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8 tips to ensure a smooth notarization

To ensure your notarizations go smoothly and stay error-free, these tips will keep you on the right track:

  1. Don't forget your Notary seal
  2. Keep reference materials handy
  3. Make sure the signer has proof of identity
  4. Have correct Notary certificate wording ready
  5. Assess the signer's awareness and willingness
  6. Complete your journal entry
  7. Complete the notarization
  8. Check your work before the signer leaves with the document

Most states require Notaries to use an official ink stamp or embosser. Always make sure you have your seal available and ready when preparing for a notarization.

Always keep reference materials for your state's Notary laws on hand, such as a Notary handbook published by your state or a reference guide published by a reputable professional organization. That way, if a question arises during the notarization, you will have information available to find the answer.

Before the notarization takes place, ask the signer to make sure he or she has acceptable proof of identity. If you are traveling to perform a mobile notarization, contact the signer ahead of the appointment to confirm the signer will have proper identification available when you arrive.

In case the correct Notary certificate wording is not preprinted on the document, have the correct wording for your state at hand so that if needed, you can complete and attach the proper wording for the requested notarization.

Speak with the signer to confirm the signer appears clear and alert, understands the type of document that is being signed, and is willing to sign. If there are other people present, make sure the signer does not appear pressured or is being coerced to sign against his or her wishes.

Complete your journal entry with all required information and signatures before you notarize. This ensures that you have all necessary information for your records before the signer leaves.

Fill in all required information in the Notary certificate wording and affix your seal. If asked to perform a jurat, remember to administer the required verbal oath or affirmation to the signer.

Check to make sure all information in the Notary certificate is correct and meets your state's requirements. In the event you find an error, simply line through the error, write the correct information, and initial and date the correction while the signer and document are still present. Remember, some states do not permit Notaries to correct errors in the certificate after the notarization has been completed. If you are commissioned in one of these states and an error is found afterwards, you will have to complete a new notarization on the same document.

Click here to download and print all 8 tips.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.


Add your comment

Nataesha D Johnson

26 Apr 2021

Thank you for sending me these grate tips

Monica Arteaga

26 Apr 2021

Thank you NNA for always keeping notaries updated with important informational guidance!

Victoria Chase

26 Apr 2021

Thank you!!!


27 Apr 2021

Really appreciate the tips

Thomas L Shuler

27 Apr 2021

Thank you any reminder is good

Lani Alberts

29 Apr 2021

I had 16 very similar documents to notarize recently. Did I need to write in the "signer's full address" and "Notary service performed at" on each entry? The address is the same. I entered address 32 times for each of the 16 records.

National Notary Association

29 Apr 2021

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

Lani Alberts

29 Apr 2021

Maricopa County in Arizona

National Notary Association

29 Apr 2021

Hello. In Arizona, a Notary's journal entry must include at least the following entries (ARS 41-319.A): 1. The date of the notarial act; 2. A description of the document or type of notarial act; 3. The printed full name, signature and address of each person for whom a notarial act is performed; 4. The type of satisfactory evidence of identity for each person for whom the notarial act is performed, if other than the Notary’s personal knowledge, including a description of the identification document, its serial or ID number, and its date of issuance or expiration; 5. The fee, if any, charged for the notarial act.

Lani Alberts

29 Apr 2021

Does that mean the "notary service performed at" is not required? It's on each record number in my journal.

National Notary Association

05 May 2021

Hello. "notary service performed at" is not a required journal entry element in Arizona.

Ruby Cameron

02 May 2021

Thank you, everything is always informative and helpful.

Pittsburgh Notary

19 Nov 2021

Way of explanation was great! I Good points raised by you. Keep sharing these types of articles.


25 Apr 2023

Yes, always.

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