Arkansas laws on notaries public can be found in Chapter 14, Title 21 of Arkansas code. Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-101, the Secretary of State may appoint and commission an individual person as a notary public in Arkansas. A notary public may perform notarial acts in any part of the state for a term of 10 years. An application for appointment and commission as a notary public shall be filed with the Secretary of State stating that s/he is either a bona fide citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien who shall file with his or her application a recorded Declaration of Domicile, a legal resident of Arkansas or an adjoining state and employed in the State of Arkansas, 18 years of age or older, and able to read and write English. Every notary public shall file in the office of the recorder of deeds for the county where the notary public resides or in the case of a resident of an adjoining state, in the county in Arkansas where employed, either: a surety bond executed by a surety insurer authorized to do business in Arkansas to the state for the faithful discharge of the notary public’s duties in the sum of $7,500, or a surety contract guaranteeing the notary public’s faithful discharge of his or her duties executed to the State of Arkansas for not more than an aggregate $7,500, issued by a general business corporation validly organized and formed under the laws of Arkansas pertaining to domestic corporations. The aggregate liability of the issuer shall not exceed the amount of the bond[i].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-104, the power and authority of a notary public shall be coextensive with the state for swearing witnesses, taking affidavits, taking depositions under Rule 28 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 28 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and taking acknowledgments of deeds and other instruments in writing and authorized by law to be acknowledged.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-107, at the time of notarization, the notary public shall sign his or her official signature in blue or black ink on every notary certificate. Under or near a notary public’s official signature on every notary certificate, the notary public shall provide a seal of his or her office in blue or black ink, which shall be either a rubber stamp seal or a 18 seal embosser. The seal shall be clear and legible and capable of 19 photographic reproduction. The seal shall include:
1) The notary public’s name exactly as he or she writes his or her official signature;
2) The name of the county where the notary public’s bond is filed;
3) The words “notary public” and “Arkansas”;
4) The date upon which the notary public’s commission expires; and
5) The notary public’s commission number issued by the Secretary of State if the notary public has been issued a commission number.
The seal and certificate of the notary public commission are the exclusive property of the notary public and must be kept in the exclusive control of the notary public[iii].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-108, every notary public shall attach to any certificate of acknowledgment or jurat to an affidavit that s/he may make a statement of the date on which his or her commission will expire. Notary public shall not perform any official act after the expiration of his or her commission as evidenced by his or her certificate. 30 calendar days prior to the expiration of a notary public’s commission, s/he shall submit to the Secretary of State a new application along with the fee of $20.00 for the renewal of the commission.
All declarations and protests made and acknowledgments taken by a notary public and certified copies of the notary public’s records and official papers shall be received as evidence of the facts therein stated in all the courts of Arkansas[iv].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-112, the Secretary of State may deny the application of any person for appointment or reappointment or revoke the commission of any notary public during the notary public’s term of appointment if the notary public:
1) Submits an application for commission and appointment that contains substantial and material misstatement or omission of fact;
2) Is convicted of official misconduct;
3) Knowingly uses false or misleading advertising in which the notary public represents that the notary public has powers, duties, rights, or privileges that the notary public does not possess by law;
4) Is found by a court of Arkansas to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law;
5) Is found by a court to have improperly notarized documents according to the law;
6) Is found by a court to have charged fees higher than allowed under § 21-6-309; or
7) Fails to complete the requirements under § 21-14-101.
The Secretary of State may investigate a possible violation of the section upon a signed complaint from any person. After a notary public receives notice from the Secretary of State that the notary public’s commission has been revoked, unless the revocation has been enjoined the notary public shall immediately send or have delivered to the Secretary of State:
1) The notary public’s journal of notarial acts;
2) All other papers and copies relating to the notary public’s notarial acts; and
3) The notary public’s official seal.
A person whose notary public commission has been revoked pursuant to the provisions of this section may subsequently apply for commission and appointment as a notary public after (10) years have elapsed from the date of the revocation.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-113, the notary public may appeal the revocation to the Pulaski County Circuit Court within 30 days after service of the notice of revocation is perfected. The court may summarily order the Secretary of State to reinstate the notary public or take other action the court considers appropriate. The court’s final decision may be appealed as in other civil proceedings[vi].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-202, any notary public may affix a notary certificate bearing the notary public’s facsimile signature and facsimile seal in lieu of the notary public’s manual signature and rubber or embossed seal in blue or black ink on a commercial document, after filing with the Secretary of State:
1) The notary public’s manual signature certified by the notary public under oath;
2) A general description of the types of commercial documents to be notarized by facsimile signature and seal;
3) The name and manual signature of any other person or persons signing the commercial documents by manual or facsimile signature; and
4) The written consent of any other person or persons signing the commercial documents to the use of the notary public’s facsimile signature and facsimile seal on the commercial documents[vii].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-203, any filing by a notary public with the Secretary of State shall remain in effect until the earlier of the date on which the notary public’s commission in effect on the date of filing expires or the filing is cancelled by the notary public by subsequent written filing with the Secretary of State; or the filing is cancelled pursuant to § 21-14-113.
A notary public shall send a signed letter of resignation to the Secretary of State and shall return his or her certificate of notary public commission when the notary public:
1) Wishes to resign his or her commission;
2) Does not maintain legal residence or employment in Arkansas during the entire term of appointment; or3) Is required to resign pursuant to a court order of Arkansas or any other state.
The resigning notary public shall destroy his or her official seal immediately upon resignation[viii].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 21-14-204, a notary public shall have the same duties when affixing a notary certificate with the notary public’s facsimile signature and facsimile seal on a commercial document as when signing a notary certificate with the notary public’s manual signature and rubber or embossed seal.
[i] A.C.A. § 21-14-101.
[ii] A.C.A. § 21-14-105.
[iii] A.C.A. § 21-14-107.
[iv] A.C.A. § 21-14-110.
[v] A.C.A. § 21-14-112.
[vi] A.C.A. § 21-14-113.
[vii] A.C.A. § 21-14-202.
[viii] A.C.A. § 21-14-203.