Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
Does a process server have to be licensed in Texas?
No, but they must be certified to serve process.
Texas Process Serving Requirements
- Texas process servers are monitored by a Process Server Certification Board
- Process Servers may be serving process once they receive their certification card
New Fingerprinting Requirements
- On September 1, 2014, new electronic fingerprinting requirements took effect for Certified Process Servers.
- All new Certified Process Server applicants and those Certified Process Servers renewing after September 1, 2014, will be required to obtain electronic fingerprinting through the Texas Department of Public Safety, Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) Program, starting on September 1, 2014.
- The one-time cost for this fingerprinting service is a $41.45 fee for the State and National Criminal History Record Information. For new applicants, please refer to the Initial Certification page of our website. For those renewing current certifications, please refer to the Renewals page of our website.
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Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Texas 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 Texas Courts website.
Rule 6. Suits Commenced on Sunday
No civil suit shall be commenced nor process issued or served on Sunday, except in cases of injunction, attachment, garnishment, sequestration, or distress proceedings, provided that citation by publication published on Sunday shall be valid. (Amended Oct. 3, 1972, eff. Feb. 1, 1973.)
Rule 15. Writs and Process
The style of all writs and process shall be “The State of Texas;” and unless otherwise specially provided by law or these rules every such writ and process shall be directed to any sheriff or any constable within the State of Texas, shall be made returnable on the Monday next after expiration of twenty days from the date of service thereof, and shall be dated and attested by the clerk with the seal of the court impressed thereon; and the date of issuance shall be noted thereon.
Rule 16. Shall Endorse All Process
Every officer or authorized person shall endorse on all process and precepts coming to his hand the day and hour on which he received them, the manner in which he executed them, and the time and place the process was served and shall sign the returns officially. (Amended July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.)
Rule 17. Officer to Execute Process
Except where otherwise expressly provided by law or these rules, the officer receiving any process to be executed shall not be entitled in any case to demand his fee for executing the same in advance of such execution, but his fee shall be taxed and collected as other costs in the case.July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.)
Rule 103. Who May Serve
Process—including citation and other notices, writs, orders, and other papers issued by the court—may be served anywhere by (1) any sheriff or constable or other person authorized by law, (2) any person authorized by law or by written order of the court who is not less than eighteen years of age, or (3) any person certified under order of the Supreme Court. Service by registered or certified mail and citation by publication must, if requested, be made by the clerk of the court in which the case is pending. But no person who is a party to or interested in the outcome of a suit may serve any process in that suite, and, unless otherwise authorized by a written court order, only a sheriff or constable may serve a citation in an action of forcible entry and detainer, a writ that requires the actual taking of possession of a person, property or thing, or process requiring that an enforcement action be physically enforced by the person delivery the process. The order authorizing a person to serve process may be made without written motion and no fee may be imposed for issuance of such order. (Amended June 10, 1980, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; October 7, 2004, eff. July 1, 2005)
Rule 105. Duty of Officer or Person Receiving
The officer or authorized person to whom process is delivered shall endorse thereon the day and hour on which he received it, and shall execute and return the same without delay. (Amended July 11, 1977, eff. Jan. 1, 1978; July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.)
Rule 106. Method of Service
- (a) Unless the citation or court order otherwise directs, the citation must be served by:
(1) delivering to the defendant, in person, a copy of the citation, showing the delivery date, and of the petition; or
(2) mailing to the defendant by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the citation and of the petition.
- (b) Upon motion supported by a statement-sworn to before a notary or made under penalty of perjury-listing any location where the defendant can probably be found and stating specifically the facts showing that service has been attempted under (a)(1) or (a)(2) at the location named in the statement but has not been successful, the court may authorize service:
(1) by leaving a copy of the citation and of the petition with anyone older than sixteen at the location specified in the statement; or
(2) in any other manner, including electronically by social media, email, or other technology, that the statement or other evidence shows will be reasonably effective to give the defendant notice of the suit.
Tex. R. Civ. P. 106
Rule 107. Return of Service
(a) The officer or authorized person executing the citation must complete a return of service. The return may, but need not, be endorsed on or attached to the citation.
(b) The return, together with any documents to which it is attached, must include the following information:
(1) the cause number and case name;
(2) the court in which the case is filed;
(3) a description of what was served;
(4) the date and time the process was received for service;
(5) the person or entity served;
(6) the address served;
(7) the date of service or attempted service;
(8) the manner of delivery of service or attempted service;
(9) the name of the person who served or attempted to serve the process;
(10) if the person named in (9) is a process server certified under order of the Supreme Court, his or her identification number and the expiration date of his or her certification; and
(11) any other information required by rule or law.
