What If There Is No Room for the Notary Stamp or Notary Seal?

One of the most important steps in the notarization of any document is the placing of the notary stamp seal. This step, along with the notary's signature, is the culmination of all the preliminary steps in notarizing, such as identity checking, document scanning, and making record book entries. The notary stamp contains all the identifying information of the notary public - name, commission state and county, notary commission number, and commission expiration date. It is essential and mandatory that all of this information be placed neatly and legibly on every document that the notary executes.

There are occasions when the notary will observe that there is not enough room for the placement of the notary stamp. The notary stamp impression must not overlap the notary's signature or any other text in the notarized document or notary certificate. Many agencies will reject a notarized document where the notary stamp obliterates other essential writing on the document. When there is not ample room for the full notary stamp to fit on the document to be notarized, the notary should attach a loose notary certificate to the document.

A loose notary certificate is a sheet of paper containing notary verbiage. It may, for example, contain the language for an acknowledgment or a jurat, which are the most common forms of notarization. There are also certificates for less common verbiage, such as an attestation clause or copy certification.

The notary should draw one line through the existing notary certificate that does not contain adequate space for the notary stamp, place his or her initials on it, and write the words, "see attached." The notary will then proceed to complete the loose certificate just as the original would have been completed. It is prudent to add the title and date of the document, the number of pages in the document, and the names of any witnesses who signed in addition to the signer. This page should be stapled securely to the notarized document - preferably in the upper left corner - to prevent separation or detachment. The document may then be handed over to the signer as complete. Loose certificates should be part of the everyday supplies carried by the practicing notary.

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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