properly complete the notarization on the form and keep the commission certificate and oath (Tex. Gov’t Code, Sec. 406.005).
  6. Purchase your new Notary seal and record book (if you need one) from any office supply company.
  7. Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure.
  8. Continue performing notarizations for the public.
  9. Continuing education and Notary experts are always available if you would like additional training or guidance.
How to renew my Notary commission in Texas

You should begin the renewal process no earlier than 90 days before your commission expires. You must purchase a new Notary seal to reflect your updated commission expiration date. You’ll also need a new record book (journal) if your old one is full. In order to apply for your commission renewal, you must maintain your $10,000 surety bond.

  • Make sure you still meet all of Texas’ eligibility requirements.
  • Obtain your $10,000 surety bond from a company authorized to do business in Texas and have the bonding company complete the bond section of your Notary application.
  • Complete and submit the application Form 2031 (out-of-state applicants who are escrow agents must use Form 2301-E), along with the $21 filing fee, by:

    Email: notarypubliccommission@sos.state.tx.us
    Mail: Notary Public Unit, P.O. Box 13375, Austin, Texas 78711-3375
    Delivery: James Earl Rudder Office Building, 1019 Brazos, Austin, Texas 78701
     
  • Receive your new commission certificate from the state in two weeks via email or 30 days by mail.
  • Bring your commission certificate to a Texas Notary, take your oath of office, have the Notary properly complete the notarization on the form and keep the commission certificate and oath (Tex. Gov't Code, Sec. 406.005).
  • Purchase your new Notary seal and record book (if you need one) from any office supply company.
  • Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure.
  • Continue performing notarizations for the public.
  • Continuing education and Notary experts are always available if you would like additional training or guidance.
  • Purchase errors and omissions insurance (optional, but strongly recommended).
How long does it take?

Approximately two weeks after your application is processed, the state will email your commission certificate to you. If not delivered by email, you’ll get your certificate by mail in 30 days.

How much does it cost?

The state filing fee is $21. The cost of your bond, seal and journal will vary based on the vendor you choose. The cost of commissioning can differ depending on whether you are a new or renewing Notary. Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more “how-to” assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees – processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Texas

 

Who can become a Notary?

There are three basic qualifications for a person to become a Notary in Texas. Applicants must be 18 years old, reside in the state and not be convicted of a felony or a crime that involves moral turpitude that has not been dismissed or discharged by law. Escrow agents who are residents of a state adjacent to Texas may qualify as Texas Notaries without meeting the residency requirement.

What kind of training will I need?

Training is not required for Texas Notaries but the Secretary of State does provide educational materials and a training video online

Do I need to take an exam?

No, passing an exam is not required to become a Notary in Texas.

What kind of equipment will I need?

You’ll need a Notary seal and a record book, or Notary journal, for every notarization you perform. The Notary seal may be a stamp or an embosser, but must contain the words "Notary Public, State of Texas" around a star of five points, your name, and the date your commission expires. You must keep your journal safe and secure for the term of your commission or for three years following the date of notarization, whichever is longer (1 Tex. Admin. Code §87.44). Texas considers it a best practice to permanently maintain and safeguard copies of the records. It’s important to note that you may not record any identification number, driver’s license, Social Security card or passport numbers in your journal (1 Tex. Admin. Code §87.40).

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal – they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you are constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

It is strongly recommended that you use a journal of notarial acts to keep record of your notarizations, even if your state doesn’t require it. When purchasing a journal, there are a few important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you’re ever named in a lawsuit. Simple notebooks or glue-bound journals simply do not offer the same level of security.

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Ask if stamps carry a guarantee for the length of your commission. And stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging. A second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced, and an embosser can help add an additional layer of fraud-prevention security.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

Yes and no. Except for Notaries who primarily perform notarizations as officers or employees of state agencies, Notaries in Texas are required by law to purchase a $10,000 surety bond from a company authorized to do business in the state. The bond must be approved by the Secretary of State, payable to the Governor, and conditioned to provide reimbursement to any person damaged by the Notary’s improper performance of official duties (Texas Gov't Code, Sec. 406.010). The bond is a financial guarantee from a bonding company for signers and parties relying on a notarization who experience financial damages because a Notary intentionally or unintentionally violated a Notary law. If damages are paid out from the bond, you will need to repay your surety company. Since a surety bond does not protect the Notary, many Notaries choose to purchase optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies to protect themselves from legal expenses. E&O insurance is not a requirement in Texas.

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What Can I Do With My Texas Commission?

 

Where will I be able to notarize?

You will be able to notarize anywhere in the state of Texas.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for everyone, excluding yourself. You cannot notarize your own signature, nor can you notarize documents you are named in or would benefit from. Texas law doesn’t specifically prohibit notarizing for a spouse or relative or for a spouse’s business. If you perform notarizations as part of your employment, your employer may limit the notarizations you perform during your work hours.

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General Notary Public Information

 

Why become a Notary?

Anyone who is interested in serving the public as an impartial witness should become a Notary. Notaries properly identify signers, verify that the signer understands and is willing to sign the document in hand. Notaries help prevent fraud and add integrity, trust and authenticity to signatures on various important documents. Many companies in the healthcare, real estate finance and legal industries employ Notaries.

Can anyone help me become a Notary?

Yes. Several companies offer Notary training, supplies, bonds, insurance and assistance with the entire application process. Also, the Secretary of State’s website has the application with submission details, educational materials and a training video if you want to get the process started on your own.

Although Texas does not require training, where can I get it?

You can find several reputable Notary Public training providers with a quick online search. It’s important to note that the Secretary of State does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does the Secretary endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training. Since the Secretary of State doesn’t have jurisdiction to take action regarding a business that offers Notary training, make sure you thoroughly review any company you plan to work with.

How much legal risk will I face?

It depends. Even the most careful and detail-oriented people can make mistakes. As a Notary Public, any unintentional mistake you make or intentional misconduct you engage in could be very costly for everyone involved. Notaries have been sued for financial damages that signers incur and lawsuits are expensive even if you’re innocent. If you are diligent in following the law and keep thorough records, you’ll be better prepared if any legal action does come your way.

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