Steps to Proper Notarization

Can My Notary Seal Ink be Purple?

Black is the most common color of ink selected by notaries when choosing stamp seal ink color. The only states with laws that require that their notaries have black ink in their seal are Florida, Oregon, Illinois, Delaware, Missouri, and Massachusetts. These states are allowed no flexibility in ink color choice; however, other states are quite different. For instance, in Utah, a notary seal cannot be black; it must be purple.

In states where it is allowed, a notary seal with ink in a color other than black makes the original documents easily distinguishable from copies. If you would enjoy using a seal with a reproducible color such as purple, blue, or green ink, read the following to see if your state’s laws will allow it. Below are the notary seal requirements of each state and U.S. territories. .

No Seal Requirement
Notaries in Connecticut, New York, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, and New Jersey are not required to have a seal. Black ink is not a state requirement. Notaries in these states may choose another reproducible color.

Embossed Seal OR Inked Stamp Seal
Notaries in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming (or the territory of American Samoa) may choose either an embossed seal or an inked stamp seal. Black ink is not a state requirement. Notaries may choose another ink color if they choose to use a stamped seal.

Inked Stamp Seal
An inked stamp seal is required in Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, and West Virginia. An inked stamp seal is also required in California and Pennsylvania, although, in these two states, an embosser is acceptable on recorded documents as long as critical information is typed or printed so that the information is clear when the document is photocopied. Black ink is not a state requirement; therefore, notaries may choose another reproducible color for their stamped seals.

Inked Stamp Seal - Any Color Except Black Ink
Notaries in Tennessee are required to have a stamp seal. The ink can be any reproducible color except black, or yellow.

Black-Inked Stamp
As mentioned above, Florida, Oregon, and Illinois require a stamp seal with black ink. This is also true for the territory of N. Marianas Island.

Embossed Seal OR Black-Inked Stamp
Delaware, Missouri, and Massachusetts allow the use of an embosser or a stamp seal, but the ink in the stamp seal must be black. There is no ink color choice allowed in these states.

Embossed Seal OR Purple-Inked Stamp
Notaries in Utah may use either an embosser or a stamp seal. When a stamp seal is used, the ink must be purple.

Embossed Seal AND Inked Stamp
Both an embosser and an inked stamp seal must be used in the U.S. territory of Guam.

Embossed Seal
An embossed seal is required in Alabama (except for an acknowledgment; an acknowledgment requires no seal in Alabama). An embossed seal is also required the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rubber OR other Mechanical Stamp
Nevada notary laws require a rubber stamp or other mechanical stamp. Black ink is not a state requirement. Notaries may choose another reproducible color.

Interested in a Stamp with Colored Ink?
The American Association of Notaries (AAN) can accommodate notaries with a choice of ink colors on almost any notary stamp seal available on the AAN website. The choices are black, blue, purple, green, and red. The AAN ’s recommended best practice for choosing notary seal ink color is to select one that is easily reproducible in a photocopy. A choice of black, blue, purple, or green is recommended.

Embosser Use Tip
When an embosser is used, the notary should use a method of darkening the raised print so that the seal can be readily recognized, and the notary’s commission information can be read. Two different types of embossed seal darkening tools are sold on the AAN website. Go to the AAN home page located at . Choose the state you are in. Look to the left side of the webpage and select the Notary Supplies link. On the second page of the supplies section you will be able to view the two different types of embossed seal impression inkers. When these types of tools are used, the impression is clear when photocopying the document that the seal is on.

Source of Information
Many states require that their notary public administrative units provide to each of their counties’ clerks offices a list of those states and territories within the United States that require a notary public to complete an acknowledgment certificate, proof of a written instrument, or a jurat certificate by applying an official notary seal. These lists enable county clerk offices’ workers to determine whether or not a notarization from another state is completed adequately by state law. The information in this article is the most current information available from the office of the Secretary of State of Texas.

Notice of Disclaimer: Information and recommended best practices published in articles by the American Association of Notaries are not to be considered superior to the instructions provided by the notary’s own state’s commissioning office. Notaries should refer to their commissioning office or an attorney of their choice when unclear on their notary duties.

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The above article provides general information only. It does not provide legal advice for any particular situation. No professional advisory relationship exists between the American Association of Notaries and any recipient of this email. Please consult your private attorney for legal advice and consult your commissioning state office for clarification on your important notarial duties.

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