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Is black ink required to sign for notarizations?

I am a New York State Notary Public, and I am getting some resistance from people when I ask them to sign in black ink. It is my understanding that each person is required to sign in black ink.  Is signing in black ink required in New York? — L.W., New York

No, there is no statute in New York that requires signers to sign in a certain color.

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

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Stefanie Wiggins

03 Aug 2020

The attorney that I worked under for 8 years actually preferred blue. With blue ink, it is easier to tell originals from copies.

Lori Wellborn

03 Aug 2020

"Photographically reproducible" is what I was told in CA. Most Notaries here prefer blue, but you may use hot pink, as long as it shows up when you make a copy of it!

Stacy Cooley

03 Aug 2020

That's been true for my personal and professional experiences as well - blue is typically preferred as it's easier to tell an original from a photocopy.

Lorane FONG

03 Aug 2020

Totally agreed to the above RE: using blue ink for the same reason commented. It sure stands out as original as the prints of all documents are in black...


04 Aug 2020

When I was issued my certification a few years ago at the state office, they requested/recommended always signing in blue.

James D

17 Aug 2020

Dafault for GA Residential Real Estate closings is Blue, but a Lender/Title company may request the signing be done in Black. Other colors are usually not allowed by Lender/Title companies.


02 Mar 2021

According to New York State Notary Public License Law, "In addition to his signature and venue, the notary public shall print, typewrite or stamp beneath his signature in black ink, his name, the words “Notary Public State of New York,” the name of the county in which he is qualified, and the date upon which his commission expires (§137, Executive Law)." Perhaps some notaries find it more consistent to have all signatures in black ink to avoid confusion?

Jamie Justice

11 May 2021

What is the State of Kentucky's rules on blue or black ink?

National Notary Association

11 May 2021

Hello. Kentucky does not address this issue in its Notary laws.


20 Apr 2022

I am very confused by this. What about Chapter 18, Article 6, Section 137 of the NY Executive Law? "In exercising powers pursuant to this article, a notary public . . . shall print, typewrite, stamp, or affix by electronic means where performing an electronic notarial act . . . beneath their signature in black ink, the notary public's name . . ." The law clearly states the signature must be in black ink.

National Notary Association

02 Jun 2022

Hello. Section 137 indicates that Notary has to sign in black ink. The Hotline Tip refers to signers of the document. Signers do not have to use blank ink.


20 Nov 2022

Pursuant to CPLR 2101(a), documents are supposed to be in black ink when submitted to a court. There has been a long debate in the legal community about whether a legal paper signed in blue ink is technically valid. I think most notaries are simply being careful when insisting on black ink.


11 May 2023

Interesting, for NY guardianship affidavit from the doctor the court sent the doc back to me to have the notary resign the doc in black ink. Blue ink was unacceptable to them.

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