Common Notary Public Errors

I get many requests to have a notary public or other government signatures Authenticate at the County Clerks Office. And what I found is there are errors that some Notaries make when notarizing a document. The Notary may never know that these are errors because no one has ever pointed this out to them, mainly because a notary is suppose to know what they are doing. A few times I received documents where the Notary Public just placed their Notary stamp, the date & sign their signature on a document, minus the venue & notarial wording .

This is just wrong!


What is an authentication? An Authentication is a process where the County Clerk verifies the signature of  governmental public officials and notary publics. They verify that the signature on the document belongs to the person who signed it.  They do this by comparing the signature on the document to the signature that is on file in their office on the commission card of notary public on file.

A notary Public signature is authenticated when the notary completes a Jurat or an Acknowledgement.


The following is a sample of a Notary Jurat
State of _New York )
                               ) SS
County of _Queens )
Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this 12th day of June 2017, by {full name of the person in front of the notary}

     John Doe             
 Notary Public’s Signature


The following is a sample of a Notary Acknowledgement

STATE OF ___________
COUNTY OF _________

On the ______ day of _________________ in the year _______ before me, the undersigned, personally appeared _________________________, personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is (are) subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their capacity (ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument. ______________________
 Notary Public’s Signature

Notary Public Printed Name: _________________
My Commission Expires: _____________________

Notary Public mistakes or errors

If you're getting a document Authenticated here is a list of things that will cause your document to be rejected by the County Clerks Office for improper notary work, that is what I like to call Sloppy Notary work:

Missing Venuethe venue is the location where the notary administered the oath or acknowledgment, the venue is the part of the notary wording that says:
State of _________
County of ________
The venue is either missing or not filled in. Please don't confuse this with similar information that is on the notary's stamp. The venue as shown  must be all documents in addition to the notary stamp.

Missing Jurat the Jurat is the statement, (that is shown above). Is says that the notary public administered the oath or acknowledgment. This is the sometimes called the notarial wording, "such as Sworn to or affirmed & subscribed before me this __ Day of ____, 20__",
or it may say
"The foregoing instrument was acknowledge before me this __ Day of ____, 20__ by clients Full Name ...

Notary Public signature is Missing  - The Notary did not Sign their signature

Notary Public Signature Does Not Match - The Signature of the notary on the document is different from the signature that’s on file at the County Clerks Office.  The Notary Public is suppose to sign their signature exactly as it was signed on their Notary Card when they were first commissioned as a Notary Public.

The notary public may want to make a nice fancy 'John Hancock' signature on their everyday notary work but this is unacceptable when it comes to having that signature authenticated by the county clerks office, it will fail. So, it always pays to sign your name as you did on your commission card.

There is no date on the document or in the notary area. The notary must state the date that the notary stamp was placed on the document.

The Venue is not written in English, In New York State the notary can notarize a document written in a foreign language, however, the notarial wording, the part that the notary public places on the document must be in English.

The Jurat is not written in English

The notary stamp has expired - did the notary forget to renew their commission or just forgot to cross out the old date & write in the new expiration date?

The notary is not qualified in that county.   If the notary has a "Certificate of Character" on file in that county it was not placed on the document or was not written on the document or was not included on the notary stamp. A common mistake for some notary public is that the notary put the county where they work rather then the county where they live.

Where is a Notary Public Qualified?

Some notaries in New York City make the assumption that they are qualified in the county where they work. However, this not true, because the notary is actually qualified where they lived at the time they submitted the paperwork for their notary commission.  If the notary lived in Queens when they applied for their notary commission that is the county where they are qualified. Just because a notary works in Manhattan (New York County), they can not put on their notary stamp that they are qualified in New York County.

When a notary public is commission their notary signature card
gets filed at the County Clerks Office in the county where you lived. And this is where you are qualified.

Certificate of Character

The “Certificate of Character” allows the notary’s signature to be authenticated in a county other than the one they are qualified in.
So, if you are qualified in Suffolk County and someone wanted to verify your notary signature (which is called Notary Authentication) they would have to travel to the Suffolk County Clerks Office in Riverhead, NY which is about a 2 hour ride from New York City.  If you want to make it easier for your clients to Authenticate your signature you can file a "Certificate of Character Card" in the county where you work. You will now have to add to your notary stamp that  you have a Certificate on file in that New York county.

If you requested & paid for a "Certificate of Character Card" from the County Clerks Office where you are qualified you can bring it to any New York State Country Clerks Office, there are 62 counties in New York State, so your signature can be on file in that particular County Clerks Office.  Now your notary signature can be verified wherever your Certificate of Character Card is on file.  Once you have your Certificate of Character on file in a new County Clerks Office you can put on you document that you have Certificate on file in the County.

 The “Certificate on file in xxxx County” is an extra line that may appear if the notary has filed a “Certificate of Character” in another county; it may not be on all notary stamps.  Your Certificate of Character Card expires at same time as your commission, so you will have to get a new card for each county where you wish to have your signature on file.