One of the first questions that come to your mind when notarizing a document is, does it expire? You may wonder how long a notarized document is legal and valid for. If there is an expiration date, what happens when it expires?

If you have been searching for the answers to such questions or anything similar, you are in the right place. This post will give you valuable insight into the validity of traditional notaries, online notary and anything related to the timeline of their validity. You will learn:

  1. Expiration of notaries
  2. Does a notarized document ever expire?
  3. Different types of notarized documents and their expiration
  4. The validity term of an online notary
  5. Eligibility of an online notary
  6. Jurisdiction of online notarization
  7. Avoid these 6 mistakes to maintain a notarized document valid
  8. Notarize a document online
  9. FAQs

1. Expiration of notaries 

Both traditional brick-and-mortar notaries and online notaries have a commission that has an expiration date.

How long is a notary public commission valid?

A notary public commission is valid for four years following the date it was issued, or from the moment the applicant met the requirements before the Circuit Court Clerk. On each commission, the expiration date is displayed.

In case you are a notary owner, then it is your responsibility to make sure that its commission stays valid. You can do so by renewing your commission as its expiration date approaches. 

As long as a notary’s commission does not expire, any of the documents notarized by that particular notary should stay valid. The same rule applies to an online notary service. A notarized document attested by a digital notary service will remain valid until the notary’s commission is valid.

2. Does a notarized document ever expire?

The notarization of any document does not expire itself. This means there is no such rule that states that a specific notary stamp expires and will not be acceptable after a certain date. You do not have to renew your notarization as long as the traditional or online notary is still running with a valid commission by the US government.

The notarization of your document does not expire as long as the date on the notarization seal at the time of attestation is valid. In simpler terms, a notary has the authority to notarize a document as long as its commission is valid. 

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However, when it comes to your document itself, the validity of the document may affect the validity of your notarization. For instance, you signed a one-year lease contract and had it notarized. This lease contract will expire after a year; hence notary stamp will expire with it.

The same rule applies to the documents notarized online. As long as the notary has its valid commission and your document has not expired, the notarization will not expire. If either of them expires, so does your online notarization. 

3. Different types of notarized documents and their expiration 

Every legal document is different. While some may have conditions such as expiration date, others may have renewal clause embedded as an addendum. However, each addition needs to be separately notarized. The first notarization of the principal document does not automatically validate the future additions. 

According to the National Notary Association (NNA), your document’s notarization will be valid as long as the date on the notary’s seal is current and within their commission’s validity period. However, you must always read your document thoroughly to identify any time-sensitive information. 

If there are any time associated clauses and conditions in the document, it is best to seek legal advice from an attorney. This will help you ensure that any expiration dates within the document do not affect the validity of your notarization. 

For instance, a lease contract you notarized states that you cannot get a refund after 6 months. After this time frame is over, this particular clause will expire. However, it will not affect the notarization of your document as a whole. 

Therefore, ask your attorney to ensure any such provisions, terms or conditions in your document do not affect the status of your notarization. 

4. The validity term of an online notary

If you are considering notarizing a document through an online notary, its term will run concurrently as the terms are valid for any other traditional notary’s commission. For example, an online notary holds a valid commission that will expire on December 31, 2022. It is safe for you to have the document notarized. 

Online notarization from a traditional notary

Let us suppose you get a document notarized from an online notary with a traditional notary commission. This notary’s traditional commission expires in the next six months, but its online commission expires after one year. In this case, the online notary commission will also expire with the traditional commission.

If you are having a document notarized online from a notary with a traditional commission, it is best to check that its traditional notary commission is still valid. 

Online notarization vs. electronic notarization

Many people do not know this, but online notarization is not the same as electronic notarization. An online notary is an entity that offers 100% online notarization of the document. You can submit the documents online and participate in an online audio/video session with a notary officer and a witness to notarize a document.

On the other hand, an electronic notarization is an act when a traditional notary affixes a notarization stamp digitally or electronically. However, you have to be physically present in front of the notarization offer. Electronic notarization has the authorization by Chapter 322, “Uniform Electronic Transactions Act” found in the Texas Business and Commerce Code.

5. Eligibility of an online notary 

When you are notarizing a document from an online notary, it is best to validate their eligibility to affix your document. In most cases, an online notary must abide by the same qualification criteria and rules for traditionally notary public found in Chapter 406, subchapter A in the Government code

When notarizing your document from an online notary, you must make sure that it has a notary identification number. Most importantly, it also has a valid (unexpired) traditional notary commission at the date and time of the notarization act. 

An online commission for a notary is valid and effective from the date of its qualification. However, it will expire on the same date as a notary public’s traditional notary commission. 

6. Jurisdiction of online notarization 

In order to perform an online notarization act, a notary must also hold a physical office within the boundaries of its commissioning authority. For instance, if there is an online notary service in Texas, it must hold a physical office or facility within the boundaries of Texas.

However, there is no restriction or rule for the signing parties. So, if you and the other signing party of the documents are in a different state, you can still have a document notarized online in Texas. 

According to the law, an online notary shall take all reasonable measures to ensure that a registered device they use for creating an electronic signature is current. The device terminated or revoked by the registering or issuing authority will void the notarization act. 

That said, an online notary public can use its electronic signature to perform an online notarization. If you are an online notary public performing a paper document notarization, the signing must physically present themselves before you. You would sign any notarial certificate as per traditional practice.

7. Avoid these 6 mistakes to maintain a notarized document valid

Notarization act of a document in the United States is pretty much a straightforward process. While a traditional and online notarization may not expire, there is a possibility of rejection if you make simple mistakes. Therefore, remember the following tips to maintain the validity of your notarized documentation. 

