Texas Notary Public

Texas, the lone star state, sets high standards for notary public applicants to insure that once commissioned they are star performers in their important role. A Notary Public is seen as “an officer of the State of Texas” who has statewide jurisdiction. As a duly authorized public servant, a Notary Public in Texas can take acknowledgments, administer oaths, take depositions, deal with negotiable instruments and certify the authenticity of documents that are not otherwise recorded in government records.

To apply for a notary public commission, an applicant can download the Form 2301 “Application for Appointment as a Texas Notary Public” from the state web site at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/statforms.shtml#NPUF. The applicant is available in Word or Adobe. Just above the form is a icon of a magnifying glass titled “Notary Public View Statute”. Click on this icon to read the complete state statute on the office and duties of a notary public. An applicant must be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of Texas and never been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.

The applicantion must be complete and truthful. Making a false statement or omitting information about a criminal conviction negates the commission and may rise to the level of a criminal offense. The Secretary of State’s office conducts random background checks on both new applicants and renewing notaries. Incomplete information of a non-criminal nature is not an offense but will delay processing of the application.

Prior education is not required for first time notary public applicants. However, the state maintains a list of recommended providers with credible programs: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/seminars.shtml A training course is valuable to newcomers because the duties of a notary public are significant in legal and business transactions as well as the processes of notarization. A Texas Notary Public is viewed as personally liable for any acts of negligence or fraud in performing the duties of that office. The $10,000 bond required prior to commissioning is not the full extent of liability. Whether a mistake caused by ignorance or intent, the penalty can be revocation of the Notary Public commission as well as criminal prosecution. Investing in training to understand the duties from the beginning is much cheaper than making an expensive mistake

Portions of Texas are adjacent to the Mexican border so that businesses and workers frequently pass between these areas. However, a Notary Public in Texas is not authorized to validate documents from Mexico or to work inside Mexico. The Texas Notary Public site has an enlightening article on the vast differences between a Notary Public in Texas and Notario Publico in Mexico. This article is worth checking out: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/notariopublicoarticle.shtml

After obtaining a notary commission, Texas Notaries who are not attorneys must include this disclaimer in all print or Radio/TV advertising: “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas and may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.” The disclaimer and advertisement must be written in English.

A Notary Public in Texas is held to a high standard in exercising the office as a trusted public servant.