Notary Public Central   





Welcome to Notary Public Central's most frequently asked questions.  Here you will find answers to many common questions people have asked over the years regarding Notary Public procedures and clarification of proper document execution.  If you do not see what your looking for, please e-mail us at Notary@NotaryPublicCentral.Com


Please note the answers provided below DO NOT represent any form of legal advice.

1. Q. I am qualified in Nassau County but would like to use my stamp in another County.  How may I go about doing this and is there a fee involved?


2. Q. I am moving and need to change my address with the County Clerk.  I call but only get a recorded message.  Could you tell me what to do?


3. Q. I live in Queens and originally became a Notary for my place of employment.  I no longer work there.  Do I have to turn over my Notary Public Commission?


4. Q. I just moved to Long Island (temporarily) from New Jersey.  I work in Manhattan.   I still have a New Jersey license but have a checking account and credit card bills with my new address.  Will I be able to take the test on Long Island?


5. Q. I recently got married.  Do I have to change my name on my Notary Public Commission?


6. Q. Can a NY State Notary Public notarize a Power of Attorney for a maternal or parental parent giving the other parent the Power of Attorney?  As I understand the law, as long as the child who is the notary has no vested interest on or in a document he or she can notarize it for a relative.


7. Q. Someone asked me to notarize something and I didn't have my stamp.  Can I do that or do I need my stamp to notarize?


8. Q. I am a legal resident of the US and I have a Green Card but I am not a US Citizen yet.  Do I qualify to be a commissioned Notary Public?


9. Q.I have two A misdemeanors on my record one is for Criminal Possession of a Stolen Property and the other is for Petit Larceny.  They are from 2003.  I am in the process of applying for a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities.  Please advise me if I would be able to become a notary?


10. Q. I took your course and passed that test, thank you.  I recently found out my job is relocating me to California.  Is my commission good in California or do I need to retake the exam for that State?


11.  I'm confused/what am I missing on this?: You’re supposed to have a notarial cert (prepared by an attorney I assume) for any document or you’re not supposed to notarize. However:  my husband says he wrote a letter and took it to a Notary Public who notarized it.  There are notary stamps with affidavit and acknowledgement wording which apparently I can buy.  Per your course pack there’s going to be instances when a Jurat or acknowledgement need correct wording or additional wording but how do I change it without practicing law?

Please verify that I’ve got this correct: in NYS I could refuse any subscribing witness per Professional Choice and it would not be official misconduct.

12.  I’ve been notarizing and have confidence in what I’m doing. Today my first deed walked in the door – person had an old (maybe 30 years old) MTA disability (cannot speak) photo ID card.  I declined to notarize because of some blank spaces on the deed and also because the MTA is a quasi gov’t agency – it’s a public trust operated by a board appointed by the Governor; also declined because the ID obviously didn’t have an expiration date. My question regards the MTA as a State or gov’t agency.  Any advice for me?

13. Q. I have a question regarding notarizing a sworn affidavit that indicates on the document “seal”.  In addition to the seal, am I to also to use my Notary stamp?

14. Q. I want to know how I can tell the difference between acknowledgment and affidavit when I look at the document?

15. Q.  I was wondering if you knew how long it takes to get your commission number from the State?  I sent in my application 3 weeks ago and still have not received anything.

16. Q. I just wanted to know what I should do in case I lose my stamp.  The stamp expires in July, 2006.  The last time I remember using it was March 15th 2006, and I haven't seen it since, any light you could shed on this matter would be helpful.

17. Q. I passed the test and when I got my commission number, I took it to work to laminate it.  I have since misplaced it and if that wasn't bad enough, I also had my mother's card with her commission number and misplaced THAT too!!!   What should I do?  I am so distraught over losing these cards.


18. Q. Is it true that now even if I am a Bronx county notary, I can notarize documents anywhere in NYS? That is, without having to apply in each cities' county clerk office?

Also, I found a notary on the web who met with me yesterday and took me to a home equity loan closing. He seemed very good. He said that he will train me so I can do loan closings and that I will be working under his signing agent license. The fee I would get paid for each closing would be $90-$100. He said that he works with Citibank and other banks. He is a 3rd party. He also
said that there are 4 other people working for him. Also, he said he would take me to meet the bank next week.

