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State Laws Licensing Process Servers

Rsdaa 14/02/2022 339
I have compiled below a list of those states with statewide licensing laws and those stateshaving cities or other jurisdictions in which some form of regulation has been enacted. Bearin mind that these laws appear in the statutes of the individual states and, with the exceptionof Arizona, do not appear in the state's Rules of Civil Procedure.What follows is my ownsummary of the statutes, which is intended only as a guide to point readers in thedirection of the relevant law. Those states in which authorization to serve is granted byspecial order, standing order, appointment of elisor, or some other form of judicial appointmentare not included.

Gary A. Crowe, Administrator

STATES WITH STATEWIDE LICENSING LAWSALASKAProcess servers are licensed by the Commissioner of Public Safety. A$15,000 surety bond is required to be posted by each process server.The bond applies primarily to theft that may arise out of levies andexecutions. Applicants must pass a written examination.[Alaska Administrative Code, Title 13, section 067.5thru 067.100]ARIZONAArizona has statewide registration of process servers in compliancewith procedures set forth by the Arizona Supreme Court. Applicantsmust be 21 and a bona fide resident for one year immediately precedingapplication. Applicants must pass a written examination.No bonding or insurance required.[Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(e)]CALIFORNIAPersons who serve more than 10 papers a year are required to beregistered in the county in which they operate. Registration is validstatewide. Applicants must be a resident for one year immediatelypreceding filing. Each applicant is required to post a $2,000 bond orcash deposit. No testing or education required. Licensed privateinvestigators, although exempt from the registration requirement,would probably not be empowered to serve bank levies and similardocuments without being registered in view of the statutory language requiring that aregistered process server serve those documents.[California Business and Professions Code §22350 and §22353]ILLINOISThere is no statewide licensing law in Illinois; however, a person licensed in Illinois as a"private detective" may serve original process in all counties except for Cook County withoutspecial appointment. In order for PIs to serve in Cook County, the court upon motion and in itsdiscretion, may appoint a "private detective agency" as a special process server in lieu of anindividual. It is not necessary that service be made only by a sheriff or PI. Private personsover the age of 18, upon motion, may be appointed by the court to serve original process.[Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/2-202]MONTANAAny person who makes more than 10 services of process in any 1 calendar year must be registered.The registration certificate also empowers the process server to act as a levying officer andrequires process servers to have a "surety bond" of $10,000 per individual or $100,000 per firm.Process servers cannot levy on an amount in excess of their bond. Applicants must pass awritten examination based on the Handbook for Process Servers, which is published by the MontanaDepartment of Commerce.[Montana Code Annotated §25-1-1101 and §25-1-1111]NEVADAAll persons who engage in business as a process server must be licensed. Applicants must be 21or over, have 2 years experience as a process server, and have insurance for protection againstliability to third persons with limits of not less than $200,000. No bonding is required.Applicants must deposit $750 at time of application to pay for a background investigation,the cost of which must be paid for by applicant up to a maximum of $1500. Applicants must pass awritten application and may be required to pass an oral examination. Licenses are issued by theNevada Private Investigator's Licensing Board. The most expensive state in the nation in whichto get licensed.[Nevada Revised Statutes §648.110 and §648.135]OKLAHOMAProcess servers are required to be licensed, and all licensees must execute a bond "running tothe State of Oklahoma in the amount of $5,000 for faithful performance of his or her duties..."Applicants may pay a fee of $35 and be licensed to serve process in the county in which thelicense is issued, or applicant may pay a fee of $150 and be licensed statewide. The licensestates that process servers are officers of the court only for the service of process.No testing or education required.[Oklahoma Statutes Annotated §12-158.1]TEXASEffective July 1, 2005, the Texas Supreme Court adopted changes to Rules 103 and 536(a) of theTexas Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP) which pertain to the statewide Certification of processservers. Go to the Texas Supreme Court's website at www.courts.state.tx.us/psrb/psrbhome.asp for afull explanation of the new rules and the procedure for becoming certified in all Texas courts.WASHINGTONA person who serves legal process for a fee in the State of Washington is required to registerwith the auditor of the county in which the process server resides or operates his or herprincipal place of business and pay a $10 fee. No testing and no requirement for insurance orbonding. Easiest and most inexpensive state in which to get a license.[Revised Code of Washington §18.180.010]STATES WITH LOCAL LICENSING LAWSFLORIDASheriffs in certain counties (currently about seven) will appoint individuals as a specialprocess server. Applicants must be at least 18, be a permanent resident of the state,submit to an examination and execute a $5,000 bond.[Florida Statutes § 48.021]The chief judge of each judicial circuit is empowered to certify process servers to serveprocess, and currently judges in approximately 30 counties grant such certifications.The requirements for becoming certified are essentially the same as the requirements for beingappointed a special process server by the sheriff.[Florida Statutes § 48.27 § 48.29]MISSOURICity of St. Louis (22nd Judicial District) (pop. 400,000) requires that all persons who want tobecome process servers must take and pass a training course (5 nights of classroom instructionwith written examination) administered by the Sheriff of the City of St. Louis. Applicants mustbe 21 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED and no criminal record. All process serversare required to have E&O coverage with limits of at least $100,000.NEW YORKCity of New York (pop. 8 million) requires all persons who serve process within its 5 boroughs(Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens) to be licensed through the NYC Department ofConsumer Affairs. There is no requirement for insurance or bonding and no educationalrequirement or testing.[Rules of the City of New York, subchapter W, §2.231, et seq and §20-403, et seq.]


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