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 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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