To become a Tennessee notary public, a person must:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be a resident or have a principal place of business in the county from which they were elected
- Be a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident
- Never have been removed from the office of notary public for official misconduct
- Never have had a notarial commission revoked or suspended in Tennessee or any other state
- Never have been found by a court in Tennessee or any other state to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law
A person is disqualified from holding the office of notary public, if that person:
- Has been convicted of a felony for bribery, larceny, or any other offense unless restored to citizenship
- Is a person against whom there is an unpaid judgment for money received in an official capacity and due to the United States, to Tennessee, or any Tennessee county
- Is a person who is a defaulter to the treasury at the time of election
- Is a soldier, seaman, marine, or airman in the regular army, navy, or air force of the United States
- Is a member of Congress or a person holding any office of profit or trust under any foreign power, other state, or the United States.
The process for obtaining a Tennessee notary public commission is as follows:
- The applicant must first meet the eligibility requirements.
- Next, the prospective notary must properly complete and submit the notary application to the county clerk in the county in which the applicant resides or maintains his or her principal place of business with a $12 filing fee.
- The county clerk will certify the election and will forward the certification to the Secretary of State.
- Once the applicant is elected, the Secretary of State will send the governor-issued commission to the county clerk to be recorded and notify the notary public
- The notary public must execute an oath of office before the county clerk or the clerk’s deputy in the notary’s county and provide a $10,000 bond.
- The county clerk will then deliver the commission to the notary public and record the date of the issuance and expiration date and qualifications in their office.
Non-Resident Tennessee Notary:
Permitted. If a person’s principal place of business is in any county in the state of Tennessee, the person is eligible for election as a notary public in that county, although the person may reside in a state other than Tennessee. A non-resident applicant must also meet the same requirements as a resident applicant.
Tennessee Notary Bond:
Required. A bond in the amount of $10,000 is required for new and renewing notaries public. The bond must be filed in the office of the county clerk in the county where the notary public was elected. Please visit the American Association of Notaries’ website at www.usnotaries.com
to purchase and receive a bond via email in one business day, or call 800.721.2663.
Notary Errors & Omissions Insurance:
Optional. A notary public is liable to any person for damages that result from his or her official misconduct. The American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that Tennessee notaries public insure themselves against claims of negligence through the purchase of Notary Errors and Omissions insurance. To purchase this insurance policy, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling 800.721.2663 or visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com
A $12 fee is required for new and renewal notary applications.
Tennessee Notary Term:
Tennessee Department of State
Secretary of State
Division of Publication
William R. Snodgrass Tower, 8th Floor
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243
Notary Commission Renewal:
A notary may apply for renewal by following the same process as a new applicant.
Tennessee Notary Stamp/Notary Seal:
Type — rubber stamp
Ink color - any color other than black or yellow provided that the color used is clearly legible and appears as black when photocopied on a non-color copier.
Shape — circular
It is recommended by the Secretary of State that the seal be circular with the notary public’s name as it appears on the commission printed at the top, the county of election printed at the bottom, and the words “State of Tennessee Notary Public” or “Tennessee Notary Public” printed in the center.
Required.Effective April 6, 2015, Tennessee enacted Public Chapter 76, which states that “if the notary or the notary’s employer demand and receive a fee, the notary shall keep a record either in an appropriate electronic form or in a well-bound book of each of the notary’s act, attestations, protestations, and other instruments of publication” (TCA 8-21-1201(b)). Also see. Attorney General Opinion No. 14-89 mandates notaries to record every notarial act regardless of whether the notary or his or her employer charges notarial fees. For Tennessee notary supplies, please contact the American Association of Notaries by calling (800) 721-2663 or visiting our website at www.usnotaries.com
. If the notary is an employee of a financial institution, then access to the notary records are governed by the Financial Records Privacy Act or the federal Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978, whichever is applicable.
Notary fees are NOT set by state law. Fees charged for notarial services cannot be unreasonable or unfair. An employer of a notary public may demand and receive a reasonable fee and compensation for the notary’s services.
A Tennessee notary public has the authority to:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take depositions
- Qualify parties to bills in chancery
- Protest negotiable instruments
- Take affidavits
The State of Tennessee has not enacted/adopted statutes, rules, and/or procedures for electronic notarizations.
If a notary public moves his or her residence or principal place of business out of the county in which he or she was elected and commissioned to another county in Tennessee, the notary must notify the county clerk in the county in which the notary was elected and commissioned and pay to the county clerk a fee of $7.00. The county clerk will then notify the Secretary of State of the change of address. If a notary public moves out of the state of Tennessee and has neither a residence nor a principal place of business in Tennessee, the notary is disqualified from acting as a Tennessee notary public and such notary must surrender his or her notary public commission.
If a notary public’s surname changes, he or she must notify the county clerk of the county from which he or she was elected and commissioned and pay to the county clerk a fee of $7.00. The county clerk will notify the Secretary of State of the name change. Please contact the county clerk of the county from which the notary public was elected and commissioned for further instructions because the notary may be required to obtain a rider from his or her insurance company with the name change.
If a notary public moves out of the state of Tennessee and has neither a residence nor a principal place of business in Tennessee, the notary must surrender his or her commission. The notary seal must be surrendered to the county clerk where the notary was elected and commissioned upon expiration of the notary’s term of office or resignation, and the personal representative must surrender the seal in the event of the death of the notary.
A notary public may not:
- Prepare legal documents or give legal advice if the notary is not an attorney
- Perform acts that constitute the practice of law
- Notarize a document without the signer being in the notary’s presence at the time of the execution of the notarization
- Be a party to a false affidavit
- Notarize documents with an expired commission
- Post-date or ante-date any oath or acknowledgment
- Hold himself to be an immigration consultant, immigration paralegal, or expert on immigration matters unless also an accredited representative of an organization recognized by the board of immigration appeals
- Notarize the signature of his or her spouse on a document
- Notarize a document in a matter in which he or she has a financial interest
It is a Class C misdemeanor for a person to act as a Tennessee notary public after moving out of Tennessee. Violation of the laws governing advertising by notaries public is an unfair or deceptive act constituting a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine in an amount up to $500. It is a misdemeanor to take office as a notary public if a disqualification exists. A notary public who commits official misconduct may also be subject to criminal and civil liability, which may include the revocation of his or her notary public commission.
to view your state’s notarial certificates.