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A Notary certificate in 4 simple parts

Updated 10-23-23. Completing Notary certificate wording is an essential part of your duties, but it's easy to get confused and make mistakes. Here is a guide to the 4 main parts of a Notary certificate and what information goes in each of them.

A Notary certificate part 1

Part 1: The venue

The venue refers to where the notarization takes place. The venue establishes the qualifications and authority of the Notary or notarizing officer performing the notarial act. Usually, the Notary is asked to write the name of the county and state in the appropriate blanks. However, some venue forms require the Notary to write in different location information, for example the city and state.

You may occasionally encounter documents that have the venue already filled in. Make sure it reflects the true location. If it does not, you’ll need to correct the certificate.

A Notary certificate part 2

Part 2: The body

The body includes the main information about the notarial act, including the name of the signer, the date of notarization, and important details about the notarial act itself.

These details describe the facts the Notary is certifying in the particular notarization. An example of acknowledgment wording in the body might read: “…On (today’s date), (signer name) personally appeared before me and acknowledged executing the document.”

A Notary certificate part 3

Part 3: The Notary's signature

There is always a space for you to sign. You should sign your name exactly as it appears on your Notary commission.

A Notary certificate part 4

Part 4: The Notary's seal

While not all states require Notaries to have a seal or stamp, most do. Placing the seal on a notarial certificate “authenticates” or establishes the genuineness of the notarial act. Typically, you will affix your seal next to your signature. Make sure it is clear and legible.

The wording on Notary certificates varies from state to state. Some states prescribe the exact wording while others require you to use a certificate that substantially complies with the statutory form. Whatever the requirements, you’ll see these elements.

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Add your comment

Arnissa Jackson

25 Mar 2016

How do I go about being a notary? Thank you.

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2016

Hello Arnissa. You will need to apply for a commission from your state's Notary regulating agency. Depending on what state you are in, you may also need to meet other requirements, such as taking a class or passing an exam. Our Customer Care team can assist you with the commissioning process if you wish-for assistance, please visit or call 1-800-876-6827. Please let us know here if we can help answer any other questions. Good luck!


20 Sep 2016

I have passed the exam almost 2 years ago and received all my legal paraphernalia. However, I have never used anything because I have no idea how to really do this. Is there an actual video that walks us through the process, at least for the first time? It's great to read all your information however, actually doing it is another thing. Also, on loan docs, is each signature on each page a charge, or is the entire packet one price? A class is offered for this but wondering if worth taking. Thanks for any info.

National Notary Association

20 Sep 2016

Hello. If you are a new Notary and unfamiliar with the process, the NNA offers training classes that you may find helpful ( Also, the following videos may be helpful to you: How To Administer Oaths and Affirmations ( and 10 Steps To A Flawless Loan Signing (

20 Sep 2016

I am employed by a civil engineering firm in Utah which require a notary public. I'm going to take the Utah notary test soon. However, I found a document with the notarial language they want included on the documents. One is a jurat for the signer to sign in the presence of the notary. The other is an acknowledgement when the signer is not going to be in the presence of the notary. I understand the either types, jurat or acknowledge, the signer must be personally present in front of the notary. Is that correct or not. Thank you.

National Notary Association

20 Sep 2016

Hello. For an acknowledgment, the signer does not have to sign the document in the Notary's presence. However, the signer must physically appear in person before the Notary with the signed document to be identified and acknowledge the signature. For a jurat, the signer must both sign in the Notary's presence and then take an oath or affirmation of truthfulness administered by the Notary.

Michelle R.

28 Dec 2016

I respectfully disagree with Part 3 of your article that refers to the notary signature. There is NOT always room for a notary's signature. I've completed dozens of notaries in which I've had to affix a separate document to their original because there was not enough room to place my signature and/or seal.

06 Dec 2017

Disappointed that link to 'Correct the Certificate' actually leads to 'Avoid Incorrect Certificate' without direction how to correct mistakes. Any chance for updated link?

National Notary Association

08 Dec 2017

We've updated the link. Thanks for letting us know!

