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Can I Shorten My Name When Completing A Notary Certificate?

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My full name as it appears on my commission is so long it doesn't fit on the line in the acknowledgment form. Could I abbreviate my middle name to "J" when filling out certificate wording?S.S., California

No, you cannot abbreviate your name when completing a notarial certificate — doing so is cause for the document to be rejected. The Notary’s printed name on a certificate must match exactly with the name on their commission. If the certificate does not allow enough room for your name, you would have to attach a separate certificate that does have the space. 

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, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.



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Aurora Ortega

13 Nov 2017

Good Morning

Jadene Payton

13 Nov 2017

I used my full first & last names when I got my first commission. Since then, when I renew, I have shortened it to JPayton rather than signing the full first name as that became exhausting after sever hundred signings. I believe you have to make that change when you renew your commission.

Greg Garcia

13 Nov 2017

Can my girlfriend become a notary if she is not a citicen yet ?

National Notary Association

15 Nov 2017

Hello Greg. If you can tell us what state your girlfriend would like to apply for a commission in, we can tell you the application requirements.

Black pearl

25 Oct 2020

I need to have nick name in certificate form as cosmetologist master Barber and esthetician state ny business owner published . Can you do that ?

National Notary Association

29 Oct 2020

Hello. We recommend that you contact the state Division of Licensing Services to request instructions. Their website is:

Sam Black

14 Jun 2021

Can sign my nickname “sam” instead of “Samuel” for my notary signature? It says Samuel on the stamp but I submitted Sam to the state for my signature. Thank you

National Notary Association

17 Jun 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.

Brenda Caceres

23 Jun 2021

I submitted my notary signature with my middle initial, but when I received my stamp my full middle spelt out. Can I still sign with my initial or have my signature on file updated?

National Notary Association

01 Jul 2021

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

sharon phillips

02 Mar 2022

Can a notary use a nickname when applying to be a notary in Georgia example: Patricia is legal name what's to use Pat when applying

National Notary Association

22 Apr 2022

Yes. You would have to note on her application how you want your name on your commission to appear when it is different from your full name.

31 Oct 2022

Can I just use my first initial and last name as my notary signature? that is how i normally sign anything

National Notary Association

10 Nov 2022

Hello. The name you write on a Notary certificate must exactly match the name on your official Notary commission. Also, you must sign each Notary certificate with the signature that you filed with your commissioning official.


15 Nov 2022

Hi, if my name (Diamond Ayala) is full in the commission but my signature is always my initials. My question is can I sign my initials D.A or do I have to sign the full name

National Notary Association

16 Nov 2022

Hello. You should sign you name as it appears on your commission.

When I renewed my license I wrote out my whole name. On my driviers license it just has my middle initial. Do I have to sign my whole name or can I just sign first, middle initial and last name

16 Dec 2022

When I renewed my license I wrote out my whole name. On my driver's license it just has my middle initial. Do I have to sign my whole name or can I just sign first, middle initial and last name. Oregon license

National Notary Association

11 Jan 2023

ORS 194.280[1] indicates that the Notary certificate must be signed and dated by the notarial officer and, if the notarial officer is a notary public, be signed in the same manner as on file with the Secretary of State.

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