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Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure

Does a process server have to be licensed in Missouri?

No. There are no state licensing requirements, but the city of St. Louis has local requirements. Visit ServeNow.com’s Become a Process Server page for more information.

Missouri Process Server Requirements

City of St. Louis (22nd Judicial District) requires that all persons who want to become process servers must take and pass a training course (5 nights of classroom instruction with written examination) administered by the Sheriff of the City of St. Louis. Applicants must be 21 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED and no criminal record. All process servers are required to have E&O coverage with limits of at least $100,000.

Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure

Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Missouri and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Missouri Legislature web site.

Rule 54.01 Clerk to Issue Process – Separate or Additional Summons

Upon the filing of a pleading requiring service of process, the clerk shall forthwith issue the required summons or other process and, unless otherwise provided, deliver it for service to the sheriff or other person specially appointed to serve it. If requested in writing by the party whose pleading requires service of process, the clerk shall deliver the summons or other process to such party who shall then be responsible for promptly serving it with a copy of the pleading. Upon written request of such party, separate or additional summons and other process shall be issued. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1. 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.02 Summons Shall be Signed by Clerk

The summons shall be signed by the clerk, dated the day it is issued, be under the seal of the court, contain the name of the court and the names of the parties, and be directed to the defendant, stating the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney, if any; otherwise the plaintiff’s address. It also shall state the time within which and the place where the defendant is required to appear and defend as provided by law and shall notify the defendant that in case of failure to do so judgment by default will be entered against the defendant for the relief demanded in the petition. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended Sept. 28, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 This is substantially the same as prior Rule 54.02. Compare: Rule 4(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 54.03 Service of Process Within the State – By Whom [Repealed]

Repealed. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973; repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.04 Summons – Service

A copy of the summons and petition shall be served together except when service is by publication. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973.) Committee Note – 1974 The source is prior Rule 54.04. A substantial part of the prior rule was deleted because official forms make the deleted language unnecessary. Compare: Rule 4(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

RULE 54.05 DEPUTIES ACTING FOR CLERK OR SHERIFF

A deputy clerk or deputy sheriff shall have the same authority as the clerk or sheriff, respectively, to do any act which this Rule 54 authorizes the clerk or sheriff to do. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973.) Committee Note – 1974 This is substantially the same as prior Rule 54.05. Compare: Rules 4 (c) and 45 (c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 54.06 Service Outside the State on Persons, Firms or Corporations Who do Certain Acts in This State

In civil actions in which service of process may be obtained under the provision of sections 506.200 to 506.310, 506.330, or 506.340, RSMo, service of process may be made as provided in Rule 54.14 or Rule 54.15 or Rule 54.16. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994; amended May 27, 1999, effective January 1, 2000.)

Rule 54.09 Service of Foreign Corporations

In civil actions in which the service of process may be obtained under the provisions of section 351.380, RSMo, service of process may be made as provided in Rule 54.14 or Rule 54.16. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.10 Service on Insurance Companies Not Authorized to do Business in This State

In civil actions in which service of process may be obtained under the provisions of section 375.256, RSMo, service of process may be made as provided in Rule 54.14 or Rule 54.15 or Rule 54.16. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.11 Service on Resident or Nonresident Motor Carrier

In civil actions in which service of process may be obtained under the provisions of section 508.070, RSMo, service of process may be made as provided in Rule 54.14 or Rule 54.15 or Rule 54.16. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.12 Service – In Rem or Quasi In Rem Civil Actions

Service, Generally.

In civil actions affecting a fund, will, trust, estate, specific property, or any interest therein, or any res or status within the jurisdiction of the court, service of process may be made as provided in Rule 54.13 or Rule 54.14, or as otherwise provided in this Rule 54.12.

Service by Mail.

A party requesting service by registered or certified mail shall file an affidavit made by the party or by someone on behalf of the party, stating:

Service by Publication.

