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Statutory Documents

Online Notary Public Educational Information

The following educational information is provided to you in accordance with Tex. Gov't Code  §406.008(b). This information should be kept for reference throughout your term in office. As a newly commissioned online notary you are expected to perform your duties with care. Please read through this information at least once before you begin to perform your online notarial duties.

Note: The statutes and administrative rules referred to in these materials are subject to change. It is your responsibility to stay current on the laws and rules that govern notaries public. Please review the resources provided below:

Chapter 406 of the Texas Government Code
Chapter 121 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code
Title 1, Part 4, Chapter 87 of the Texas Administrative Code
Proposed Notary Rules as published in the Texas Register on June 29, 2018

Table of Contents

Commissioning and online notary procedures

Introduction

An Online Notary Public is a public servant who is commissioned as a traditional notary public, and who is also commissioned and authorized to perform online notarizations by using two-way video and audio conference technology in accordance with Subchapter C, Chapter 406 of the Texas Government Code.  

Eligibility

A person who wants to be an Online Notary Public must meet the same requirements and qualifications needed to be appointed as a “traditional” notary public under Subchapter A of Chapter 406 of the Government Code.  This means that the individual must be: a Texas resident, at least 18 years of age, and not been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. To make an application for appointment as an Online Notary Public, an individual must have a notary identification number and hold a current (i.e., unexpired) commission as a traditional Texas notary public.

Obtaining an Online Notary Commission

In order to become an Online Notary Public, an eligible individual must apply electronically to the Secretary of State through the online electronic commissioning system and pay a $50 application fee. The online electronic commissioning system is available on the Secretary of State’s website. The commissioning system will take the individual through a number of screens that will require the notary to provide certain information, certify to certain statements, and submit an electronically signed statement of officer. There must be no good cause for the Secretary of State to reject the application for appointment.

Term of Commission

An online commission is effective as of the date of qualification and will expire on the same date as the applicant’s corresponding traditional notary public commission.

Online Notarization Procedures

In order for a Texas notary public to perform an online notarization, the notary must be physically located within the boundaries of Texas at the time of notarization.  However, the signing party (or principal) may be located anywhere.

If you have any questions about notarizing a document, you may contact the person who drafted the document and ask them to clarify any questions about the document.  It is not the notary’s job to revise the document other than that part of the document containing the notarial certificate.  Please be aware, when performing an online notarization, it may not be possible for you to make changes to a notarial certificate as you would when provided with a paper document because the document presented to you is an electronic document. Since there is no statute that addresses this issue, you may want to return the document to the drafter and suggest that they change the name of the county to the correct county name or make changes to any other information within the certificate that may be incorrect.

Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §406.109, an online notary public shall 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.

Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §406.109(c), an online notary public may use the online notary public’s electronic signature only for performing online notarizations. If you are performing a notarization for a paper document (face-to-face with a signer who is physically present before you), you would sign the notarial certificate in the traditional manner.

Record Book and Public Records

Tex. Gov't. Code § 406.108(b) requires that an online notary public maintain a secure electronic record of electronic documents notarized by the notary. An online notary public shall record:

  1. the date and time of each notarization;
  2. the type of notarial act;
  3. the type, the title, or a description of the electronic document or proceeding;
  4. the printed name and address of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding;
  5. the evidence of identity of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding in the form of:
    1. A statement that the person is personally known to the online notary public;
    2. A notation of the type of identification document provided to the online notary public;
    3. A record of the identity verification made under Section 406.110, if applicable; or
    4. The following:
      1. The printed name and address of each credible witness swearing to or affirming the person’s identity; and
      2. For each credible witness not personally known to the online notary public, a description of the type of identification documents provided to the online notary public.
  6. a recording of any video and audio conference that is the basis for satisfactory evidence of identity and a notation of the type of identification presented as evidence; and
  7. the fee, if any, charged for the notarization.

NOTE: 1 T.A.C. §87.50 prohibits a notary from recording an identification number that was assigned by a governmental agency or by the United States to the signer, grantor or maker and that is set forth on an identification card or passport; or any other number that could be used to identify the signer, grantor or maker of the document.  That section also prohibits the notary from recording biometric data, including a thumbprint or fingerprint.  Section 87.50 does not prohibit a notary from recording a number related to the mailing address of the signer, grantor or maker of the document or the instrument.

Entries in the online notary's records are public information. An online notary public shall, on payment of all fees, provide a certified copy of any record in the notary public's records to any person requesting the copy.

Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §406.108(b) an online notary must take reasonable steps to:

  1. Ensure the integrity, security and authenticity of online notarizations,
  2. Maintain a backup for the electronic record, and
  3. Protect the backup record from unauthorized use.

Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §406.109(b) an online notary public shall keep the online notary public’s electronic record, electronic signature, and electronic seal secure and under the online notary’s exclusive control at all times.

Electronic Notary Seal

Tex. Gov't. Code Ann. § 406.101(5) defines an electronic seal as “information within a notarized electronic document that confirms the online notary public’s name, jurisdiction, identifying number, and commission expiration date, and generally corresponds to information in notary seals used on paper documents.”

An individual applying for an online notary commission shall include in their electronic application a copy of the applicant’s electronic seal in a format prescribed by the Secretary of State.  1 T.A.C. §87.4(b)(4).

An online notary public must attach the online notary public’s seal and digital certificate, which includes the notary’s electronic signature, to the electronic notarial 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.

An online notary public must replace an electronic seal or digital certificate that is expired or no longer valid and shall provide a copy of the new seal or certificate to the secretary of state within 10 days of the replacement. Use of an expired or invalid seal or certificate and failure to provide a copy of any replacement seal or certificate may lead the secretary of state to take disciplinary action against the notary.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a notarial certificate?  A notarial certificate is the wording, usually found at the end of a document, that describes the steps a notary has taken in notarizing a document.  A notary may not notarize (i.e., sign and/or affix their seal) a document that does not have a notarial certificate.  Acknowledgments and jurats are examples of notarial certificates.  A notarial certificate for an online notarization must include a statement that the notarial act was an online notarization.  Please refer to the sample forms provided in this material for more information.

  2. What is Online Notarization?  Online notarization is a notarial act performed by an online notary by means of 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.

  3. What is Credential Analysis?  Credential Analysis is a process by which the validity of a government-issued identification credential is affirmed by a third party through review of public and proprietary data sources.

  4. What is Identity Proofing?   Identity Proofing is the process by which the identity of an individual is affirmed by a third party through review of public and proprietary data sources.

  5. What is a Digital Certificate?  A Digital Certificate is a computer-based record or electronic file issued to an online notary public for the purpose of creating an official electronic signature.

  6. What is a Principal?  A Principal is an individual whose signature is notarized in a traditional or online notarization, or an individual who takes an oath or affirmation from a notary.

  7. What is an Electronic Seal?  An Electronic Seal consists of information within a notarized electronic document that confirms the online notary public’s name, jurisdiction, notary ID, and commission expiration date.  It generally corresponds to information in notary seals used on paper documents.

  8. Do I need to keep an electronic record of an online notarization that I do not charge for?  Yes.  Every online notarization must be recorded in the notary’s electronic record and the record must include the information required by Tex. Gov’t Code §406.108, including a recording of any video and audio conference that is the basis for satisfactory evidence of identity and a notation of the type of identification presented as evidence.

  9. How much can online notaries charge for their services?  Online notaries may charge up to $25 for each notarization they perform in addition to regular notary charges.  Online notaries are not required to charge for their services, but they are allowed to charge up to $25 plus the regular notary fees authorized by Tex. Gov’t Code §406.024.

    For example:
    1. if an online notary notarizes the signature of one person, the charge will be $31, i.e. $25 + $6 = $31;
    2. if an online notary notarizes the signatures of two persons named in the same notarial certificate, the charge will be $32, i.e. $25 + $6 +$1 = $32;
    3. if an online notary notarizes the signatures of two persons, and there are separate notarial certificates for each signing party, the charge will be $62, i.e. $25 +$6 for the first notarization and $25 +$6 for the second notarization, which totals $62.

  10. Do online notaries public need to obtain a bond in addition to the bond required to be a traditional notary?   No.

  11. How long is the term of an online notary?  An online notary’s term runs concurrently with the term of that notary’s traditional commission.  For example, Jane Doe, a traditional notary, holds a commission that expires on January 16, 2019, and obtains her commission as an online notary on September 1, 2018.  Jane Doe’s online notary commission will expire on the same date as her traditional notary commission; namely, January 16, 2019.  When it is time to renew her online notary public commission, Jane Doe must renew her traditional notary public commission before renewing the online commission if she wants to continue to act as an online notary public, as the term of the online commission runs concurrently with the term of her traditional commission.  If Jane Doe no longer wants to perform online notarizations, she has the option of simply renewing her traditional notary public commission and not renewing her online commission. 

