A person applying to be a Notary Public must:
- Be a resident of New Mexico;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be able to read and write the English language;
- Not have plead guilty or nolo contendre to a felony or been convicted of a felony; and
- Not have had a Notary Public commission revoked during the past five years.
A. Download a notary application and instructions.
B. Affirm that the applicant meets the qualifications set out above.
C. Order a seal or rubber stamp from an office supply store. An embosser is made of heavy metal and makes an impression on the paper. It contains the applicant's name, as described in Section E, below, and the words "Notary Public-State of New Mexico."
A rubber stamp shall be in the following form:
Name of Notary Public (PRINTED)
NOTARY PUBLIC - STATE OF NEW MEXICO
My commission expires:____________________ (date)
Rubber stamps cannot have a signature line, and a round rubber stamp is not acceptable. Affix the seal or rubber stamp on the application in the space provided.
D. Applications must be completed in black ink only and without background colors of any type. Also, applications which contain liquid paper or any signatures which have been traced or written over will not be accepted.
E. Complete the application using the applicant's last name and first or middle name, plus an initial or additional name, if desired, or last name and two initials. Do not include titles on the application, stamp or seal. Use only the applicant's name. The applicant's name must be identical to the name on the seal or stamp.
F. Have two New Mexico residents sign the form attesting to the applicant's good moral character.
G. The applicant takes the oath before a Notary Public or other person authorized to administer oaths. The name and signature on the oath must be identical to the name and signature on the bond application and the name on the notarial seal or stamp. The Notary Public who notarizes the applicant's oath must sign his/her name, affix his/her seal, and enter his/her complete expiration date.
H. Each notary public is required to obtain a ten thousand dollar ($10,000) surety bond which can be purchased from an insurance company. Each surety bond must contain:
- The applicant signs as the principal and his/her signature must be notarized (Acknowledgment of Principal (Applicant);
- An official of the insurance company must sign and provide his/her title. His/her signature also must be notarized (Acknowledgment for Insurance Company);
- The insurance company's corporate seal must appear on the surety bond;
- A power of attorney from the insurance company, with the name of the company official who signed the surety bond, must accompany application and surety bond.
I. Return the completed application, surety bond, power of attorney, and a check or money order in the mount of $20.00 payable to the Secretary of State, 325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87503.
III. Appointment and Reappointment
A. If the application is accepted, the Governor will appoint the applicant as a Notary Public for a term of four (4) years. The applicant cannot act as a Notary Public until he receives his certificate of appointment from this office.
B. A Notary Public may be reappointed every four years thereafter by making application in the same manner as required for an original application. Each Notary Public is sent a notice of his term's expiration by the Secretary of State one month before his commission expiration date.
IV. Duties of a Notary Public
A. A Notary Public is empowered to perform the following notorial acts:
- Administer oaths and affirmations;
- Copy certifications; and
- Perform other duties as provided by law.
B. The law requires that a Notary Public notify the Secretary of State in writing within ten days after a name or address change. Name changes require a fee of $3.00 and are to be submitted on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State.
C. A Notary Public has no authority to practice law. He may not prepare, complete or give advice concerning documents unless he is an attorney.
D. Although it is not required by law, it is recommended that the Notary Public keep a journal of his notarial acts containing at a minimum the date, type of document, and name(s) and signature(s) of the person(s) whose signature(s) were notarized by him.
E. A notary public shall not use the term "notario publico" or any equivalent non-english term in any business card, advertisement, notice or sign.
V. Unlawful Acts and Civil Liability
A. It is unlawful for any Notary Public to take the acknowledgment of an instrument by or to a bank or other corporation of which the Notary is a stockholder, director, officer, or employee, where such Notary is a party to such instrument, either individually or as a representative of such corporation. It is also unlawful for a Notary to protest any negotiable instrument owned or held for collection by a corporation of which the Notary is a stockholder, director, officer, or employee, where such Notary is individually a party to the instrument.
B.The law imposes penalties for the following offenses:
- A person exercising the duties of a Notary Public with the knowledge that his commission has expired, or that he is otherwise disqualified from serving as a Notary Public, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imposition of a fine of $500 and removed from office by the governor.
- A Notary who authenticates a document containing statements he knows to be false, or notarizes or acknowledges documents when the parties executing them have not appeared in person before him, may be charged with a misdemeanor and, if convicted, may be punished by imposition of a fine of not more than $1000, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
C. Any person damaged by an unlawful act, negligence or misconduct of a Notary Public in his official capacity may bring civil action on the Notary Public's official bond.
VI. Removal from Office
A Notary Public may be removed from office by the Governor if he:
A. submits an application for appointment as a Notary Public which contains a false statement;
B.is or has been pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or been convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor arising out of a notarial act performed by him;
C. engages in the unauthorized practice of law;
D. ceases to be a New Mexico resident; or
E.commits a malfeasance in office.
The fees that Notaries Public are entitled to collect are provided in the Notary Public Laws of the State of New Mexico in the notary handbook on page 12, section 16.
The certification of notarial acts which may be used when notarizing documents are not contained in these instructions, but may be found in sections 14-14-8 NMSA, 1978.
If you have questions regarding your duties as a Notary Public, or have questions regarding the procedures to follow when you notarize , you may contact us at (505) 827-3600, or (800) 477-3632. However, if you have questions regarding the form, instrument, or document which you have been asked to notarize, we recommend that you contact the office or government agency that issued it or will receive it. We are unable to respond to questions of a legal nature.
X. Certification of a Notary Public's Acts
If a person requires certification of a Notary Public's appointment such, he should take or mail the document to the Secretary of State where a certificate will be prepared verifying that the Notary Public was duly appointed by the governor. The fee is $3.00 per certification.