F.A.Q.


FAQs

FAQs relating to Notary Public Complaints

Texas Notary FAQs

No. The person for whom a notarization is performed must personally appear before the notary public at the time the notarization is performed.

Yes. A notary public has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county in the state of Texas.

No. A notary public who is not an attorney should only complete a notarial certificate which is already on the document, or type or attach a certificate of the maker’s choosing. If a notary public were presented with a document that did not contain a certificate and decided which certificate to attach, that notary public would be “practicing law.” Instead, the notary may allow the person for whom the notarization is performed to choose among the sample certificates provided to the notary with the notary’s commission.

Yes, but you must include notice containing the following statement with the advertisement:

“I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN TEXAS AND MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE.”

In addition to containing the above statement, the notice must be conspicuous, be in both English and the language of the advertisement, and must include the fees that a notary public may charge.

Use of the phrase “notario publico” is prohibited.

Texas Government Code §406.024 specifies the maximum fees for an official act performed by a notary public. A lesser fee is allowed or no fee at all may be charged. Excessive fees are grounds for disciplinary action.

Texas Government Code §406.024 specifies that the notary public or the notary’s employer may charge the specified fees.

Follow one of these two options for school documents:

  1. Notarization of ORIGINAL school records would require you to return to the school to have the school official sign an affidavit in the presence of the notary public.
  2. For notarization of a PHOTOCOPY of the original school record, the owner of the original document must sign an affidavit on the photocopy, in the presence of the notary public. In either case, the notary must complete the appropriate notarial certificate acknowledging the date the signer appeared before him/her.

A notary public can make a certified copy of a diploma but NOT other school documents.

After obtaining the notarized documents, follow the instructions stated in the answer to Question #22 below.

You may obtain an official certificate or apostille on a document notarized by a Texas notary public from the Authentications Unit of the secretary of state. Detailed information pertaining to the procedure for requesting certificates or apostilles may be found on our web site.

The Texas secretary of state cannot provide certification for notaries commissioned outside the state of Texas.

Every commissioned notary public has a duty to safeguard his/her notary materials. However, if your notary seal or record book has been misplaced or lost, send a letter to this office detailing the circumstances in which the materials went missing, the last time you used it, and any other relevant information. If any of your notary materials have been stolen, you should file a report with your local law enforcement office and enclose a copy of that report with your letter to this office. Send the letter to the Notary Public Unit, P.O. Box 13375, Austin, Texas 78711-3375 or by email.

Remember that you have a duty to record every notarial act in your record book. Therefore, if your notary record book is lost or stolen, you must get a new book before you resume providing notarial services. Similarly, you must get a new seal if your seal is lost or stolen, as notaries are required to affix their seals to all official acts they perform.

A notary must sign the notarial certificate using the same name that is listed on the commission issued by the secretary of state. However, as long as the name matches, the signature of the notary may be printed, written, typed, stamped, etc.

The individual signing the document may sign in whatever manner he/she chooses. The name or manner of signing used by the signor is not the responsibility of the notary public. However, the notary public does have a responsibility to make sure that the information contained in the notarial certificate is accurate. For example if John Doe appears before a notary public and signs the instrument with an “X” the notary public should still state in the notarial certificate that John Doe personally appeared on a given date.

Any Texas notary may perform an electronic notarization. An electronic notarization must meet all of the requirements of any other notarization, such as the requirement that the signer personally appear before the notary to acknowledge the document. In addition, the notary’s electronic seal must reproduce the required elements of the notary seal.

In addition, the Texas Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (“TUETA”) applies to transactions that the parties agree to conduct electronically. TUETA includes a section providing for an electronic notarization:

§322.011. NOTARIZATION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT. If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record.

No. Although the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would allow a notary public to fill out Form I-9 on the behalf of an employer, Texas notaries public are not provided this authority under Texas law. Therefore, if an employer requests that you complete any portion of a Form I-9 in your capacity as a notary public, you should refuse.

Yes.  The Texas Attorney General’s office has issued an opinion supporting the authority of a private employer to limit or prohibit the notarial activities of its employees during work hours. Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. GA-0723.

Maybe not. Texas notaries have statewide jurisdiction. Gov’t Code § 406.003. Accordingly, a Texas notary does not appear to be authorized to take an oath or acknowledgement, or perform any other notarial act, on a federal enclave or an Indian reservation. See Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0390 (2001) (finding that engineers practicing on a federal enclave are not required to be licensed in Texas). Some, but not all military bases are federal enclaves. To find out if a particular military base is a federal enclave, start your search by emailing us to find out if we have record of a deed of cession. If we do not have a deed of cession, it does not necessarily mean it does not exist. You should consult your private attorney to determine whether the property in question was ceded

Load More

Texas FAQs relating to Notary Public Complaints

To file a complaint against a Texas notary public, submit Form 2304 (Word, Acrobat – Fill in the blank) to the Notary Public Unit.  Form 2304 contains detailed instructions for how to complete and submit the complaint.  For more information on complaint procedures, please see 1 Tex. Admin. Code §87.23.

A person who has been harmed by the actions of a notary public in performing a specific notarization may file a complaint with the secretary of state. The complaint will be reviewed to determine if the complaint states facts that, if proven, constitute grounds for the secretary of state to take disciplinary action.

In cases where good cause exists for the secretary of state to take disciplinary action against a notary public, the actions can range from an informal reprimand to revocation of the notary’s commission.

The Office of the Secretary of State cannot determine the validity of the notarized document or obtain restitution for losses that may have been caused by a notary’s action. If you need assistance determining the validity of the document or obtaining restitution, consult with your private attorney regarding how to proceed. If you need information regarding filing a claim against the notary’s bond, contact the notary’s surety company. The name of the surety company is available on the Notary Public Search service on the secretary of state’s website.

In addition, the secretary of state does not have the power to prosecute a notary for criminal violations associated with the notary’s official duties. If you think there is a basis for criminal action to be taken against a notary, you may file a complaint with the District or County Attorney of the County where the notarization was performed.

Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the acts identified in §406.009(d) of the Texas Government Code and in 1 Tex. Admin. Code §87.11.

It depends. In order for this Office to open a complaint, the complainant needs to have been personally harmed by the actions of a notary and needs to present factual evidence, within the complainant’s personal knowledge, that the notary engaged in conduct that violates the laws and rules governing the conduct of Texas notaries public. The Office will not open a complaint based on allegations of widespread misconduct by an entire company, or unsupported allegations regarding the geographic location of the notaries and signers.

You may contact the Notary Complaint Specialist at the secretary of state by calling 512-475-2993 or by email.

Load More