  12. How long must an online notary keep the electronic record of the notarizations performed by the notary (including the video and audio record of the notarization)? Five (5) years from the date of notarization.  

  13. Is an electronic notarization the same as an online notarization?  No.  An electronic notarization is not the same as a remote or online notarization.  In Texas, an electronic notarization (i.e., affixing an electronic or digital signature and seal to an electronic document) may be performed by a traditional notary. Although the signing of the document and notarization are performed electronically, both the notary public performing the notarization and the person signing the document must be physically present at the time of the notarization.  Electronic notarization is authorized by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act found in Chapter 322 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code.

Sample Forms For Online Notarization Containing Minimum Statutory Requirements For Such Forms

Long Form Acknowledgment

State of Texas                     §

County of _________           §

Before me, (insert the name of notary or other officer taking acknowledgment), on this day personally appeared by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication (insert name of acknowledging party), who is known to me [or proved to me on the oath of (insert name of credible witness if necessary)] [or has provided satisfactory evidence of identity in accordance with Chapter 406, Texas Government Code] to be the person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that they executed the same for the purposes and consideration therein expressed. This notarial act was an online notarization.
Given under my hand and seal of office this __________ day of __________, (year).

 Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


Short Form Acknowledgment

State of Texas

County of _______________

This instrument was acknowledged before me by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication on (date) by (name or names of person or persons acknowledging). This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


For a Natural Person as Principal Acting by Attorney-in-Fact

State of Texas                    

County of _______________ §

This instrument was acknowledged before me by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication on (date) by (name of attorney-in-fact) as attorney-in-fact on behalf of (name of principal). This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


For a Partnership Acting by One or More Partners    

State of Texas                  §

County of ______________§

This instrument was acknowledged before me by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication on (date) by (name of acknowledging partner or partners), partner(s) on behalf of (name of partnership), a partnership. This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


For a Corporation

State of Texas                   §

County of ______________ §

This instrument was acknowledged before me by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication on (date) by (name of officer), (title of officer) of (name of corporation acknowledging), a (state of incorporation) corporation, on behalf of said corporation. This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


For a Public Officer, Trustee, Executor, Administrator, Guardian, or Other Representative

State of Texas                      §

County of ________________§

This instrument was acknowledged before me by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication on (date) by (name of representative) as (title of representative) of (name of entity or person represented). This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


Form of Certificate For Proof by Witness

State of Texas                  §

County of ______________§

Before me, (insert the name of the notary), on this day personally appeared _____________________, known to me (or proved to me on the oath of ______________), to be the person whose name is subscribed as a witness to the foregoing instrument of writing, and after being duly sworn by me stated on oath that he saw _______, the grantor or person who executed the foregoing instrument, subscribe the same (or that the grantor or person who executed such instrument of writing acknowledged in his presence that he had executed the same for the purposes and consideration therein expressed), and that he had signed the same as a witness at the request of the grantor (or person who executed the same). This notarial act was an online notarization.

Given under my hand and seal of office this __________ day of __________, (year).

Notary Seal                                                                          Digital Certificate


Jurat

State of Texas                   §

County of _________         § 

Sworn to and subscribed before me on the ___ day of        (month)          , (year), by (insert name of signing party). This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                           Digital Certificate


Oath or Affirmation

State of Texas                  §

County of____________    §

I, (affiant), do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of ___________________ of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.

__________________________________________
Signature of Affiant

Sworn to and subscribed before me by (affiant) on this __________ day of _______________, (year). This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                           Digital Certificate


Deposition

Certificate to Deposition Upon Written Questions

State of Texas            §

County of __________ §

(Plaintiff)    v.    (Defendant)  In the __________ Court  of __________ County, Texas, Cause No. _________, I hereby certify that the foregoing answers of __________, the witness forenamed, were signed and sworn to before me on (date), by said witness. This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                           Digital Certificate


Verification (option 1)

State of Texas           §

County of _________ §

_______________, personally appeared before me, and being first duly sworn declared that he/she signed this application in the capacity designated, if any, and further states that he/she has read the above application and the statements therein contained are true. This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                           Digital Certificate


Verification (option 2)

State of Texas                 §

County of _____________§

Before me, a notary public, on this day personally appeared _______________, known to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing document and, being by me first duly sworn, declared that the statements therein contained are true and correct. This notarial act was an online notarization.

Notary Seal                                                                           Digital Certificate