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People may often require notarization of documents, but it is confusing when they should do it and which type of notary stamp they should use. A novice to notary will easily find it overwhelming as there are a couple of options to choose from.

You will have to determine if you create a notary stamp or if it is better to have a seal embosser. But you can only be sure if you are aware of the state rules and different types of notary stamps available, what they are used for and how. This blog post will help you by exploring:

  1. What is a notary stamp?
  2. What are notary stamps used for?
  3. Documents you can use an online notary stamp on
  4. How to use a notary stamp properly
  5. Types of notary stamps
  6. Factors to consider when creating a notary stamp online
  7. Create a notary stamp online for your business with PandaDoc Notary

1. What is a notary stamp? 

A notary stamp is a seal that authenticates a notary’s signature to confirm the validity of the documents and makes your notarial act official. The imprinted information on the notary stamp contains the public’s commission information about the notary. You can create a digital notary stamp in different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can get one that produces a round or rectangular notary stamp impression. 

A conventional modern-day notary stamp includes an ink pad that can automatically ink the stamp to create an impression. An online notary stamp is a digital impression of a notary’s validation of a document. 

An online notary stamp is mandatory when completing the electronic notarization process or Remote Online Notarization. As soon as you create the electronic notary seal, you will be able to use it for the duration of its commission.

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2. What are notary stamps used for? 

Each state practices its own set of unique rules and regulations to perform the legal notarization process. If you are an NNA member, check the online US Notary’s, Reference Manual. Here you will find all the information you need regarding rules for your specific states.

3. Documents you can use an online notary stamp on

There is a wide range of documents that you can use an online notary stamp on. These include:

Let’s look at some of these use cases in more detail:

For signature witnessing

This is one of the most common types of notarizations. The notary public certifies that you are exactly the person you claim to be and that the notary has personally witnessed (via online audio/video call) you signing the document. 

For acknowledgements

This type of online notary stamping is about confirming the validity of ownership of assets, including the power of attorney and/or trusts and property deeds. You will have to appear online in front of the notary public to declare that the signatures on the document are actually yours. You will have to declare that you intend to sign the document and agree with all the provisions and clauses mentioned in the document. 

Certifying the copies

An online notary will make a copy of your original documents and certify them using online notary stamps. This will verify that the copies are exact, complete, and true. This means you can use online notary stamps on college transcripts, degrees, driver’s licenses, and passports. 

Jurat

This is when you perform notarization of depositions, affidavits, and any other evidentiary documents. The online notary will use an online notary stamp to affirm that the documents on the statement are true. 

4. How to use a notary stamp properly

Using a notary stamp is one of the easiest ways to get an inscription of notary commission information on your document for notarization purposes. It is quick, simple, and neat. However, the stamp should create an impression in a way that is acceptable by the receiving authority or recipient of the notarized document. 

Furthermore, you have to ensure that the notary stamp does not block or overlap the signature of the notary’s signature or any other text on the notarized document. You have to be careful as this can be difficult due to the limited space allotted for a notary stamp. 

One of the best ways is to create a notary stamp that fits several documents. If you are creating a notary stamp, you must look at various stamp sizes to fit any configuration. Suppose the area to put a notary stamp is too narrow. In that case, you can opt for another option to attach a separate certificate of a similar type as that of a notary certificate on your document’s acknowledgment. 

It is also good to create a notary stamp and practice making impressions from different angles on a blank piece of paper. This way, you get an idea about the size of the impression and various angles to apply when stamping a real digital document for notarization. 

5. Types of notary stamps

Two basic types of notary stamps are:

Notary seal stamps 

Notary seal stamps are traditional notary seal stamps that come with ink rubber stamps to imprint the notary’s state-required information. The information usually contains the name of the notary public, the state of its commission, and the date of the commission’s expiry.

Whichever size or shape you choose for notary seals, it is always best to pick a dark ink color. According to the American Association of Notaries, a darker ink ensures that your notary stamp’s impression is clear and shows all relevant information on the notarized document. 

An online notary stamp has all the above features. The only difference is that it is a notary seal that you create using Remote Online Notarization (RON) software

Notary seal embosser

This type of notary stamp is a metal clamping device that can create round but raised indentation on your document. All of the information is engraved on a notary seal embosser’s plate. Before modern ink-based notary stamps came into the market, notary seal embossers were the main way to give documents a stamp of validation and authentication.