I'm new to all this. I just received my notary commission last Now and am in the learning phase. What is his benefit in me working "under" him? He said I would be an independent worker. Like a contractor I guess.

What do you think of this?

19.  Q. An employee with the Village who took your course gave me your email address so that I might pose a question.  A local business person notarizes forms for his business and he signs as John J Doe but his stamp reads Doe J John.  Is this an acceptable practice?


20. Q. I work for a bank and have had several requests to notarize photocopies of passports, drivers licenses, marriage certificates and birth certificates. Is it okay to notarize photocopies and if so what is the best way to do this?


21. Q. If someone I know has a petition signed by several people (lets say 20 for example), Can I notarize ALL of those signatures if he swears that he saw all of them sign it?  Also, do I have to stamp/sign it 20 times or can I write something at the bottom indicating that John Doe swears that he saw all of the above individuals sign this document?  If I cannot do either of the above 2 things, what do you recommend that I do in this situation?


22. Q.

I have a document to be signed by 4 people. Someone was fired & the former employee is claiming that she was fired unfairly. The affiants are writing that they did not see any improper actions by the employer & that they think that she was terminated fairly.
Can I notarize this?


23. Q. Can a document be signed by more than one person and can I notarize both of those signatures.  If it is to be signed by 2 different people, Do I write all of this info 2x & stamp it 2x?


24. Q. I would like to know something; when I send in the Notary Public Application Instructions form, do I put in the same name as the receipt of the Examination Application?  I signed Jane D. Doe-Smith.  I wanted to know if I could get my stamp with just my married name.  (Example:  Jane  D. Doe).  Please let me know.


25.  Q. I am a graduating senior at the University of Delaware. My friend asked me if I could notarize his expungement papers
from a court in Delaware.

As a NY notary do I have jurisdiction to do so? Also I never bought a tempered seal, do I need one to notarize expungement papers?


25. Q.  I am a graduating senior at the University of Delaware. My friend asked me if I could notarize his expungement papers from a court in Delaware.

As a NY notary do I have jurisdiction to do so? Also I never bought a
tempered seal, do I need one to notarize expungement papers?


26 Q. I received my "pass" slip in the mail and sent it to the Sec. of State along with my application for my notary card about a week ago.  Is it possible to notarize something before I have my card?  Is there a department I can contact that will give me my notary number and expiration date prior to me receiving the card?



27. Q. Falsely acting as a notary public, is this a felony or a misdemeanor?


28. Q. Is a notarized document considered:

1) Presumptive evidence in court
2) Direct evidence in court



29. Q.  What is the difference between Bill of Sale and Chattel Paper.  I know they both pertain to personal property?


30. Q.

My Name is Diane and I obtained my notary stamp from your company about a year ago.   However, I have a problem and I need some advise.  I lost my notary stamp and I am unsure who to call and how to report this in the state of New York
Can you advise?
A. You should call the Department of State immediately to report it stolen so that they have it on record 1-518-474-4429 press 1, 1, 7 for a live rep.  Then you need to order a new one, which you can do from us and I would suggest you get the Journal too.

Q. I am a notary for NY state. Am I allowed to notarize a Canadian passport? And if so can I notarize a passport that is for a minor child with the mother as signing agent for them?



We cannot Notarize passports per se regardless of what State they are from.  Passports require certification and can only be done by the issuing agent.  If we notarize a passport in essence it may seem as if we are authenticating it and we cannot do that in the event it is fraudulent documentation.   As for the minor, we can only notarize for a minor if they are an emancipated minor.  A minor cannot enter into any type of contract legally under the age of 18.


Q. I took the notary course with you a few months ago.  I have a paper that I am notarizing but there is no room for me to stamp.  I am not sure what to do in this situation.


If there is abosulutely no room, you can attach a loose certificate.  Let me know if it is for an affidavit or acknowledgement and I could fax one over to you.  Let me know your fax # and remember to fill out the bottom of the form that I will be sending you with all the identifying information and attach it with a staple to the document.

