Virginia Notary Questions
AM I REQUIRED TO USE A NOTARY SEAL?
Effective July 1, 2008 Virginia notaries are required to use a seal for every document notarizd. The notary seal must be “sharp, legible, permanent and photographically reproducible.” A photographically reproducible seal and can be as simple as an embossed raised seal that has been rubbed with a pencil; embossed over carbon paper or darkened with a seal impression inker or seal press (round ink stamp that is blank). Most notaries prefer using self-inking or pre-inked seals.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EMBOSSER AND INKING SEAL?
An embosser can be a hand-held or desk-top tool that has an insert containing the notary seal which is circular in form not more than 2 inches in diameter. The seal has a serrated edge border. The embosser makes a raised impression on the paper being notarized. The embossed seal is not photographically reproducible without being darkened. The ink seal can be circular in form not more than 2 inches in diameter or rectangular in form not more than 1 inch in width and 2 ½ inches in length. There are several types of pre-inked or self-inking stamp seals.
IS A NOTARY JOURNAL OR RECORD BOOK REQUIRED IN VIRGINIA?
No. In Virginia there is no requirement to keep a Journal/record book. However, there is no statute of limitations on a notarial act. It is highly recommended that a notary maintain a Journal/record book of his/her official acts to assist in recalling past notarial acts, if needed, or if legally challenged. If a notary is called upon to testify in court, a Journal/record book may become evidence to help establish what actually took place. Remember that it contains private and sensitive information about the people for whom you performed a notarial act—guard your Journal/record book carefully to protect the privacy of its contents.Your Journal/record book belongs to you, and MUST remain under your control and safekeeping at all times. NEVER share your Journal/record book with another notary.
MY EMBOSSER NO LONGER MAKES A RAISED IMPRESSION. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Embossers should be kept free of extreme hot and cold environments. When subjected to severe temperatures, the insert may become out of alignment which prevents it from making a raised impression. Contact us most times this is repairable condition.
CAN I USE BOTH THE EMBOSSER AND INK SEAL WHEN NOTARIZING?
We typically recommend you use both. We market our notary supplies as being state compliant by using a photographically reproducible ink seal and providing the courtesy of a raised seal using the traditional embosser. We do not darken the embossed seal. Many notaries use the embosser which has been darkened with an impression inker. That leaves a raised seal which is photographically reproducible.
WHAT COLOR INK SHOULD I ORDER FOR MY SELF-INKING/PRE-INKED NOTARY SEAL?
The Code of Virginia does not specify the color of ink for a notary’s inking seal. When signing a notary’s signature black or blue ink is preferred for recording purposes. We recommend using blue, black or purple which copies scans and faxes properly. Every now and then we see purple inking seals.
DOES THE SS IN THE NOTARY CERTIFICATE STAND FOR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER?
The venue in a notarial act is the location: State and City/County. Most often you see French braces after the venue with an SS following them. Many people think that SS stands for social security number and they will type that number after the SS. In fact SS is Latin for “scilicet” which means “namely” or “in particular” and refers to where you are at the time of the notarization.
I GOT MARRIED TWO WEEKS AGO. SINCE I AM NOW USING MY MARRIED NAME, CAN I CONTINUE USING MY CURRENT NOTARY SEAL IN MY MAIDEN NAME?
A notary who changes his/her name must indicate the name change when notarizing documents. For example: if Mary A. Smith changes to her married name Mary Smith Harris, then she will make the following notation after signing her new name.
“My commission expires this _______ day of ________.
I was commissioned a notary public as Mary A. Smith.”Mary Smith Harris can continue to use her maiden name until her commission expires. At that time she can reapply under her married name. Your notary seal/stamp must be in the same name as your commission certificate reads.
WHAT IS THE REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR EVERY NOTARIAL ACT?
Every notarial act must contain the following seven (7) items of standard information:
ARE THERE ANY ITEMS THAT NOTARIES ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN FROM NOTARIZING?
Virginia notaries are not authorized to notarize or certify true copies of birth, death or marriage certificates. Only the Division of Vital Records/Statistics may perform such a certification. Refer to Office of Vital Records in Richmond, VA at 804 662-6200 or visit their website at www.vdh.state.va.us/Vital_Records/index.htm.
HOW DO I RENEW MY NOTARY COMMISSION?
Effective March 2015, all Notaries must open a Notary Management Account. You will be able to change your contact information and renew your Notary Commission through your Notary Management account. To open your Notary Management Account visit the official website for all Virginia notaries at
Applying for a FIRST TIME Virginia Notary Public commission?
Currently serving as a Virginia Notary Public and you have not changed your name?
Renew your commission here:
Has more than 30 days has passed since your Virginia Notary Public commission expired?
Has your name changed since your last commission?
Create your Notary Management account if you have not done so already: