As a new notary, you may have questions about the process and requirements, such as, “how long is a notary stamp good?” Keep in mind that your notary stamp contains information such as your commission number and expiration date. This expiration date is important because you cannot notarize anything until you renew it once it expires.
Florida Notary Requirements
How long a notary stamp is good for depends on the requirements of every state. In Florida, both the commission and stamp are good for four years. After that time, both will need to be renewed. However, Florida doesn’t have an automatic renewal period. What this means is that you will have to renew your commission and stamp on your own. You should plan the renewal process approximately four months before your current commission expires.
To renew your commission, you must reapply through a notary bonding agency. You will need to purchase a new stamp with the new expiration date as well as another four-year $7,500 surety bond. The bond is required, as it protects the public should you make a mistake.
If you are a new notary or if you have not renewed your commission in the past 10 years, you will also have to take three hours of state-approved education.
Frequently Asked Questions About Notary Stamps
Have you been wondering how long a notary stamp lasts? Or what to do with a notary stamp without an expiration date? We’ve got the answers below!
Is a Document Still Valid After the Notary Commission Expires?
Yes. A notary commission is regulated by the state and has to be renewed every four years in Florida. However, the documents notarized by said notaries are not subject to the same expiration as the notary’s commission.
In other words, if a notary legally signed a document during their commission, that notarized document would remain valid even after their commission expires. On the other hand, if a document is signed after a notary’s commission expires, that document is not considered legally valid.
How Long Is a Notarized Document Valid?
How long does a notary stamp last? The notarization of a document does not expire. This does not mean the document cannot expire, just that the notary’s signature and stamp remain valid.
If the stamp is valid at the time of signing, the notarization remains in effect forever. Of course, if a document is stamped with an expired commission stamp, it is not considered valid.
The expiration of a notarized document is dependent on the type of document being notarized. For example, a one-month rental contract clearly states that the terms and conditions set forth within it apply only for the 30 days being signed for. After that month, the contract expires.
Here are some commonly notarized documents and when they would expire:
Apartment Rental Contracts
Rental agreements are usually contracted for periods of one, six, or twelve months. At the end of the agreed-upon period, the contract expires and has to be renewed.
Mortgages are usually 15-30 years in length. The exact date is set when the mortgage is prepared and signed.
Articles of Incorporation
According to the Corporation Code of 1980, articles of incorporation are valid for 50 years but can be renewed.
Can I Still Act as a Notary When My Commission Stamp Expires?
No. When you become a notary, you receive a notary commission that is regulated by the state. Notarization is meant to help combat fraud; signing with an expired stamp would defeat the purpose of these efforts.
During the pandemic, some states experienced extenuating circumstances which prevented them from processing notary commission renewals. Those state governments temporarily allowed notaries to continue notarizing with expired seals until renewals could be processed.
As commission stamp renewals have been able to resume normal function in most states, working with an expired seal will not be considered valid without government approval.
What Happens if You Let Your Notary Stamp Expire?
If you let your notary stamp expire, you will need to cease any notarization work until it has been renewed. The date on your notary stamp is the same as your notary commission, so once the stamp expires, your commission also expires.
You will have to renew your notary commission to get a new notary stamp. Renewal of the notary commission in the state of Florida usually takes as long to process as the original application and requires some paperwork and a $7,500 notary bond.
What are Other Issues That Will Void a Notary Seal?
An expired notary stamp is not the only issue that can void a notary seal. The following issues can also cause your seal to be null and void.
Stamp is Illegible
Notary stamps contain important information that must be legible in order for the stamp to be legal. The information required to appear on the stamp varies by state, but the state of Florida requires that the seal has your full name, commission expiration date, commission number, and the phrase “Notary Public-State of Florida” to be valid. A notary stamp without an expiration date is not considered valid.
Incorrect Information on Stamps or Documentation
If your stamp is missing information or contains inaccuracies, it will not be considered valid. The same goes for the documents being notarized.
Incorrect Stamp Placement
Notary stamps should never cover or go over the text. They must be placed within the boundaries of the document, usually near the notary’s signature.
How to Get a New Notary Stamp
Before your commission expires, make sure you are prepared with a new stamp. The Florida Notary Association sells notary stamps that contain all the required information and are approved for use on legal documents throughout the state.
Now that you know how long a notary stamp is good for, you can plan and make sure you renew on time without interruption. Contact the Florida Notary Association to keep your commission and stamp up to date.