Q. If an employee terminates employment and the employer paid for that employees notary exam and for their seal/stamp, can the employer require the employee to turn in the seal/stamp and or notary card?


Absolutely Not!  A Notary Public is considered a Public Office and belongs to the holder as such.  Regardless of who paid for supplies or exam fees the Notary Public Commission belongs to the Notary only.  That is completely illegal if someone told you that.

Q. Must the Jurat be written on every paper I sign and stamp?  From time to time people come to me to notarize a photo copy, if I write “Exact Copy” on the paper, sign and stamp it, is this ok?


A jurat or notary certificate should be contained on everything you notarize.  Please never write "Exact Copy" because that implies that the instrument in which the copy was made from was an original and that You the Notary are in essence authenticating it.  We cannot certify instruments (which is what the words EXACT COPY) implies.  If people need a copy of a document notarized what THEY need to do is draft an affidavit stating that this is a copy of ..... and you may insert the Jurat before you notarize it.  However, you must ask them if what they need is a Certified Copy or a Photocopy.  Documents which we cannot notarize would be copies of authentic instruments such as Birth Certf, Death Certf, Passports, Photographs, Legal Pleadings and Accident Reports... (To name a few).  These all fall under certifiable instruments, in which case the individual needs to obtain a certified copy from the issuing agent.
The only thing we may do are attested copies where we the notary made a copy of an original, usually less significant document that people would have in their possession such as a college degree or HS diploma. 
Did you take one of our courses?  If so please review the rules in the "fact sheet" regarding these instruments.
If you do not already have Jurat and/or Notary Certificate Stamps you can purchase them here:

Q. In NYS can a notary public notarize something for a relative? Like Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Mother, Father, husband, child, etc…..


Yes, as long as you do not have any interest in what you are notarizing.


I became a notary public about (4) years ago.  My commission expires in July 2009.  How do I renew my license?  Any information would be greatly appreciated.


You should be receiving a renewal application this month from the County Clerk's office.  Did you move since you became a Notary?  If so let me know, otherwise the County Clerk will be providing you with a renewal application, at which time all you need to do is fill it out, take it to a Notary for Notarization and send it back to the County Clerk with $60 payable to the Department of State.  In approximately 30 days you should receive a new card with expiration.


I took the notary prep class last week with Deena at Lancaster H.S., and realized during the course that I don't think I would be able to use it for the purpose I was hoping for--but wanted to check with you.  I work for my family's construction business as the office manager and we have a frequent need for notarized lien releases and AIA documents (payment requests).  I prepare the lien releases or AIAs and then my uncle, who is the treasurer of the company, signs the form.  Currently, he takes these to the bank for notary.  This arrangement would be a disqualification for me to be the notary right?


Not necessarily?  There is some leniency with Family Owned and Operated businesses.  As long as you are not receiving any direct financial gain from notarizing I am 99% sure that this is ok.  Please call 1-518-474-4429 press 1, 1 and 7 to speak with an agent at the licensing division.
I had attended the Notary Public Prep course at Bayport Blue Point High School last year.  I'm going to take my test next week and I took the 100 question prep test on your website.  I did well, I just had a couple questions.
#13 The statement that a document was signed before a Notary Public is known as:  I put acknowledgement, but the answer was an affidavit. Yes, because an Affidavit MUST be signed in the presence of a Notary, whereas the acknowledgment could be signed elsewhere but the signer must be before a Notary to Notarize.
In the blue prep course booklet on page 32, it shows an example of an acknowledgment.  The notary certificate says "Acknowledged and affirmed to before me appeared________on this day of______200__."  Could you shed some light on this for me, I'm a little confused.  Well this is an example of the certificate wording on an acknowledgment form.  The main thing we are concerned with is the wording on the certificate (at the beginning - specifically where it reads "acknowledged and affirmed").  This is our indication of what type of document it is.  If it were to say "sworn or subscribed" that would mean it was an affidavit form and hence this would be known as the JURAT.
One thought I had is that this could also be a subscribing witness, therefore, it wouldn't actually be the affiant in front of the Notary Public.  Yet with an affidavit, it would have to be, because they are taking an oath.  Would that be it? A subscribing witness is in the absence of the actual document signer.  The actual signer does sign the document before the subscribing witness, the subscribing witness brings the form to the notary.  In addition to the subscribing witness' signature you would need the subscribing witness to take an oath and sign the document before you, indicating their name and address on the document.  You would also indicate that they are the person who appeared (as you have below) before you and they may not have any type of interest in the document to qualify as a subscribing witness.
Also, am I correct in the fact that (if it were a subscribing witness) the subscribing witness' name would be filled in the appeared "_______________" . Would you also note anywhere on the form that this is a subscribing witness and that the person who signed the acknowledgement was not present? See above answer
My other question is on #23  How many years should a Notary reside in NY State before they may be appointed Notary Public?  Answer being 1 year. This is correct.
Then on #30 In orderr to be appointed as a Notary you must be a NY State citizen for at least:
and the answer is At the time of your appointment (I thought it would be one year).  Is the key "citizen".  Does that mean you've already resided in NY for a year?  I was a bit confused on that one also. Correct, if there were an answer choice for a term of 1 year that could be the answer as well, but this one comes from the law of "Qualifications for Holding Office".  Therefore, they are gearing you toward that spectrum.



