The Importance of the Venue on a Notarized Document

With a few exceptions, notarized documents contain five notary-specific elements: venue, the notary certificate, commission expiration date, notary signature, and notary seal. This article covers the venue.

Venue is the state and county where the notarization took place, in other words, where the signer appeared before the notary. It must be within the jurisdiction of the notary.

The venue is NOT where the document was drafted, where the property involved is located, where the signer lives now, or any other place besides where the notarization is taking place. The venue may appear at or near the top of the document, near the notary certificate, or in both locations.

The initials SS may appear next to the venue. These initials stand for the Latin word scilicet, which is a contraction of scire licet and is translated as "one may know" or "of course, evidently, certainly." In short, SS is there to emphasize that this is where the notary met with the signer -- of course, they met within the jurisdiction of the notary.

The venue usually takes the form of "State of X, County of Y." If it says "State/Commonwealth of X, County/Parrish of Y," the notary should correct the portion that does not apply. If the state or county are missing, the notary must add the correct information. If the state or county are wrong, the notary must correct them. Any corrections to the venue are made by putting one horizontal line (from left to right or right to left) through the incorrect wording, adding the correct wording by printing, and initialing the correction. A rubber stamp with the venue may be used instead of writing by hand.

The venue is entirely the responsibility of the notary. If any part of it is inaccurate or missing, the notary has the authority and the duty to correct it. Failing to complete or correct the venue is a serious error and could cause the document to be rejected by the receiving party. You should never sign and seal a document without first verifying that the venue is complete and correct.

This article is part of the series that began with What Does a Notary Public Do?

-- Tim Gatewood is a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary education, and securing their notary stamp and notary supplies. Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. However, we make no warrant, expressed or implied, and we do not represent, undertake, or guarantee that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding notaries' best practices, federal laws and statutes, and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from a variety of sources and do not warrant its accuracy. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, loss, damage, 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 in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their states' notary authorities or attorneys in their state if they have legal questions. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.

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