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 serrated or milled edge 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)
Use: 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
Your telephone book may list 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 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. You are required to report the loss or theft of your seal in writing to the Secretary of State within 30 days. The fee for recording a lost seal is two dollars. Having that fact on record will help protect you if another person were to use your seal fraudulently.
After you make the report, order a new seal with the same information as before. Then send an imprint of your new seal on a card or letter to be filed with your commission record.
Change of Name or Address: If you change your legal name or move to a new address, you must file the appropriate change (See Making Changes for more information) within 30 days and have a new seal made reflecting those changes. You must file a copy of that new seal imprint with the Notary Division. You may wish to have the new seal made first, then file the change and the new seal imprint at the same time.
Destroying An Old Seal
West Virginia law requires that you destroy your notary seal if you resign or move out of state before your commission expires. It is a good idea to destroy an old seal as soon as it is no longer legally useful. This happens when your 10-year term ends, or your name or address changes and you obtain a new seal with the new information. Destroying and old seal protects you against possible theft and fraudulent use.
The law does not specify how to destroy a seal, but the key is to make the seal unusable.
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," and "State of West Virginia."