Sure, you could get something notarized in another State.  The Notary would just need to change the venue of the document to read where you/they are at the time you are having it notarized.  (IE: State of New Jersey, County of _____)








1. A.


As a New York Notary Public, your jurisdiction (where you are allowed to notarize) is any County within New York State.  If you would like to apply for another commission in a separate county you may do this, although it is not required.  There will be a $10 filing fee in addition to a $5.00 fee for an Issuance of Certificate of Official Character.







2. A.


When a Notary Public changes their place or residence, they need to notify the Department of State within 5 business days of your scheduled move date.  You may contact the Department of State directly by calling 1-518-474-4429 (press #1 after first recording and #7 after second recording).  Also, you may visit the local county clerk's office where your commission is on file and fill out the "change of address form".  The fee for an address change is $10.







3. A.


Absolutely not!   When you become a Notary, you are considered a Public Officer.  The commission belongs solely to you.  You do not need to forfeit your commission if you leave your place of employment, regardless of who paid for it.  Your commission is good as long as you keep a New York State residence.  P.S.  It is a great credential to have on your resume.







4. A.


Yes, you qualify based on either your place or residence (NY) or place of employment (NY).  Since your place of employment hasn't changed I would probably apply under your business address until you are settled and decide where you will be setting up a permanent residence.  You could always apply for an address change later on.  Just remember your commission may only be used in NY State.







5. A.


No, it is not required that you change your name on your Notary Public Commission.  You may add your married name in parentheses after your maiden name on your signature and stamp, however it is not required.  If you do however wish to officially change your name then you may file a name change form with the Department of State by calling 1-518-474-4429 (press #1 after first recording and #7 after second recording).  You may also visit the local county clerk's office where your commission is on file and fill out a "name change form".  The fee for a name change is $10.







6. A.


While it is true that a Notary may notarize documents for relatives in which they have no (Financial, Emotional or Beneficial) interest in, they have to be very careful.  I am not authorized to give legal advice, however, if the document in question could come up for question by another family member or relative I would recommend that you do not notarize it.  Especially if it has to do with (Estate, Property or Divorce proceedings).  If you would like to call the NYS Department of State to confirm their number is: 1-518-474-4429 (wait for the recording to speak and then press 1 listen for next recording and then press 7 for the Notary Division). 







7. A.


Yes, you could notarize without having your official stamp with you.  What you need to do is handwrite in BLACK ink beneath your signature the following EXACTLY as it appears replacing only what is in parentheses with your info:


(Your Name)

Notary Public, State of New York

Commission #: (Enter Commission #)

Qualified in (Enter County Name)

My Commission Expires: (Enter Full month, date and year)







8. A.


Sure, as long as you have a US resident alien card you qualify to become a NY State commissioned Notary Public.







9. A.


There is a possibility that you may not qualify.  After you pass the New York State Notary Exam, the State does their own background check on your character.  If they find reason to believe you may not be a good candidate, they may reject your application.  The fact that you are applying for a "Certificate or Relief from Civil Disabilities" may actually help, however the ultimate decision lies in the State Department's hands.  I cannot guarantee you one way or the other.







