Can a Notary Use a Signature Stamp to Notarize Documents?

Most notaries are accustomed to using a notary stamp to affix their official statement of authority as a notary public. This leads notaries to wonder if they can also utilize a rubber stamp, which is easier to use, in affixing their signature to notarial certificates. If you are a notary who notarizes multiple documents a day, using a signature stamp can be a tempting way to avoid hand cramping and carpal tunnel. However, laws that regulate the acts of notaries are often very strict. This includes using a facsimile signature stamp in lieu of a handwritten or wet signature.

California, for example, requires that a notary sign each certificate in his or her own handwriting, which would preclude the use of a signature stamp. Florida allows the use of a signature stamp only by notaries with disabilities, who must first submit a facsimile of the stamp to the Department of State.

Texas, on the other hand, as stated in its FAQ page, allows Texas notaries public to use a printed, written, typed, or stamped signature as long as the signature matches the notary name which is on file with the Secretary of State. This is an exception rather than the rule, however. While most states require a handwritten signature, some are silent on the matter. New York is a state that falls into the latter category. If your state doesn't have official policy regarding signatures, we recommend consulting with your state's commissioning authority.

Because a notary's signature is subject to official authentication for use overseas, be diligent in being absolute certain that your state permits signature stamps. It is also important to be consistent. It is not recommended that a notary switch back and forth, for example, between using a handwritten signature and a signature stamp.

The American Association of Notaries always recommends using your official, handwritten signature, exactly as it appears on your oath of office. This is an additional fraud deterrent. Any notarized document bearing a facsimile of your signature, rather than an original, wet signature, would raise a red flag. If you do use a signature stamp, it is recommended that you notate that fact in your record book.

Laws between the different states can vary greatly on every aspect of notary law. Signature stamps are no exception, and many states have specific regulations pertaining to their use.

By Robert T. Koehler, a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries, Inc.

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

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