Rule 54.13 Personal Service Within the State

By Whom Made.

Service of process within the state, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be made by the sheriff or a person over the age of 18 years who is not a party to the action.

How and on Whom Made.

Personal service within the state shall be made as follows:

p(#acknowledgment), Acknowledgment of Service.

When a defendant shall acknowledge in writing, endorsed on the process, signed by the defendant’s own proper signature, the service of such process, and waive the necessity of the service thereof by an officer, such acknowledgment shall be deemed as valid as service in the manner provided by law. Acknowledgment of service by mail may also be made as provided in Rule 54.16.

Where Process May Be Served in This State.

All process issued for service within this state may be served anywhere within the state and may be forwarded to the sheriff of any county for the purpose of service. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.14 Personal Service Outside the State

By Whom Made.

Personal service outside the state shall be made:

Upon Whom.

The service of process shall be made as provided in Rule 54.13(b).

Acknowledgment.

Acknowledgment of service by mail may be made as provided in Rule 54.16. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.15 Service on Secretary of State, Secretary of Public Service Commission and Director of Insurance

Service of Process.

Service of process on the secretary of state, secretary of the public service commission or director of insurance shall be made by serving a copy of the summons and petition, together with any remittance fixed by statute, on the respective official. The service of process shall be made as provided in Rule 54.13 or Rule 54.16.

Notice to Defendant.

The secretary of state, secretary of the public service commission or director of the department of insurance shall forthwith mail to the defendant at the defendant’s last known address a copy of such service and a copy of the summons and petition. The mailing shall be by registered or certified mail requesting a return receipt signed by addressee only.

Form of Notice.

The notice provided for in Rule 54.15 (b) shall be in substantially the following form:

To _(here insert the name of the defendant and defendant’s last known address.)
(appropriate official) (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.16 Acknowledgement of Service by Mail

Service of the summons and petition upon a resident or nonresident defendant of any class referred to in Rule 54.13(b)(1) (2) or (3) may be made by mailing a copy of the summons and petition by first class mail, postage prepaid, to the person to be served, together with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment conforming substantially to Civil Procedure Form 4B or Civil Procedure Form 4C and a return envelope, postage prepaid addressed to the sender. If no acknowledgment of service under this Rule 54.16 is completed and returned to the sender, service of the summons and petition shall be made as otherwise provided by statute or rule. Unless good cause is shown for not doing so, the court shall order the payment of costs of service on the person served if such person does not complete and return within thirty days after mailing, the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973. Amended June 14, 1988, effective Jan. 1, 1989; June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.) Committee Note – 1974 [Repealed] (Repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.17 Service by Publication [Repealed]

Repealed. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973; repealed June 1, 1993, effective Jan. 1, 1994.)

Rule 54.18 Service Authorized by Statue

Where a statute contains provisions for a method of service, service may be made pursuant to the provisions of the statute or as provided by these Rules. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973.) Committee Note – 1974 This is new.

Rule 54.19 Provisions No Bar to Personal Service in State

The foregoing provisions relative to service of process in suits against non-residents do not prevent personal service in the state upon a non-resident. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973.) Committee Note – 1974 This is substantially the same as prior Rule 54.18.

Rule 54.20 Proof of Service

Rule 54.21 Time for Service and Return

The officer or other person receiving a summons or other process shall serve the same and make return of service promptly. If the process cannot be served it shall be returned to the court within thirty days after the date of issue with a statement of the reason for the failure to serve the same; provided, however, that the time for service thereof may be extended up to ninety days from the date of issue by order of the court. (Adopted Jan. 19, 1973, effective Sept. 1, 1973.) Committee Note – 1974 This is substantially the same as prior Rule 54.10 (d). Compare: Rule 4(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 54.22 Court May Allow Process, Return of Proof of Service to be Amended, When

Rule 57.09 Subpoena for Taking Deposition

You should contact an Missouri Process Server if you have specific questions about Process Serving in Missouri.