10.  A.


Your New York State Notary Commission is non-transferable.  You may only use your commission in New York State.  If you are moving out of state, you need to apply for another commission in that State.  Some states require a test others do not.  Your best bet is to contact the following Department for California:

Office of Secretary of State
Notary Public Section
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277-0001
(916) 653-3595






11.  A.

Official documents should always contain a Notarial Certificate if the document is an Acknowledgement or a Jurat if the document is an Affidavit.  If documents do not contain this information the document signer needs to verify with the issuing agency of that document what type of wording is required.
Some Notaries like to have handy "Loose Certificates" and/or "Notary Certificate" and/or "Jurat" Stamps for those documents which are generally handwritten by individuals (ie: do not contain a Certificate/Jurat).  A Notary needs to ascertain from the individual which type of wording they deem appropriate, without giving any advice.  You may explain to the constituent the difference between the 2, but have them decide.  If they are unsure, they need to find out from the receiving agency.
As for a subscribing witness situation, you may use your own discretion based upon the individual circumstances, however, I would make sure to keep a journal of signatures notarized, including declination with legitimate reason for refusal.






12.  A.

I would have done the same thing.  I don't believe that ID card would of been sufficient for you to Notarize with.  The only type of ID card issued by State or Gov't we can accept is generally:
Drivers License
Non-Drivers License
Military ID
INS Card
or Pistol Permit and things of that nature....
Although the MTA is a Gov't Agency, he/she was probably showing you a work identification card whereby there would be no expiration contained on it and therefore, not a legitimate form of ID.  Because ID must contain those 4 elements to be acceptable: Signature, Physical Description, Photo and Expiration.
You did the right thing.  In addition that fact that that you could not verbally communicate with him/her renders it null/void as well.  Unfortunately, that person is probably going to have to go to the County Clerk, an Attorney or Court House for some additional help.






13.  A.

Yes, if a seal is required it would be in conjunction with the Notary Ink Stamp.  The Stamp is always necessary, the seal is the secondary requirement if a document calls for one.





14. A.

Acknowledgments contain a "Notary Certificate" (Acknowledged to.....) and are types of documents that do not require an "Oath" because the signer is not swearing to the contents of this document.  They are simply asked, "if the document was freely signed for the purposes stated in the document".  They must positively respond and be positively identified by you the Notary.

Affidavits on the other hand contain "Jurat" wording: (Sworn to before me.....) and with this document you must administer an "Oath" to the signer (do you solemnly swear that the contents of this affidavit subscribed by you is correct and true?).  They also must be positively identified by you the Notary and positively respond with a yes in order for you to effectuate this document.





15. A.

It generally takes approximately 30 days from the day the State Department receives it.  You can actually find out if it has been uploaded before you even receive your card.  Simply visit my site at www.NotaryPublicCentral.Com and click "Commission Verification"  to see if it is posted yet.  It will be listed here before you actually reeive your card and than you could order your stamp. 





16. A.

First thing you should do is report it to the Secretary of State:
518-474-4429.  If you still have your Commission Card, you can always get
another stamp made up.  If you need to notarize in the meantime you could
handwrite the information that belongs on your stamp in black ink under your

If the stamp was ordered through me I would of had my sticker on it which
has our contact information in the event it was lost I would of received a
call.  I haven't heard from anyone, therefore it may be that it is lost
somewhere around the house.  Perhaps you left it in an attaché case or




17. A.

All you need to do is call the Department of State (518) 474-4429 (option 1 and 7) and let them know you lost your cards and they will issue you a form to apply for a Duplicate Card.  Make sure they send you 2 forms.  I believe it will cost you $10/card, and it will bear the same number as your old ones.  This is a fraud prevention measure.  Then your good to go.









18.  A.

Regarding you notarizing in other Counties, yes this is true.  You may
notarize in any County within NYS.  You do not need to apply for a certificate in each county.

