What are the requirements for Notary Seals?

State law requires that all notaries use an official seal prescribed and designed by the Secretary of State. The notary must purchase the official seal at his or her own expense. At the notary’s request, the county clerk may obtain an official seal for the notary, and the county clerk may charge a fee for this service not to exceed 20 percent of the cost of the seal. T.C.A. § 8-16-114.

The current design prescribed by the Secretary of State is a circular seal with the notary’s name (as it appears on the commission) printed at the top, the county of election printed at the bottom, and the words “State of Tennessee Notary Public” or “Tennessee Notary Public” printed in the center.

The seal may be imprinted by a rubber or other type stamp (not an impression seal), and the stamp must be imprinted in some color, not black or yellow, that is clearly legible and appears black when copied on a non-color copier. Notaries may continue to use their impression seals until the expiration of their term. The use of an embossed seal after May 12, 2003, does not render an acknowledgment defective. T.C.A. § 8-16-114.

The seal must be surrendered to the county legislative body (through the county clerk) upon expiration of the notary’s term of office or resignation, and the personal representative must surrender the seal in the event of the death of the notary. T.C.A. § 8-16-114.