Renee Studie

14 Feb 2018

Q. I am a notary for state of Oklahoma, Adair Co. If I notarize a document in a different county do I write the county I am in or Adair Co.

National Notary Association

15 Feb 2018

Hello. You would write the county where the notarization took place in the venue portion of the Notary certificate wording.

Lydia McGee

18 Feb 2018

Is it legal for the notary to read the contents of document or just make sure all the required areas of notary public signitures are in order to notarize?

National Notary Association

20 Feb 2018

Hello. The Notary should not read the document in detail, but should look over the document to make sure it has the correct notarial wording and to ensure there are no blank spaces or other issues that would prevent notarization.

Banner B. Hongkeo

04 Jun 2018

i like to have a NOTARY PUBLIC


20 Jun 2018

What if it's an acknowledgement, and the Notary certificate wording does not include a venue portion? Do I HAVE to add in the state and county on my own, or can I notarize the acknowledgment?

National Notary Association

20 Jun 2018

That depends on your state's laws regarding acknowledgment wording. What state are you commissioned in?


27 Jun 2018

Riverside area Notary Public.

Amy Sikora-Trapp

03 Sep 2018

Could you please put all of the components of the acknowledgement together into one complete dicument so I can duplicate it for a deposition transcript, please.

29 Oct 2018

I'm new as well to the notary I believe all the information I have received is my class. I paid for it so I'm assuming this is it.

Pete Begly

10 Dec 2018

An effective trick I use do double check my work, is counting to five. 1) correct venue, 2) correct date, 3) signer's name, 4) my signature, and 5) my seal. This satisfies Illinois' requirements. Combined with using the 4 part system to verify the notarial certificate is correct before notarizing and making sure you can "count to five" after the notarization (before leaving for loan signings!) has helped catch my mistakes immediately and keeps clients happy.

Sylvia Rhodes

31 Dec 2018

What does it mean when you have a line that states. DATED AT. THIS. DAY OF. 20

National Notary Association

02 Jan 2019

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.


02 Mar 2019

how much do we charge for copy certification in state of california. Is it 15.00 dollars for the notary or can we charge anything extra.

National Notary Association

04 Mar 2019

Hello. CA Notaries may only certify copies of a power of attorney, or copies of their own journal entries if ordered to provide certified journal entry copies by the Secretary of State or a court of law. The maximum fee for certifying a copy of a power of attorney is $15 (GC 8211[e]).

Julie Hernandez

17 Jul 2019

Does my signature have to be only in black or blue ink? I’m in Oklahoma

National Notary Association

22 Jul 2019

Hello. Oklahoma Notary law does not specify the color of ink a Notary must use to sign his or her name. However, documents recorded with the office of the county clerk must use "xerographically reproducible dark ink" in order to be accepted (19 OS 298[B]).


09 Sep 2019

In Alabama, when notarizing Affidavits of Paternity for birth certificates, can the mother's hospital armband be used for identification?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2019

Hello. Alabama Notary statutes do not set specific criteria for signer identification. However, a 1998 Alabama Attorney General opinion states the following: “If the person whose signature the notary is to attest is not known to the notary, he should require whatever form of identification is adequate for him to reasonably ascertain the identification of that person. Photo identification is certainly preferable, but if it is not available, other sources of identification may be used. Acceptable sources of identification may include the birth certificates, social security cards, food stamp cards, marriage certificates, Medicaid, Medicare, or welfare identification or any form of governmentally issued identification” (Ala. Atty. Gen. Opinion 98-00116 of March 26, 1998).

Eric Francis

06 Jan 2020

I would like to take the test


06 Jan 2020

How is an aknowledgement linked to the paperwork in question? It seems so general it could be taken and linked to anything... Especially if multiple are needed.

National Notary Association

07 Jan 2020

Hello. Please see these articles for more information: and

Edith Richardson

09 Jan 2020

There have been times, when people appear to me with written information or statement on a plain piece of paper, no notary signature line and want it notarized. I have refused to do it, but if someone need a document notarized and do not have the typical notary signature line, can we get this specific document online? I live in the State of Missouri.

