Skip to page body Home Information Center Election Center Business Center Licensing Center Securities Center Online Services

Complete FAQs for Registrants

Who is required to register as a document preparation service?

Any person, who, for compensation and at the direction of a client, provides assistance to the client in a legal matter, including:

  • Preparing or completing any pleading, application or other document for the client,
  • Translating the client’s answer to a question posed in such a document,
  • Securing any supporting document, such as a birth certificate, required in connection with the legal matter,
  • Submitting a completed document on behalf of the client to a court or administrative agency.

Document preparation services include preparing documents for any will or trust; any proceeding, filing or action affecting the immigration or citizenship status of a person; or any proceeding filing or action otherwise affecting the legal rights, duties, obligations or liabilities of a person. See NRS 240A.040.

What are the requirements for registration?

Applicant information and history, business information, background check and a cash or surety bond in the amount of $50,000.

What does “compensation” mean?

Compensation means money, property, or anything else of value.

What are the qualifications for an applicant to be registered as a document preparation service?

An individual wishing to register as a document preparation service must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen or legal resident of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Not be currently suspended or been disbarred from the practice of law in any jurisdiction
  • Not have had document preparation registration previously revoked by the Secretary of State
    Not have been previously convicted of a gross misdemeanor pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NS 240A.290
  • In the 10 years immediately preceding the date of application:
    o Not been convicted of a crime involving theft, fraud or dishonesty
    o Not been convicted of the unauthorized practice of law in any jurisdiction
    o Not been adjudged by a court to have committed an act involving theft, fraud or dishonest

Who should register?

Registration applies to an individual not a business. Should there be more than one individual in a business conducting document preparation services, each person who performs document preparation services must register.

I do not own or operate the document preparation service business, I am just an employee. Do I need to register?

Yes, if you meet the requirements above.

What if I am a contract employee, do I need to register?

Yes, if you meet the requirements above.

I own and/or operate a document preparation service business; do I as business owner need to register or do only the people whom I employ as employees or contactors?

You, as the owner, must register. You are also required to ensure that your business satisfies all other state and local business licensing requirements.

Am I required to have a state business license?

All business owners and independent contractors must possess an active state business license. A W-2 Employee is not required to possess a state business license.

Does the registrant have to display the state business license?

Yes, each registrant must display conspicuously in the place of business a copy of the State business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by the Secretary of State and any business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by a local government in this State.

What are the requirements for registration?

Applicant information and history, business information, background check and a cash or surety bond in the amount of $50,000.

Is there an application fee?

No, there is no application fee. Applicants will be responsible for any costs for fingerprinting and background check as well as the costs for obtaining a surety bond.


Is a background check required as part of the application process?

Yes, it is mandatory. You must submit your fingerprints to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History. Once you submit your application, you will be provided instructions as to how to submit your fingerprints. Failure to follow these instructions may result in your fingerprint application being rejected and will delay the process reviewing your application for registration. It may take 6-8 weeks for the fingerprinting/background check to be completed. For additional information relating to fingerprints, please visit http://nvrepository.state.nv.us/criminal.shtml.  

Am I required to have a state business license?

All business owners and independent contractors must possess an active state business license. A W-2 Employee is not required to possess a state business license.

Does a registrant have to display the state business license?

Yes, each registrant must display conspicuously in the place of business a copy of the State business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by the Secretary of State and any business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by a local government in this State.

How do I file my application for registration?

The application must be completed and submitted online. The application can be found at nvsos.gov under the Licensing Center. It is important that you review the requirements of licensure before beginning the application process so that you can complete all the required fields.

You will need to first create a secure login.

How do I create a log-in?

Click on this link to create new login account. Fill in your requested user account information and click the Save button. Next, go to your email account. You will receive a notice from the Secretary of State’s office (SOSWebAccountNotifier@sos.nv.gov) that your account needs to be activated. (Hint, if you don’t see an email in your inbox, check your junk or spam folder), then click Activate My Account.

You are now ready to log into the Document Preparation Services Online registration Application using your email and password.

How long does it take to process my application for registration?

It can take 8-10 weeks to process an application depending on volume of applications and completeness of applications. The fingerprinting/background check portion of the application process may take 45 days to process once received by the Repository.

I submitted my application online, what do I do next?

Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email that your application has been received. This email will contain instructions on how to submit your fingerprints to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History.

Where can I get my fingerprints done?

You can use either a Law enforcement fingerprinting site or a private fingerprinting site. Click here to see the list of sites.

What documents do I need to get my fingerprints done and submitted?

You must complete a Fingerprint Request form and bring with you to the fingerprinting site. Click here to access form.

What does the fingerprint card look like? Is specific information required?

Yes, specific information is required on the fingerprint card in order to make sure it is process correctly. Click here to download a sample card with the required information.

Where do I send the fingerprint card and payment for processing?

Once your fingerprints are completed, send the fingerprint card AND payment by money order or cashier's check for $40.00 (only if the place of business where you had your fingerprints taken does not include the $40.00 for the Department in their fees) made payable to the Department of Public Safety Records Bureau to:

Department of Public Safety
General Services Division
Attn: Fingerprint Support Unit
333 West Nye Lane, Suite 100
Carson City, Nevada 89706

If any of the above items are missing or incomplete, the request will not be processed and will cause delays or rejection of your application.

What forms of payment can I use to submit my fingerprints the Department of Public Safety?

If the place of business where you have your fingerprints taken does include the Department of Public Safety’s processing fee of $40.00, do not send additional payment. If the place of business where you have your fingerprints taken does NOT include the Department of Public Safety’s processing fee of $40.00 with their fees, send the fingerprint card AND payment by money order or cashier’s check for $40.00 to the Department of Public Safety.  The Department will only accept payment by money order or cashier’s check made payable to the Department of Public Safety Records Bureau in the amount of $40.00 (forty dollars).

What is the total cost of fingerprinting?

There are two costs fingerprinting and processing. The Department of Public Safety charges $40.00 for processing a fingerprint card. The other cost, the administrative fee for getting your fingerprints, is set by the individual fingerprinting sites.

When should an applicant for registration as a document preparation service obtain and submit the required $50,000 surety bond or cash bond?

Once your application has been preliminarily approved, you will receive an email from the Office of the Secretary of State stating that review of your application is complete and in order to be issues a Certificate of Registration, you must submit either a $50,000 surety bond or a $50,000 cash bond.

How do I obtain a surety bond?

We recommend you contact your insurance agent for assistance and guidance in obtaining a surety bond. The bond must be executed by the registrant as principal and by a surety company qualified and authorized to do business in this State.

Is there anything in particular about the surety bond that I must provide to the surety company or insurance agent?

Yes, Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 240A.120 provides specifics regarding the bond. It states that a registrant shall file with the Secretary of State a cash bond or surety bond in the penal sum of $50,000 which is conditioned to provide: 
    (a) Indemnification to a client or any other person who is determined in an action or proceeding to have suffered damage as a result of: 
        (1) An act or omission of the registrant, or an agent or employee of the registrant, which violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation or order adopted or issued pursuant thereto; 
        (2) A wrongful failure or refusal by the registrant, or an agent or employee of the registrant, to provide services in accordance with a contract entered into pursuant to NRS 240A.190
        (3) The fraud, dishonesty, negligence or other wrongful conduct of the registrant or an agent or employee of the registrant; or 
        (4) An act or omission of the registrant in violation of any other federal or state law for which the return of fees, an award of damages or the imposition of sanctions have been awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction in this State; or 
    (b) Payment to the Secretary of State for any civil penalty or award of attorney’s fees or costs of suit owing and unpaid by the registrant to the Secretary of State pursuant to this chapter.

What is the cost of the surety bond?

The Secretary of State does not regulate the price for securing a bond. The price is set by the marketplace and the surety companies who issue the bonds.

How long is the bond in effect?

The bond must cover the period of the registration of the registrant, except when the surety is released in accordance with this section. A registrant must maintain a bond while the registration is in effect or while a proceeding to suspend or revoke a registration is pending.

What happens if the bond is exhausted?

If the penal sum of the bond is exhausted, the surety shall give written notice to the Secretary of State and the registrant within 30 days after its exhaustion.

When may a bond be released?

The surety may be released after giving 30 days’ written notice to the Secretary of State and the registrant, but the release does not discharge or otherwise affect any claim resulting from an act or omission which is alleged to have occurred while the bond was in effect.

What if I don’t wish to purchase or cannot get a surety bond?

In lieu of the surety bond requirement, a registrant may deposit fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in cash (cash bond) with the Secretary of State’s office.

What is the requirement for payment of a cash bond?

If a registrant wants to file a cash bond, you must submit cashier’s check in the full amount of $50,000 payable to the State of Nevada, Office of the Secretary of State. Along with the cash bond, you must submit a Cash Bond deposit form. Click here to open the form.

If I file a cash bond and I am no longer registered, how long does the State retain the bond before it can be released?

