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What If There’s Not Enough Room For My Seal?

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I have been asked to notarize a "Form TSP-70," but there is not enough room for my seal. What should I do? A.N., Washington

Updated 11-16-16. Form TSP-70 tells the Notary, "No other acknowledgement is acceptable" but the one on the document, but then provides virtually no space for the seal. In such cases, the NNA recommends that Notaries with rectangular seals affix the seal vertically in the left-hand margin where there may be space without placing it over the text in the document. Notaries with circular seals may be out of luck, if their state's law prohibits the seal from being placed over any text or signatures on the document. If that's the case, you'll need to refuse to perform the notarization.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

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Mister J

24 Oct 2016

Form TSP-70 is a federal government form. What if the included notarial language on a federal government document does not conform to the requirements of the state that the notary public is commissioned in (for example, California), but the document does not allow for any other acknowledgement, loose certificate, or whatnot? Is it proper for the notary public to complete the notarization?

National Notary Association

25 Oct 2016

Hello. No, a Notary should not complete a notarial certificate that is not compliant with the requirements of state law.

m. short

08 Nov 2016


robert louis taylor

08 Nov 2016

Thanks for the info


08 Nov 2016

As I work with retirement accounts I have notarized many TSP-70s in California. California ACKNOWLEDGEMENT wording is not absolutely required as long as the document is not filed in the state of California and the wording does not certify the signer is signing in a representative capacity. This is not true for a JURAT, but I've never seen Jurat wording on a TSP form. I do believe the space does get smaller and smaller every year.

Joyce Quinn

08 Nov 2016

I have always found that an issue with government forms, even with my agency. Someone ought to educate the various level of governments.

M Spitznagel

08 Nov 2016

Same problem; I was able to correction tape the word SEAL and reprint, allowing the space I needed; then apply seal; not possible on a deed or some other original documents.

Rosemary Mathews

08 Nov 2016

Isn't it amazing that a form issued by a government doesn't leave enough room for a notarial seal? What were they thinking??

Julie B.

09 Nov 2016

I agree with Ms. Quinn. The people who make the laws and the forms have no idea whatsoever what the notaries go through trying to comply with the laws and requirements.

Randy Ramos

13 Jun 2019

What should be done if it was a power of attorney and the acknowledge certificate wording on the document was from a different state in this case Tennessee. And also had no space to affix seal.

National Notary Association

14 Jun 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.

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