How to Become a Notary in New Mexico
The New Mexico Notary Process:
Are you interested in becoming a New Mexico notary? Are you interested in generating extra income as a notary, starting your own New Mexico notary business, adding a New Mexico notary title to your resume, or helping to notarize documents for people in your community? New Mexico notaries are appointed by the state to serve the public as an unbiased impartial witnesses to document signing. The process to become a notary in New Mexico a straightforward process, and as long as you meet the state notary law requirements listed below, you can apply to become a New Mexico notary. The American Association of Notaries can help you with the New Mexico notary application process from start to finish, and when your application is approved, we can manufacture your notary stamp and notary supplies and provide you with support during your New Mexico notary commission term so you can fulfill your notary duties accurately. The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994. We can help you, too, become a notary!
This guide will help you understand:
- The process to become a New Mexico notary
- Who can become a New Mexico notary
- Basic New Mexico notary duties
What are the qualifications to become a New Mexico notary?
To become a notary in the State of New Mexico, a notary applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Be a resident of New Mexico.
- Be able to read and write the English language.
- Not have plead guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or have been convicted of a felony.
- Not have had a notary public commission revoked during the past five years.
What is the process to become a New Mexico notary?
In order to become a New Mexico notary public and receive a New Mexico notary public commission, a notary applicant must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements provided in the next section.
- Prior to completing the notary application, purchase an official seal or stamp because the impression of the official seal is required on the application in the space provided.
- Obtain two character references from New Mexico residents. Their signatures and addresses must appear on the notary application.
- Take the oath of office before a notary public.
- Properly complete the notary application form only in black ink and submit it to the Secretary of State with a $10,000 surety bond, power of attorney, and a check or money order in the amount of $20 payable to the Secretary of State. Download the application form at: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Business_Services/Notary_Division.aspx
Note: “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” (NPH).
Can a non-resident become a notary in New Mexico?
No. A notary applicant who is not a resident of New Mexico does not qualify for a New Mexico notary public commission.
How much does it cost to become a notary in New Mexico?
A New Mexico notary applicant’s expenses may include the cost for the following: (1) the $20 filing fee to process the application for appointment or reappointment; (2) a notary stamp; (3) a notary journal if the notary wishes to comply with the recommendation of the Secretary of State; (4) a $10,000 surety bond; and (5) an E&O insurance policy if a notary public wishes to purchase one for his or her own legal and financial protection.
How do I renew my New Mexico notary commission?
A notary public may be reappointed by applying and following the same manner and procedures as required for an original application. Each notary public is sent an expiration notice to the notary’s mailing address of record by the Secretary of State one month before the expiration of the notary’s commission. “The Secretary of State’s Office may not accept renewal applications any earlier than one month prior to the notary’s expiration date. Any renewal applications sent prior to one month in advance of the notary’s expiration date will be returned/rejected” (Secretary of State’s website).
Are there any exams or notary courses required to become a New Mexico notary public or to renew my New Mexico notary public commission?
No. New Mexico state law does not require a course of study or testing to become a notary public in the state of New Mexico.
Can I perform electronic notarization in New Mexico?
Yes. On May 30, 2008, the New Mexico Secretary of State adopted administrative rules titled “Performing Electronic Notarial Acts,” Title 12, Chapter 9, Part 2 of the New Mexico Administrative Code pursuant to the enactment of the Uniform Property Electronic Recording Act, Chapter 14, Article 9A, Section 14-9A-5(C) of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated. The purpose and objectives for adopting administrative rules for performing electronic notarial acts were to establish standards, guidelines, and procedures for notaries public who elect to perform electronic notarial acts. These rules dictate that prior to performing electronic notarial acts, a New Mexico commissioned notary public must take an ACCET accredited course on electronic notarization. After completion of this course, the commissioned notary public must submit to the Office of the Secretary of State his or her “Certificate of Course Completion in E-notarization” and a “Notification of Intent to Perform Electronic Notarial Acts Form.”