(c) When the citation was served by registered or certified mail as authorized by Rule 106, the return by the officer or authorized person must also contain the return receipt with the addressee’s signature.
(d) When the officer or authorized person has not served the citation, the return shall show the diligence used by the officer or authorized person to execute the same and the cause of failure to execute it, and where the defendant is to be found, if ascertainable.
(e) The officer or authorized person who serves or attempts to serve a citation must sign the return. If the return is signed by a person other than a sheriff, constable, or the clerk of the court, the return must either be verified or be signed under penalty of perjury. A return signed under penalty of perjury must contain the statement below in substantially the following form:
“My name is ___(First) (Middle) (Last)___, my date of birth is _______________, and my address is ___(Street)____, ___(City)___, ____(State)____, ___(Zip Code)___, and ___(Country)___. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed in ___________County, State of __________, on the _____ day of __(Month)__, __(Year)__. ______________(Declarant)_______________.”
(f) Where citation is executed by an alternative method as authorized by Rule 106, proof of service shall be made in the manner ordered by the court.
(g) The return and any document to which it is attached must be filed with the court and may be filed electronically or by facsimile, if those methods of filing are available.
(h) No default judgment shall be granted in any cause until proof of service as provided by this rule or by Rules 108 or 108a, or as ordered by the court in the event citation is executed by an alternative method under Rule 106, shall have been on file with the clerk of the court ten days, exclusive of the day of filing and the day of judgment.
(Amended July 11, 1977, eff. Jan. 1, 1978; June 10, 1980, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; April 24, 1990, eff. Sept. 1, 1990; October 7, 2004, eff. July 1, 2005)
Rule 108a. Service of Process in Foreign Countries
- Manner. Service of process may be effected upon a party in a foreign count if service of the citation and petition is made: (a) in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or (b) as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or a letter of request; or (c) in the manner provided by Rule 106; or (d) pursuant to the terms and provisions of any applicable treaty or convention; or (e) by diplomatic or consular officials when authorized by the United States Department of State; or (f) by any other means directed by the court that is not prohibited by the law of the country where service is to be made. The method for service of process in a foreign country must be reasonably calculated, under all of the circumstances, to give actual notice of the proceedings to the defendant in time to answer and defend. A defendant served with process under this rule shall be required to appear and answer in the same manner and time and under the same penalties as if he had been personally served with citation Within this state to the full extent that he may be required to appear and answer under the Constitution of the United States or under any applicable convention or treaty in an action either in rem or in personam.
- Return. Proof of service may be made as prescribed by the law of the foreign country, by order of the court, by Rule 107, or by a method provided in any applicable treaty or convention. (Added Dec. 5, 1983, eff. April 1, 1984.)
Rule 176. Subpoenas
Every subpoena must be issued in the name of “The State of Texas” and must:
- state the style of the suit and its cause number;
- state the court in which the suit is pending;
- state the date on which the subpoena is issued;
- identify the person to whom the subpoena is directed;
- state the time, place, and nature of the action required by the person to whom the subpoena is directed, as provided in Rule 176.2;
- identify the party at whose instance the subpoena is issued, and the party’s attorney of record, if any;
- state the text of Rule 176.8(a); and
- be signed by the person issuing the subpoena.
176.2 Required Actions.
A subpoena must command the person to whom it is directed to do either or both of the following:
- attend and give testimony at a deposition, hearing, or trial;
- produce and permit inspection and copying of designated documents or tangible things in the possession, custody, or control of that person.
Rule 176.3 Limitations.
- Range. A person may not be required by subpoena to appear or produce documents or other things in a county that is more than 150 miles from where the person resides or is served. However, a person whose appearance or production at a deposition may be compelled by notice alone under Rules 199.3 or 200.2 may be required to appear and produce documents or other things at any location permitted under Rules 199.2(b)(2).
- Use for Discovery. A subpoena may not be used for discovery to an extent, in a manner, or at a time other than as provided by the rules governing discovery.
Rule 176.4 Who May Issue.
A subpoena may be issued by:
- the clerk of the appropriate district, county, or justice court, who must provide the party requesting the subpoena with an original and a copy for each witness to be completed by the party;
- an attorney authorized to practice in the State of Texas, as an officer of the court; or
- an officer authorized to take depositions in this State, who must issue the subpoena immediately on a request accompanied by a notice to take a deposition under Rules 199 or 200, or a notice under Rule 205.3, and who may also serve the notice with the subpoena.
