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Can I notarize a document written in pencil?

Can I sign a document that is written in pencil or do they need to re-write it in ink? I know that they must sign in pen and I always provide one, but I work in a prison and the inmates are not allowed to have them. I need to know if we need to adjust policy to include a pen for legal documents.T.G., Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Notary law doesn’t address a document written in pencil.  However, the statute does say a notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by law other than Pennsylvania’s Notary statutes (57 Pa.C.S. 308[b]). If you do not feel comfortable notarizing a document written in pencil – and the NNA certainly would discourage that you do – this statute may give you the right to refuse.

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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Glenda W Hodnett

06 Jun 2021

Can I handwrite a jurat if there is not one on the form to be notarized?

National Notary Association

18 Jun 2021

Hello. Yes, any Notary certificate wording may be manually and legibly entered by handwriting.


12 Jun 2021

A thought far as the pencil written document, if it is possible to photocopy the document BEFORE the signing and notarization occur, would that not render the document a state of 'permanence' not demonstrated by an easily smudged/eraseable pencil written document. The notarized documentation could be then be copied as needed for submissions to the involved parties, the pencil copy serving as the origial 'rough' draft The inmate would likey be able to arrange for copying as they would not submit their ONLY copy of the document to the court.

Ben Kotula

25 May 2023

Are notaries able to notarize documents filled out in pencil in the state of Georgia?

National Notary Association

22 Jun 2023

There are no laws or regulations against Notarizing a document completed in pencil, however it would be professional practice to use an ink pen.

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