National Notary Association

09 Jan 2020

Hello Edith. If you're referring to Notary certificate wording, if you are a NNA member you can download certificates by logging in with your account to our member page at and selecting "Missouri" from the drop-down menu. Sample certificate wording is also available in the Missouri Notary Handbook available from the MO Secretary of State's office available here:


10 Mar 2020

If a deed will be recorded in Florida but is notarized in Illinois which certificate wording should it have.. IL or FL?

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2020

Hello. The agency where the deed will be recorded should be contacted to request instructions.

Robert Maddox Jr

11 Jan 2021

I would like to think you for really keeping the people's informed on the law and the changes to papers has to. Be done by a Notary. I have been one for 15 years and never get to old to learn. Thanks again ✍🙏

Gardy Cadet

11 Jan 2021

I really love my job as a Notary Signing Agent , but I need agency to apply for job . After nothing to complaint about NNA .

Norma Flores

11 Jan 2021

I need to renew my certification . Can you Explain me, please . Thank you

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2021

Hello. Can you please specify what type of certification you need to renew?

Tonida Roggetz

11 Jan 2021

I love being a notary. Lots to learn. I do have an awesome mentor who has doing it for a very long time that helps me tremendously. You do get use to the paper work but you also run into some never seen before. I always double check with her. Took the NNA class and loved it.


12 Jan 2021

I was told inorder to sell my trade in or old car, I need to go to a notary and have the notary signed and notarize my name, while the buyer is not there. Then I am to allow the Peddles Co to come to pick the truck up, take the title, without notarizing anything on the businesses part. Should we not both sign even if apart, prior to turning over my clean title?

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2021

Hello. You will need to contact your state motor vehicle department to answer any questions or provide you with instructions regarding transfer of a vehicle title in your state.


13 Jan 2021

What that major difference between a notary and signing agent

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2021

Hello. This infographic compares some of the differences:

18 Feb 2021

I am commissioned in California. Is it normal to have a POA require that there be 3 witnesses? The clients lawyer has drawn the documents. Also, would I need to perform an Acknowledgment along with the notarization?

National Notary Association

23 Feb 2021

Hello. Any questions about document witness requirements and instructions for notarizing the document would need to be answered by the attorney.


23 Feb 2021

Do I place my own signature and stamp where seal and notary public signature are indicated on my notary public commission?

National Notary Association

10 Mar 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Merinda Callahan

09 Mar 2021

What if you put month. First and then day on the certificate

National Notary Association

09 Mar 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

07 Jun 2021

Hi How do you know when t use the embosser verses the ink stamp or should you use both?

National Notary Association

08 Jun 2021

Hello. That depends on your state's Notary laws. Can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Lisa White

08 Jun 2021

Thanks for responding. I’m in Maryland

National Notary Association

10 Jun 2021

Hello. Maryland Notaries may use either an ink stamp or an embosser, provided the embossment is photocopiable: Maryland law states that a Notary must “affix” or “emboss” an official stamp on a tangible record (ACM St. Gov’t 18-215[b][1]). “The official stamp of a notary public shall… be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated” (ACM St. Gov’t 18-217[a][2]).

Elsa Haydee Villalonga

29 Dec 2021

How can I become a immigration signer. I already have my notary stamp. And would like to have more options since I no longer want to continue doing the job I am doing. Thank you

National Notary Association

30 Dec 2021

Hello. To help us assist you, can you please tell us what state you are located in?

19 Jan 2022

I am a Notary in New Jersey. I will be notarizing a No Objection Letter, but I have never even seen one before. Can you tell me where I would be able to find that information?

National Notary Association

20 Jan 2022

Hello. The title of the document does not necessarily affect whether it may or may not be notarized. The signer will need to inform you what type of notarization they require, and you will need to make sure the document is complete with no blank spaces and the notarization requested meets all requirements of your state's laws before proceeding, however.