Rule 176.5 Service.
- Manner of Service. A subpoena may be served at any place within the State of Texas by any sheriff or constable of the State of Texas, or any person who is not a party and is 18 years of age or older. A subpoena must be served by delivering a copy to the witness and tendering to that person any fees required by law. If the witness is a party and is represented by an attorney of record in the proceeding, the subpoena may be served on the witness’s attorney of record.
- Proof of Service. Proof of service must be made by filing either:
- the witness’s signed written memorandum attached to the subpoena showing that the witness accepted the subpoena; or
- a statement by the person who made the service stating the date, time, and manner of service, and the name of the person served.
Rule 176.6 Response.
- Compliance Required. Except as provided in this subdivision, a person served with a subpoena must comply with the command stated therein unless discharged by the court or by the party summoning such witness. A person commanded to appear and give testimony must remain at the place of deposition hearing, or trial from day to day until discharged by the court or by the party summoning the witness.
- Organizations. If a subpoena commanding testimony is directed to a corporation, partnership, association, governmental agency, or other organization, and the matters on which examination is requested are described with reasonable particularity, the organization must designate one or more persons to testify on its behalf as to matters known or reasonably available to the organization.
- Production of Documents or Tangible Things. A person commanded to produce documents or tangible things need not appear in person at the time and place of production unless the person is also commanded to attend and give testimony, either in the same subpoena or a separate one. A person must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the demand. A person may withhold material or information claimed to be privileged but must comply with Rule 193.3. A nonparty’s production of a document authenticates the document for use against the nonparty to the same extent as a party’s production of a document is authenticated for use against the party under Rule 193.7.
- Objections. A person commanded to produce and permit inspection or copying of designated documents and things may serve on the party requesting issuance of the subpoena – before the time specified for compliance – written objections to producing any or all of the designated materials. A person need not comply with the part of a subpoena to which objection is made as provided in this paragraph unless ordered to do so by the court. The party requesting the subpoena may move for such an order at any time after an objection is made.
- Protective Orders. A person commanded to appear at a deposition, hearing, or trial, or to produce and permit inspection and copying of designated documents and things, and any other person affected by the subpoena, may move for a protective order under Rule 192.6(b) – before the time specified for compliance – either in the court in which the action is pending or in a district court in the county where the subpoena was served. The person must serve the motion on all parties in accordance with Rule 21a. A person need not comply with the part of a subpoena from which protection is sought under this paragraph unless ordered to do so by the court. The party requesting the subpoena may seek such an order at any time after the motion for protection is filed.
- Trial Subpoenas. A person commanded to attend and give testimony, or to produce documents or things, at a hearing or trial, may object or move for protective order before the court at the time and place specified for compliance, rather than under paragraphs (d) and (e).
Rule 176.7 Protection of Person from Undue Burden and Expense.
A party causing a subpoena to issue must take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on the person served. In ruling on objections or motions for protection, the court must provide a person served with a subpoena an adequate time for compliance, protection from disclosure of privileged material or information, and protection from undue burden or expense. The court may impose reasonable conditions on compliance with a subpoena, including compensating the witness for undue hardship.
Rule 176.8 Enforcement of Subpoena.
- Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that person may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena is issued or a district court in the county in which the subpoena is served, and may be punished by fine or confinement, or both.
- Proof of Payment of Fees Required for Fine or Attachment. A fine may not be imposed, nor a person served with a subpoena attached, for failure to comply with a subpoena without proof by affidavit of the party requesting the subpoena or the party’s attorney of record that all fees due the witness by law were paid or tendered. (Added Aug. 5, 1998, and amended Nov. 9, 1998, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.)
Texas Statutes Art. 2.11 BUS. CORP. ACT. Service of Process on Corporation
A. The president and all vice presidents of the corporation and the registered agent of the corporation shall be agents of such corporation upon whom any process, notice, or demand required or permitted by law to be served upon the de in the same manner as service is made on unknown shareholders under law. Notwithstanding any disability or reinstatement of a corporation, service of process under this section is sufficient for a judgment against the corporation or a judgment in rem against any property to which the corporation holds title. Acts 1955, 54th Leg., p. 239, ch. 64, eff. Sept. 6, 1955. Sec. D added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1481, § 40, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
You should contact a Texas Process Server if you have specific questions about Process Serving in Texas.