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Just like your signature carries weight, the notary seal is just as important.

A notary seal is as important as the powers and responsibilities of the notary public. The seal ensures the completion of the notarial act. However, not all states have mandated the use of a notary seal for the completion of notarial acts. In states where it has been made compulsory, the use of the seal has been specified in the law. Let us dig deeper into the importance of the notary seal for the notarization of documents.

What is a notary seal

The notary seal is a stamp or an impression that certifies that the document has been authorized by a notary public. If you see a document with a notary seal, it naturally means that it has been authenticated by a notary public. A person receives the notary seal once he is ‘commissioned’ to perform notarizations within the state.

The seal will contain important information like the notary public’s name, state of commission, and the date of the commission expiration. No notary is allowed to notarize documents and use the seal after the date of the commission expiration. If any person is caught doing so, they will be punished as per state law.

Responsibilities of a notary seal

A notary seal is no ordinary tool as it essentially showcases the verification of the document. The biggest concern is the misuse of the notary seal. If any notarized documents have an expired notary seal, that would be considered misuse of the seal. In such cases, it is implied that the document has been notarized by a legitimate notary. In this situation, however, it is not true.

Instead, once a seal expires, it should be discarded in a proper manner. This step is essential if you wish to renew your seal. The seal generally expires after every four years and you can renew after the expiration date.

When to use a notary seal

The use of a notary seal varies from state to state. Each state has its own set of guidelines for the use of a notary seal. States like California are very specific about the physical properties of the seal. In California, the seal should have an identification number. Moreover, the seal can have a width of only one inch. The law also requires the seal to sit adjacent to the signature at the end of the certificate.

In Connecticut, it is not mandatory to use the seal. Therefore, the rules change significantly compared to California. Since it is optional, the notary can choose not to use it. However, if the notary insists on using the seal, then he should meet certain requirements as specified in the law.

How to get a notary seal

The notary seal is not issued by a specific organization. You can contact your bonding company or a company that sells notary stamps. In states like Arkansas, the notary has to send a copy of his Commission Certificate to the National Notary Association. Before issuing a notary seal, carefully go through the provisions specified by your state for the issue and use of a notary seal.


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