Still in fashion, a notary seal embosser gives your document a classy look. One of the most common areas where a notary seal embosser is most popular is when it comes to verification of the documentation intended for use in a foreign country.  

However, unlike an ink-based notary stamp, a notary seal embosser requires a decent amount of pressure to create an adequately visible impression on any document. On top of that, this type of notary stamp will also require the use of ink to darken the embossed/raised impression on the paper. 

This is necessary; otherwise, the copy of the document will not show the information embossed on the notary’s seal and will result in invalidation of your document’s authenticity. 

Notary stamps online

People have many misconceptions about notary stamps online. Some ask if they are legal to use, while others are unsure if they will be able to get one easily. Therefore, this post will answer some of the very basic questions to provide clarity on the legitimacy and acceptance of the notary stamps online.

Are online notary stamps legitimate? 

The answer is a “Yes!” you can legally use an online notary stamp to notarize any legal document and verify its authenticity. In 2011, the Commonwealth of the State of Virginia enacted House Bill 2318 and Senate Bill 827. The aim was to allow all legally commissioned notaries in Virginia to offer online notarization services.

Even since, the notaries across all 50 states can now offer an online notary stamp for notarization. However, they have to abide by a condition, i.e., to complete the online notarization process by using a live video call or conference call. The signing parties, the witness, and the notary must all be present on the online notarization via audio and video call option. 

As of now, more than 30 states in the county have passed a version of their own remote online notarization bills. These bills allow public notaries in each state to serve as signers for an entirely online notarization service. 

Therefore, you can connect with an authorized public notary who can create and provide a digital notary stamp on most of your documents. You will first sign the documents electronically using a digital tool. The document will then go to the notary while you, the witness, and the notary gather at an audio-visual conference. The notary public will commence the process, and upon satisfactory evidence, will affix its digital seal, signature, and other notarial information on your e-document. 

Moreover, each state has flexible rules that extend legal authority to accept and recognize standard out-of-state notarizations. However, the public notary responsible for notarization must fulfill all the requirements set in place by their own state to deem the document and the notarization valid.

The United States Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause may act as additional support for all the states to readily accept notarizations from any of the out-of-state notary publics. 

Can you use a notary stamp created online instead?

Yes, you can use the notary stamp created online instead of a conventional notary stamp. This has been especially true since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you must be careful when creating an online notary stamp. 

Here are some tips for notaries who use online notary stamps for notarization. 

  • Do not share your digital certificate, private key, or digital certificate template with anyone because it is your digital thumbprint. In the wrong hands, people can use it to commit all sorts of notarization frauds. 
  • If you lose your digital certificate for any reason, you must report the loss immediately to your relevant state commissioning authority. Additionally, you must also report this loss to the entrusted companies, partners, clients, and, most importantly, local law enforcement authorities/agencies. 
  • Only display your online notary stamp or digital certificates on trusted Remote Online Notarization platforms. Always take your online notary stamp and digital certificates with you. They are your intellectual and legal property.

6. Factors to consider when creating a notary stamp online

You can create an online notary stamp from an authorized notary inside RON software. However, you also have to find out the notary laws of your state, whether they require an inked notary stamp or do they accept an online notary stamp. 

Besides that, you also have to determine which type of notary stamp to use. You must also ensure to know the shape and dimensional requirements for the notary stamp. For example, you must find out if the state permits the usage of rectangular or round notary stamps. Other elements to consider are:

  • The type of borderline allowed around the notary is another important aspect when it comes to choosing a notary stamp. 
  • The ink colors allowed.
  • The information required on your notary stamp.

All of the above-mentioned factors are very critical when it comes to creating an online notary stamp. This is because the wrong type of ink color, wrong notary stamp design, or information missing on a notary stamp can invalidate the notarization act, and you may face legal implications at times. Therefore, always use the right source or provider when creating an online notary stamp.

7. Create a notary stamp online for your business with PandaDoc Notary

If you are wondering where to create an online notary stamp for your business, PandaDoc Notary can help. We have everything you need to create an online digital notary stamp using our proprietary RON software. 

Our online notary stamps allow your business to carry out digital notarizations as per your state’s law without any hassle. You can confidently put your digital seal on important documents. 

Create your digital notary stamp online now.

Guy Pearson has been a commissioned notary for more than seven years. He also runs one of the most established Facebook groups for Remote Online Notarization (RON), with more than 7000 members nationwide. Guy is the co-founder and product leader of PandaDoc Notary. His team drives product initiatives in key verticals, such as Legal, Financial, and Real Estate.

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