Upon receipt of these materials, the Office of the Secretary of State will send the notary public a letter confirming that his or her registration was accepted and that the notary may commence notarizing electronically. There are no additional fees for registering to perform electronic notarial acts because the notary public is already commissioned. Furthermore, the State of New Mexico has enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (NMSA 14-16-1 through 14-16-19) regarding its provision on notarization and acknowledgment, which acknowledges the legitimacy of a notary’s electronic signature. An electronic notarization is like any other notarial act except that it is executed electronically. Most importantly, New Mexico state law prohibits a notary public from performing a notarial act if the principal is not in the notary public's presence at the time of notarization (NMSA 14-12A-7). The administrative rules require that prior to performing an electronic notarization, a notary public must have the principal signer in his or her presence and verify the identity of the principal signer. There are no exceptions to the legal requirement that the principal signer be in the physical presence of the notary public for each and every notarial act performed. Lastly, “a physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression or seal need not accompany an electronic signature” (NMSA 14-9A-3[C]).
Can I perform remote (online) notarizations in New Mexico?
No. Currently, New Mexico state laws do not empower New Mexico notaries public with the authority to perform remote (online) notarizations. First and foremost, New Mexico state law mandates that the principal signer must personally appear before the notary public and be physically close enough to see, hear, communicate, and give identification credentials to the notary without the use of electronic devices such as telephones, computers, video cameras, or video conference during the entire performance of the notarial act. During the entire electronic notarization process, the notary public must be able to communicate with the signer without the use of electronic devices such as video cameras, telephones, or facsimile machines. The State of New Mexico makes no exceptions to the legal requirement that the principal signer be in the physical presence of the notary public for each and every notarial act performed. Therefore, New Mexico notaries public are prohibited from performing remote (webcam) notarizations, which are illegal in New Mexico.
How long is the term of a notary public commission in New Mexico?
The term of office of a New Mexico notary public is four years commencing with the date specified in the notary public commission. However, a notary’s commission may be rendered void: (1) by resignation; (2) by death; (3) by revocation; (4) when the notary public ceases to reside in New Mexico; or (5) when the notary is convicted of a felony.
Is a New Mexico notary bond required to become a notary in New Mexico?
Yes. A bond in the amount of $10,000 executed by a licensed surety is required for new and renewing notaries.
Do I need a New Mexico notary errors and omission insurance?
A New Mexico errors and omissions insurance policy is optional. However, the American Association of Notaries strongly recommends that New Mexico notaries public purchase an errors and omissions insurance policy for their personal protection against liability. Errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect notaries public from liability against unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions that result in financial damages to the public or a document signer. An E&O policy customarily cover legal fees and damages based on the coverage a New Mexico notary public selects.
Where can I perform notarial acts in New Mexico?
New Mexico notaries public have statewide jurisdiction, and they must be physically within the geographic borders of the state of New Mexico.
Who appoints New Mexico notaries public?
The Governor appoints New Mexico notaries public, and the Secretary of State administers the application process, maintains all the records pertaining to these notaries, and authenticates their acts. To contact the New Mexico Secretary of State, use the following information:
Office of the Secretary of State
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87503
(505) 827-3600 or (800) 477-3632
Do I need to purchase a notary stamp in New Mexico?
Yes. New Mexico notary law requires that each New Mexico notary public use a notarial seal or stamp to authenticate official acts (NMSA 14-12A-18).
Dimensions: “Rubber stamps cannot have a signature line and a round rubber stamp is not acceptable” (NPH).
Required Elements: The official seal or stamp of a New Mexico notary public must conform to the following requirements:
Official Seal (Embosser):
- The exact name of the notary public as it appears on the application for appointment
- The words “Notary Public”
- The words “State of New Mexico”
- The words “Official Seal”
- The exact name of the notary public as it appears on the application for appointment
- The words “Notary Public”
- The words “State of New Mexico”
- The words “My Commission Expires_________” (The commission expiration date must be written in by hand.)