The Secretary of State may retain the bond until the expiration of 3 years after the date the registrant has ceased to do business, or 3 years after the date of the expiration or revocation of the registration, to ensure that there are no outstanding claims against the bond. A court of competent jurisdiction may order the return of the bond, or any part of the bond, at an earlier date upon evidence satisfactory to the court that there are no outstanding claims against the bond or that the part of the bond retained by the Secretary of State is sufficient to satisfy any outstanding claims.

Do I earn interest on the cash bond?

Yes, if a registrant files a cash bond, any interest accrued on the cash bond must accrue to the account of the depositor.

If my bond is canceled, exhausted or released, how is my registration affected?

The registration of a registrant is suspended by operation of law when he or she is no longer covered by a bond or the penal sum of the bond is exhausted. If the Secretary of State receives notice pursuant to subsection 3 that the penal sum of a surety bond is exhausted or that the surety is being released, the Secretary of State shall immediately notify the registrant in writing that his or her registration is suspended by operation of law until another bond is filed in the same manner and amount as the former bond.

Why do I have to provide information regarding child support?

Nevada revised statutes Chapter 240A.140 meets the State’s requirement to comply with federal law. 42 U.S.C. § 666, requires each state to establish procedures for withholding, suspending and restricting the professional, occupational and recreational licenses for child support arrearages and for noncompliance with certain processes relating to paternity or child support proceedings.

What if I fail to provide this information?

You application will be rejected.

Can my registration be suspended if I am found to be in violation for failure to pay child support or comply with certain subpoenas or warrant?

Yes, if the Secretary of state receives a copy of a court order that provides for the suspension of all profession, occupational and recreational licenses, certificates or permits issues to a natural person who is a registrant, the office shall suspend the registration at the end of the 30th day after the date on which the court order was issued unless the Secretary of State receives a letter issued the registrant by the district attorney or other public agency stating that the registrant has complied with the subpoena or warrant or has satisfied the arrearage.

Will I receive a registration number?

Yes. If an applicant is approved as a document preparation service, he or she will be issued a Certificate of Registration which will contain a unique number.

Can I be denied from registering or my application be rejected?

Yes. If a review of your application and background check reveals that the applicant has failed to demonstrate having met the requisite requirements of NRS Chapter 240A .100 and the Nevada Administrative Code 240A. The Secretary of State’s office will provide the applicant with a written notice indicating the reason for denial.

If I am approved for registration, how long is my registration good for?

If granted, a certificate of registration shall be effective for a period of one year. Thereafter, a registrant shall file a renewal application annually.

When must I submit my application to renew the certificate of registration?

You must submit your renewal application at least 30 days prior to the date of expiration.

Is there a grace period for submitting renewal application?

No, per the Nevada Administrative Code 240A, a registrant who fails to renew his or her certificate is not authorized to engage in the business as a document preparation service after the expiration of the certificate. If a person is found to be conducting a document preparation service with an expired certificate, he or she is subject to penalties prescribed in NRS 240A.290.

What happens if I don’t register? Are there any penalties?

Yes, if the Secretary of State obtains information that a provision of this chapter or regulation or order adopted or issued has been violated by a registrant or another person the office may conduct an investigation of the violation. The violator may be subject to the penalties prescribed in NRS 240A.260-290.

Are there any conditions under which my registration can be suspended or revoked?

Yes. The Secretary of State can revoke or suspend the registration of any person who violates a provision NRS 240A or a regulation or order adopted or issued. A suspension or revocation may be imposed only after a hearing. However, the Secretary of State shall immediately revoke the registration of a registrant upon the receipt of an official document or record showing: the entry of a judgment or conviction; or the occurrence of any other event that would disqualify the registrant from registration pursuant to subsection 2 of NRS 240A.100.

Does a registrant need to display his or her Certificate of Registration?

Yes. Each registrant must display conspicuously in his or her place of business a copy of his or her certificate of registration and a written notice. The notice must be:

  • Be not less than 12 by 20 inches in size, and each character of text in the notice must be not less than 1 inch in height and 1 inch in width.
  • Be written in English and in each other language in which the registrant transacts business with the registrant’s clients.
  • Contain a statement that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person.
  • Contain the full name of the registrant or, if more than one registrant is providing services at that place of business, the full name of each such registrant.
  • Contain a list of the services provided by the registrant and the fee charged for each such service.
  • Contain a statement that the registrant has filed with the Secretary of State a cash bond or surety bond, stating the amount and any identifying number of the bond.

Does a registrant have to display the state business license?

Yes, each registrant must display conspicuously in the place of business a copy of the State business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by the Secretary of State and any business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by a local government in this State.

Are there any conditions under which my registration can be suspended or revoked?

