Notary Seal Information
Some states require a commissioned notary public to have a notary seal / notary stamp while other states do not. Each state has rigid requirements for the exact dimensions of the seal, the color of ink, the border of the seal, as well as what wording is on the seal.
The notary name on the seal
Typically, the name of the notary as it appears on their notary commission should be identical to the name on the seal. Some notaries have nicknames or name variations. Female notaries often get married and change their names as well. This is a source of confusion. If you change your name, you might be required to get a new notary commission and seal in many states. Please contact your state’s notary division if you are planning on changing your name.
Information on the seal
Most states require the notary’s name, the words Notary Public, the words State of ____, the Notary commission number, and the commission expiration date.
Embosser or regular seal?
Some states allow the use of an embosser which looks like a metal clamp. Some embossers are used without ink as a secondary seal (allowed in many states — ask your notary division for details)
Types of seal borders
Seals might have a serrated or milled edge border. Some states might allow a rectangle made of four straight lines to be the border.
Be careful with your notary seal as they can be damaged from misuse. Keep replacement ink in stock just in case your seal needs to be re-inked. It is common for an active notary to add replacement ink to their seal once a year or so. Many states require the destruction of a notary seal at the end of a notary’s term so that it will not be used fraudulently.
The notary public should take care to leave a clear seal impression when doing notary work. If the seal is too light, smudgy, or has missing corners, the notarization could be rejected by a county recorder, bank, lender, or other agency.
Do all notary acts require a seal?
Most notary acts do, such as Acknowledgments and Jurats. But, sometimes you will need to do an Oath with no accompanying paperwork. Make a note in your journal that you are administering an Oath. Have the Affiant (Oath-Taker) sign your journal, and administer the Oath. There is no seal required for an Oath by itsself. However, if the Oath is part of some other notary procedure such as a Jurat, or swearing in credible witnesses, then the notary paperwork being used would need to be stamped.
States that require a notary seal
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
States that do not require a notary seal
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan., New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont These states have specific requirements if you choose to use a seal anyway.