An incomplete notarial certificate

When performing a document notarization act, it is the responsibility of a notary and part of its job to ensure the completion of a notarial certificate. A notarial certificate refers to the wording you will usually find at the end of a notarized document. 

This section (wording) helps identify the type of notarial act performed on the document in question. The notarial certificate also states the details of the singing and the capacity the signer of the document signed it. 

If some blank space is left incomplete in this notarial certificate, it can invalidate the notarization. Furthermore, if you insert a notary’s name in a space where there should be a signer’s name in a blank space, this will also invalidate your notary.

Incorrect signer’s/venue name

Your notarial certificate has details, including the venue information. These are the name of the state and county of the notary public. This will help anyone identify the location of the notary where the notarial act actually took place. Even when it is an online notarization, it will give information about where the physical office of a notary is. 

Therefore, as a notary public and a person having a document notarized, you must pay attention to any pre-printed venues. Make sure that there is a signer’s name on your notarial certificate. In case there is typing error or mistake, only the online or traditional notary public can make corrections directly to a notary certificate. 

A notary can make such corrections by crossing out any error or incorrect information using a single line. Another way is to type or print the correct information and then sign the changes with the initials of the notary public’s official. 

If you are a notary public, you must document all such alterations in the record books. This is mandatory whether you made the correction or upon the customer’s request. However, in either case, only the notary public that notarized the document can do so, not a customer or any other notary public.

Expired notary seal

An expired notary seal will also result in the rejection of a notarized document. In other cases, a notary stamp impression that is too light or dark, smudged and incomplete may also result in rejection or invalidation of the notarization act. 

In some cases, if the details on the notary stamp are unreadable, the authorities may not be able to accept it. In case you get a notarization stamp and realize later that the wordings on the stamp are illegible, ask the notary to correct it for you.

The notary will place a line through this unclear impression or wording, sign it and then re-stamp your document. However, make sure that the re-stamp never overlaps the existing illegible stamp impression. This mess will make it look worse and may put a question mark on the authenticity of your document.

Never stamp over any text

Always make sure that a notary seal never overlaps any of the wordings on the document. The same goes for the signatures on the notarial certificate and the document itself. However, there should be no blank spaces between the notary seal and the signatures. Make sure they are always in close proximity, ideally next to each other.

These elements close to each other will determine the authority of the notary and that the official personally identified the signers. This also authenticates that the notary has observed the execution of the notarized document as per notary laws and followed the standard notarization process.

In case if there is not enough space on the document to put a notarization seal, you must attach a notarial certificate separately. 

Using correction fluids

Whether you are a notary or a signee of the document, you must never blacken out or erase any incorrect information on your notarial certificate of the notarized document. The court of law will most likely reject the notarization with corrections using fluids. So even when your notarized document does not expire, such attempts can deem it invalid. 

Avoid unfamiliar notarization

You must be diligent and use common sense to handle a notarization process. For instance, do not agree to notarize a document in a language you do not understand. Similarly, a notary must not notarize a document in a language it does not understand.

This is important because a notary will not be able to know the content of the document. On the other hand, if you are a person pursuing notarization, you will not know if the notary’s commission has expired or is still valid. 

8. Notarize a document online with PandaDoc Notary

For businesses searching for an online notarization software, PandaDoc Notary can help. Our platform will authenticate your document as per the notary laws in the state. And the best part is that you can use our notarized documents across the country.

With PandaDoc Notary, businesses can confidently present a notarized document to any authority and ensure it is neither expired nor invalid. 

With PandaDoc Notary, businesses can also create a digital notarization stamp to use for online notarization in their jurisdiction.


How to find notary expiration date?

The expiration date for a notary’s commission can be found on their seal, in addition to the notary’s full name, commission ID, and the state in which they are allowed to practice. Though each state sets its own requirements for what must be included on a notary stamp (including how it is presented), it is standard across all states that the notary expiration date is included. 

Does a notary stamp have a date on it?

Yes, a notary stamp contains the expiration date of the notary’s commission in addition to other crucial identifying information from the notary. This is to ensure that there is empirical record that the notary who performed the notarization was actively commissioned to do so at the time the document was signed. 

What if your notary commission expires?

If your notary commission expires, you must re-apply to obtain your commission if you wish to keep performing notarization services. If your commission has expired and you do not intend to renew, you must surrender your notary journals to the county recorder of deeds where you maintained your commission within 30 days of expiration. 

How to find your notary expiration date?

Your notary expiration date can be found within the details included in your notary stamp or seal. Some documents may have a designated space for a notary to fill out their information, including their commission ID and expiration date. 

When is a notary commission valid?

A notary commission is valid within the state that it was granted only. A notary commission obtained in one state will not be legally valid or permissible in another state because each state has its own unique notary laws that must be observed. 

What happens if you let your notary expire?

If you let your notary expire, you must forfeit your notary journals and any other materials to the country recorder of deeds in the jurisdiction where you received your commission. This must be taken care of within 30 days of your commission expiring. 

What happens if a notary makes a mistake?

If a notary makes a mistake during a notarization session, the document could potentially be rejected and not considered legally valid. If a notary makes a mistake on a document, the only way to correct the issue is to meet with the signer again to re-notarize the document and fix the mistake. 

How long does it take for an affidavit to expire?

An affidavit that has been notarized will not expire, as notarized documents can be considered legally valid indefinitely unless specifically stipulated to the contrary. As long as an affidavit has been notarized in compliance with the notary of the state in which it was signed, the document will continue to be legally valid.