Yes. The Secretary of State can revoke or suspend the registration of any person who violates a provision NRS 240A or a regulation or order adopted or issued. A suspension or revocation may be imposed only after a hearing. However, the Secretary of State shall immediately revoke the registration of a registrant upon the receipt of an official document or record showing: the entry of a judgment or conviction; or the occurrence of any other event that would disqualify the registrant from registration pursuant to subsection 2 of NRS 240A.100.

Is a document preparation service required to enter into a contract with a client?

Yes. NRS 240A.190 requires that be a registrant provide any services to a client the registrant and client must enter into a written contract. The registrant must provide the client with a copy of the contract.

What does the contract require?

The contract must:

  • Be written in English and, if different, in the language in which the registrant transacts business with the client, and be printed or typewritten in not less than 12-point type.
  • Explain the services to be performed by the registrant and state the total price to be paid by the client for all such services.
  • With respect to any document to be prepared by the registrant:
    State the estimated date by which the document is to be completed; identify the court or agency with which the document is to be filed or submitted; and if applicable, identify any associated deadlines or hearing dates of the court or agency with which the document is to be filed or submitted.
  • Include on the first page of the contract a statement in boldface type that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person.
  • Include a statement that any complaint concerning the registrant may be directed to:
    (1) If the complaint involves an alleged violation of this chapter, the Secretary of State; or
    (2) If the complaint involves an allegation that the registrant is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, the office of Bar Counsel of the State Bar of Nevada, with the toll-free telephone number and Internet address for making the complaint.
  • State the date of the client’s signature on the contract, if the client agrees to the terms of the contract.

What is the toll free number for the Secretary of State that must be printed on the contract?

The toll free number is 1(800)450-8594 (Option 6).

What is the toll free number and Internet address of the State Bar of Nevada required in the contract?

The State Bar’s toll free number is 1 (800) 254-2797. The internet address is www.nvbar.org.  

Is a contract ever voidable?

A contract between a registrant and a client that does not comply with any requirement of NRS 240A.190 is voidable by the client.

Is there a standard contract or contract template a registrant can use?

No. The State does not provide a standard contract or template. It is the responsibility of the document preparation service to develop a contract that meets the statutory requirements. It is recommended that a registrant consult with legal counsel to assist in the development of a contract that meets the statutory requirements.

What are the consequences of not complying with the contract requirement?

If the Secretary of State obtains information that a provision of this chapter or regulation or order adopted or issue has been violated by a registrant or another person the office may conduct an investigation of the violation. The violator may be subject to the penalties prescribed in NRS 240A.260-290.

As a document preparation service, do I need to provide any information on documents prepared for the client?

Yes, NRS 240A.200 requires that any document prepared by a registrant for a client must contain the registrant’s name, business address and telephone number and registration number and should be placed below any required signature of the client.

As a document preparation service, am I required to make any disclosures to the client before engaging in service?

Yes. Before providing any services to a client or presenting a client with the required contract, a registrant must provide the client with a written form of disclosure containing the following the requirements:

  • The full name, business address and telephone number and registration number of the registrant.
  • The name and business address of the registrant’s agent for service of process, if any, in this State.
  • A statement that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person.
  • Unless the registrant is an attorney licensed to practice in another state or other jurisdiction, a statement that any communication between the client and the registrant is not protected from disclosure by any privilege.
  • A statement that the registrant has posted or filed with the Secretary of State a cash bond or surety bond, stating the amount of the bond and any identifying number of the bond.
  • The expiration date of:
    The state business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by the Secretary of and any business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by a local government in this State.
  • The disclosure must be written in English and, if different, the language in which the registrant transacts business with the client.

Does the client have to sign the disclosure statement and do I as registrant need to provide the client a copy?

Yes, the client is required to read and sign the disclosure, acknowledging that he or she has read and understands it. The client must be provided a copy to retain.

Are there certain things that registrants are prohibited from doing?

Yes, NRS 240A.240 specifies prohibited acts. These include:

After the date of the last service performed for a client, retain any fees or costs for services not performed or costs not incurred. 
    2. Make, orally or in writing: 
        (a) A promise of the result to be obtained by the filing or submission of any document, unless the registrant has some basis in fact for making the promise; 
        (b) A statement that the registrant has some special influence with or is able to obtain special treatment from the court or agency with which a document is to be filed or submitted; or 
        (c) A false or misleading statement to a client if the registrant knows that the statement is false or misleading or knows that the registrant lacks a sufficient basis for making the statement. 
    3. In any advertisement or written description of the registrant or the services provided by the registrant, or on any letterhead or business card of the registrant, use the term “legal aid,” “legal services,” “law office,” “notary public,” “notary,” “licensed,” “attorney,” “lawyer” or any similar term, in English or in any other language, which implies that the registrant: 
        (a) Offers services without charge if the registrant does not do so; or 
        (b) Is an attorney authorized to practice law in this State. 
    4. Negotiate with another person concerning the rights or responsibilities of a client, communicate the position of a client to another person or convey the position of another person to a client. 
    5. Appear on behalf of a client in a court proceeding or other formal adjudicative proceeding, unless the registrant is ordered to appear by the court or presiding officer. 
    6. Provide any advice, explanation, opinion or recommendation to a client about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or the selection of documents or strategies, except that a registrant may provide to a client published factual information, written or approved by an attorney, relating to legal procedures, rights or obligations. 
    7. Seek or obtain from a client a waiver of any provision of this chapter. Any such waiver is contrary to public policy and void.