- The New Mexico State Seal
Note: Titles cannot be included on any official seal or stamp (NPH). “The seal or stamp shall not be possessed or used by any other person or surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment” (NMSA 14-12A-18).
Most importantly, when not in use, the seal or stamp must be kept secure and accessible only to the notary public. Within ten days after the notary public’s seal or stamp is stolen, lost, damaged or otherwise rendered incapable of affixing a legible impression or image, the notary public must notify the Secretary of State in writing by any means providing a tangible receipt of such written notice. Moreover, the notary public must report the theft or vandalism of his or her official seal to law enforcement and provide a copy of any pertinent police report to the Secretary of State. As soon as reasonably practicable after resignation, revocation, change of name, expiration of a commission or death of the notary public, the official seal or stamp must be destroyed or defaced so that it may not be misused.
Is a notary journal required in New Mexico?
No. New Mexico law does not require New Mexico notaries public to record their notarial acts in a journal. However, the New Mexico Secretary of State and the American Association of Notaries recommend that New Mexico notaries public maintain a permanent bound journal with consecutively numbered pages that creates and preserves a chronological record of their performed notarial acts. A notary’s journal is the notary’s personal property and must not be surrendered to an employer upon the notary’s termination of employment. For New Mexico notary supplies, visit our website at www.usnotaries.com or call 800.721.2663.
How much can a New Mexico notary charge for performing notarial acts?
New Mexico notary fees are set by statute (NMSA 14-12A-16[D]). The maximum allowable fees that a New Mexico notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
- Acknowledgments - $5.00
- Oaths or affirmations, without a signature- $5.00
- Jurats - $5.00
- Copy certifications per page - $0.50 (Maximum total charge of $5)
The law also permits a notary public to charge less than the maximum notarial fee or waive the notarial fee. A notary public may charge a travel fee not to exceed $0.30 per mile when traveling to perform a notarial act if: (1) the notary and the person requesting the notarial act agree upon the travel fee in advance of the travel; and (2) the notary explains to the person requesting the notarial act that the travel fee is separate from the notarial fees and not mandated by law (NMSA 14-12A-16[E]).“An employer must not establish fees for notarial services that are in excess of those specified in this section nor on the attributes of the principal as delineated” (14-12A-16[C]). “A notary public shall not discriminate by conditioning the fee for a notarial act on the attributes of the principal” (14-12A-16[B]).
What notarial acts can a New Mexico notary public perform?
A New Mexico notary public is authorized to perform the following notarial acts (NMSA 14-12A-7A):
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Execute jurats
- Certify copies
- Conduct any other act authorized by state law
How do I update my address for my New Mexico notary commission?
The law requires that a notary public notify the Secretary of State in writing of a change of the notary’s residence, business, or mailing address within ten days after such change. A notary public must also notify the surety for the notary’s bond in writing within ten days of a change of residence, business, or mailing address (NMSA 14-12A-21). To download the change of address form, click here: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Business_Services/Notary_Division.aspx.
Do I have to change my name on my notary commission in New Mexico?
Upon any change of a notary public’s name, the notary must within ten days of such change submit a name change application to the Secretary of State with a fee of $3 for issuance of a corrected commission. The application must be on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State and must contain an impression or image of the new seal or stamp bearing the new name of the notary public exactly as it appears on the application. The commission on the corrected certificate of appointment expires on the same date as the commission on the certificate of appointment it replaces. The notary must notify the surety for the notary public’s bond in writing within ten days of a change of name and provide the surety with the new name of the notary public exactly as it was provided to the Secretary of State. Within ten days of the notice from the notary public, the surety shall issue a rider to the notary public’s bond and distribute a copy of the rider to the notary public and the Secretary of State (NMSA 14-12A-20). To download the name change application form, click here: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Business_Services/Notary_Division.aspx.
Revised: July 2019
Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this page. Information on this page is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their states if they have legal questions about how to perform notarial acts.
Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.