As for the Notary Signing Agent, sounds pretty lucrative.  This gentleman is probably quite busy with work and as such needs to sub-contract work to other notaries.  He probably gets paid a fee from the Bank and passes some of it on to you.  He probably has too many closings to handle and that is why he employes others.  I would recommend you get familiar with the process
of closings ie: documents etc...  When you feel comfortable and know that you can trust this gentleman, I don't see anything wrong with making some extra cash.  However, I do not understand the part about you working under his license?  There is no such License to work under unless he is referring to a Title Closer.  There is no interest involvement here aside from the fact that
he is paying you for your time.





19.  A.

Whether or not that would be acceptable would be a determination of the Department of State or authorizing agent of the specific documents in question.  However, I can tell you that as a New York Notary, your stamp should read the same way you sign.  John J. Doe.  It is the name which appears on your Notary Commissioning Card.  There may have been an error by the printer wherein John J. Doe gave a copy of the commissioning card to the printer (On the commissioning card the names reads Doe, John J.) and that is why the stamp may have been made up that way.  I stronly suggest this gets corrected or John J. Doe could be facing defective document issues.





20. A.

Absolutely no to all of the items listed below.  These documents need to be certified and certification can only be done by the issuing agency.  Photocopies of documents such as these, even when notarized, will not be acceptable documents.






21. A.

What your purporting is something known as a  Subscribing Witness Situation.  * I would recommend that John Doe have an Affidavit drawn up (not by you) stating that he witnessed all the signatures being executed and you Notarize this Affidavit with the Petition attached to it.  If you were to perform that Subscribing Witness situation you wouldn't have to stamp 20 times because you didn't witness the 20 people signing only one (John Doe).  The document would require 1 Notarization.  However, remember with a Subscribing Witness situation, John Doe cannot benefit (financially, emotionally, or otherwise), he cannot be a party to the instrument if he is acting as the subscribing witness.





22. A.

You may notarize this document as long as all 4 appear before you and you administer an Oath to each of them if it is an Affidavit and properly ID them.  Chances are that if this ends up in Court this document will become a piece of legal evidence and as such you want to make sure it is properly notarized.





23. A.

If both people are before you, you may notarize for both people.  The document should contain a Jurat that might read something about both people appearing before you (before me appeared __________ and  __________), if not you shoudl fill it in to contain both names and the Stamp should only be required once unless you were performing the notarization at two different times (ie: Morning for one and Night for another), then you would stamp it twice..





24. A.

As for your application, you should fill it out to read the name that you use and that is on your other forms of identification.  Your stamp must read the exact way it appears on your commission card.  Your commission card name will appear with the name that you apply with.  Therefore, if Jane D. Doe is the name that you go by and your identification matches this name then there should be no problem with you applying with that name.





25. A.

Delaware is not a County that falls within New York jurisdiction.  Therefore, you cannot notarize these documents if you were in Delaware.  If however you are in New York and your friend comes to visit with these papers you could perform the notarization with Venue being properly filled to read
State of New York, County of (where ever you are at the time of notarization).

The expungement papers in general is not a document that I am familiar with (but I am guessing it has something to do with a case being thrown out of
court).  I do not see any reason why you couldn't notarize this for your friend if you have absolutely no interest whatsoever.  If this document
requires a seal it should be noted on the form.  If it is not apparent on the face of the form, you should have your friend ask the Court if a Seal is
required.  I am guessing that it will due to the fact that you are a New York Notary and this document will be considered "out of state" due to the
fact that the County where it is being filed is Delaware and you are a New York Notary, it may require a seal.  If you do not have a seal and the document requires one, you could obtain a Certificate from the County Clerk's Office officiating your signature.


26. A.

As for notarizing prior to receiving you number, unfortunately we cannot do that because you need your commission # in order to notarize.  You could periodically check my Commission Verification link on www.NotaryPublicCentral.Com .   I usually takes approximately 30 days from the date they receive it to receive your commission number.





27. A.

Holding yourself out to be something you are not is considered a misdemeanor charge (Subsection 140).






28. A.

Presumptive Evidence





29. A.

Chattel paper is something like a Promissory Note where there is a SECURITY INTEREST involvement.  Whereas Bill of Sale involves the transferring of TITLE.




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