In advertising a document preparation service are there any specifics requirements? What are they?

Yes. Any advertisement for the services of a registrant which the registrant disseminates or causes to be disseminated must include a clear and conspicuous statement that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person.

This statement required must be included in any printed material, social media account, television broadcast, Internet website or other electronic media which contains a promotion or advertisement of the document preparation services or related services provided by the registrant. Statement must be

  • in the same language as the rest of the advertisement;
  • sufficiently large as to be read easily;
  • printed in a color that allows the statement to be clearly legible, including, without limitation, black or blue on a white background; and
  • contain the number of the certificate of registration issued to the registrant

If an advertisement for the services of a registrant is conducted in a purely verbal form without any visual component, the statement must be clearly articulated and the advertisement must provide the name of the registrant and his or her registration number.

A person shall not disseminate any advertisement or other statement that he or she is engaged in the business of a document preparation service in this State unless he or she has complied with all the applicable requirements of NRS Chapter 240A.

What are the duties of a registrant with regard to the client’s documents?

The registrant shall take reasonable measures to safeguard from loss or damage any document provided to the registrant by a client in connection with services rendered by the registrant. The registrant shall immediately return to a client any original document provided by the client: 
    (a) Upon the request of the client; 
    (b) If the contract required by NRS 240A.190 is not signed or is canceled for any reason; or 
    (c) If the document is no longer needed for the services rendered by the registrant.

An exception to the above is that if a copy of any original document provided by a client is sufficient for the purposes of a legal matter, the registrant can make a copy of the original document and must immediately return the original to the client.

If there is a dispute over fees or costs between the registrant and the client, can the registrant retain the client’s documents?

No, the duties of a registrant as they pertain to a client’s documents are not affected by a dispute existing between the registrant and the client over the registrant’s fees or costs.

Is a registrant allowed to provide legal advice?

No, a registrant cannot provide legal advice unless the person is a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada.

Can a document preparation service/registrant use or advertises services as a Notario?

No, not unless the person providing the document preparation services is a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada.

I am registered as a document preparation service and also hold a current notary public appointment in the State of Nevada, can I use the term Notario?

No, not unless you are a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada. NRS 240.085 states that a notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State shall not use the term “notario,” “notario publico” or any other equivalent non-English term in any form of communication that advertises his or her services as a notary public, including, without limitation, a business card, stationery, notice and sign.

As a document preparation service/registrant who is also notary public appointed by the State of Nevada, can I advertise my services as a notary in a language other than English?

NRS 240.085 requires that any notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State and who advertises his or her services as a notary public in a language other than English by any form of communication, except a single plaque on his or her desk, shall post or otherwise include with the advertisement a notice in the language in which the advertisement appears. The notice must be of a conspicuous size, if in writing, and must appear in substantially the following form:

I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY IN THE STATE OF NEVADA. I AM NOT LICENSED TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE. I MAY NOT ACCEPT FEES FOR GIVING LEGAL ADVICE

Are there penalties for violating the above provisions in NRS 240.085?

Yes, if the Secretary of State finds a notary public guilty of violations in NRS 240.085, the notary public’s appointment may be suspended for not less than 1 year or his or her appointment revoked for a third or subsequent offense. A notary public who is found guilty in a criminal prosecution for violating NRS. 240.085 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000.

What if a complaint is filed against me as a document preparation service?

You will receive a letter from the Secretary of State’s office detailing the allegations and will be provided an opportunity to respond. You will have 15 days to respond and provide any documentation in your response. Based on your response or failure to respond, the Secretary of State’s office will determine whether further investigation is warranted or if the complaint is dismissed, you will be notified.

Where can I review the law and the corresponding regulations?

The law is in the Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 240A.  The regulations have been approved but are not yet codified in the Nevada Administrative Code.  The approved regulations are currently in the Nevada Register as R136-13A.


 

Last updated: 7/1/2014 3:31:08 PM