The Notary Seal
Specifications for the Required Rubber Stamp Seal
Size: The size must be a rectangle no larger than 1 inch high by 2 1/2 inches wide.
Border: The seal must have a border.
Contents: Most notary stamp seals have the West Virginia State Seal on the left, however, this is optional. Every seal must contain the words 'Official Seal', 'Notary Public', 'State of West Virginia' and your name, address and commission expiration date. Please note that this is an oversized example!
STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
Business Name (if a business address is used)
City, State, Zip
My Commission Expires (Date)
Usage: A notary must use the rubber stamp seal on every notarization, usually under the acknowledgement, and the seal must be placed on the document so that the information is legible.
Ordering the Rubber Stamp Seal
You may search in the telephone book yellow pages or online for a list of companies that make rubber stamp seals under "Rubber Stamps" or "Office Supplies". When you contact the company, ask if they are familiar with the specifications for West Virginia notary public seals.
When you order, send a photocopy of your commission letter, which will include the exact information which is to be included on the seal, and the order form specifications from this office. That way, if there is an error, the company should remake it at no extra charge.
The name and address must be exactly as you were commissioned, and you must sign all notarizations with that name.
Seals are available in plain and self-inking types. The color of the ink is optional. The seal you purchase must make a clear impression so that all the words can be easily read. If it does not, please return it and ask for a replacement.
Replacing Your Rubber Stamp Seal
Loss or Theft: The security of the seal is liability protection for a notary public. Keep the seal in a safe place, where it can't be used or taken by anyone. Per West Virginia Code §39-4-18(b), the notary public or the notary public's personal representative or guardian must notify promptly the Secretary of State on discovering that the device is lost or stolen. You are required to report the loss or theft of your seal in writing to the Secretary of State within thirty (30) days after loss or theft. Having that fact on record will help protect you if another person were to use your seal fraudulently. There is no fee for recording a lost or stolen seal.
After you make the report, order a new seal with the same information as before.
Change of Name or Address: If you change your legal name or move to a new address (per West Virginia Code §39-4-22), you must file the appropriate change (see Making Changes to Your Notary Public Commission for more information) within thirty (30) days of the change and have a new seal made reflecting those changes.
Destroying An Old Seal
West Virginia Code §39-4-18(b) requires that, on resignation from, or on the expiration of, the notary public's commission, or on the date set forth in the stamping device, the notary public shall disable the stamping device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing or securing it against use in a manner that renders it unusable. It is a good idea to destroy an old seal as soon as it is no longer legally useful. This happens when your five (5) year term ends, or your name and/or address changes and you obtain a new seal with the new information. Destroying an old seal protects you against possible theft and fraudulent use.
Embossed or Impression Seals
The embossed seal is permitted by West Virginia law, but not required. Also, it is not acceptable as a substitute for a rubber stamp seal. If you want to use an embossed seal in addition to the rubber stamp seal, you may have one made by one of the specialty companies that manufacture them. If you do obtain an embossed seal, it must include the words:
- Notary Seal
- Your Name
- Notary Public
- State of West Virginia