19 Mar 2022

Can some one else change the venue name on a notarized document and place their initials adjacent to the change after the notarization has occurred. Isn't the presentation of documentation required in order to notarize someone's signature as a Witness? If no identification was presented, is the notarization valid. Dealing with a Texas notary that allowed Venue location to be changed by his Client post the notarization which seems out of order because it was the responsibility of the Notary to check the document of the body and all identification before notarizing it.

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2022

Hello. No, it is not permitted for another person to alter a completed notarial certificate after a notarization is completed.

Margaret Ann Coleman

19 Jun 2022

I passed test how do I get an assignment as a signing agent in Michigan?

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2022

Hello. Please see this article and video with tips for new Notary Signing Agents when starting out:

Marianne Sink

07 Jul 2022

I got my stamp and embosser and that is all. Where can I buy the stuff i need for signatures like in these four parts?

National Notary Association

08 Jul 2022

Hello. If you are an NNA member, you can access certificate wording for your state by logging in to your account at The NNA also sells certificate packets at

Euline e Georges

05 Dec 2022

Trying to find more information seeking my previous certified proof of the commission as a notary primer.

Norcha Smith

20 Apr 2023

My notary seal is not long enough to reach across the page to for the stamp be close to my signature. How can I stamp the seal?

National Notary Association

28 Apr 2023

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Tina FitzJohn

30 May 2023

Does my name on my Notary stamp need to match the printed name on my driver's license or my signature on my driver's license? The printed name on my DL includes my middle name but my signature does not.

National Notary Association

13 Jun 2023

Hello Tina. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are applying for a Notary commission in?

22 Aug 2023

I was recently commissioned and not sure if i can notarized a Affidavit of "One and The Same". Our company recently change it's name and one of our customer requested an Affidavit showing the company is one and the same. i hope you can help. Do I use and Acknowledgement? I am a notary in California.

National Notary Association

23 Aug 2023

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Robert j Frierson

06 Nov 2023

I really like this information, thanks

Martina Rodriguez

05 Jan 2024

I’m commissioned in Arizona. I notarized a Will several years ago and forgot to fix a stamp. How can I correct it now that they have passed away?

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2024

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Evelyn Campell

06 Feb 2024

Thank you for keeping us in the know with great well needed information. It is really helpful and the questions answers is awesome.

National Notary Association

06 Feb 2024

You're welcome, we're glad you found it helpful!

Ryan Becker

16 Feb 2024

I'm in New York City and need to transfer a deed but have lost most of my identification documents due to a fire, e.g. state ID, passport, social security card, etc. I do have an expired ID with an old address where i no longer live. I'm also retired so there are no work-related documents. What type of information does a notary need to verify my identity? Would the expired ID work?Thanks.

National Notary Association

16 Feb 2024

Hello. New York Notaries may not accept expired identification documents as proof of identity (19 NYCRR 182.5[b]). Your other options for identification would include the following: 1. At least two current documents issued by an institution, business entity, or federal or state government with at least the individual’s signature; 2. The oath or affirmation of a witness who is personally known to both the individual and notary 3. The oath or affirmation of two witnesses who know you personally and provide identification for themselves that is valid and current, contains the photographic image of the bearer, has an accurate physical description of the bearer, if applicable; and includes the signature of the bearer.


27 May 2024

I notice that both All-Purpose Acknowledgments and Jurats are for sale (by state) on the website, however, this leads me to my question regarding when using those are we stapling it to the rest of the documents provided by the client or will the client’s paperwork already have these certificates built within the text of what they’re getting notarized? In other words, am I providing the certificate and attaching it at the end or does the paperwork they need notarized already have it’s own compliant blank certificate waiting for me to write on? Hope that wasn’t too confusing!

National Notary Association

28 May 2024

Hello. Some documents include pre-printed notarial wording; you may complete that wording for the notarization as long as it meets the requirements of your state's laws. If the document does not have pre-printed certificate wording, you will need to complete and attach an appropriate notarial certificate to the document.

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