6 Official Requirements for the California Notary Stamp

6 official requirements for the California notary stamp featured image

Beautiful California is a busy place, full of innovation, prosperity, and opportunity. The world’s fifth-largest economy is always churning, growing, and evolving.

California is also known as a state that’s heavy on rules and regulations. Anyone who’s ever tried to get a building permit, receive a social service, or land a government job in The Golden States knows that California doesn’t skimp on the paperwork.

The complexity that runs through every level of government in California creates an enormous need for notary public services.

There are more than 140,000 notaries in the State of California, and they keep busy. Notaries provide a reliable and essential presence in some of the state’s most substantial industries, including finance, mortgage, banking, legal, health care, and government.

Notaries need to be detail-oriented and able to follow rules to a tee.

There are a number of unique, highly specific regulations and guidelines that apply to notaries in California.

Let’s review a few of the key requirements for California notaries, including:

  • California notary public stamp and seal regulations
  • Requirements for becoming a notary public in California
  • Requirements for obtaining a California notary public stamp and seal

1 - California Notary Stamps Can Be Square or Round

Trodat Printy self-inking notary public stamps from Pro Stamps
Trodat Printy 4913

A California notary public can choose between a round stamp or a square one. The choice is a matter of personal preference, as there’s no functional difference between round and square notary stamps. 

Round notary public stamps may be up to 2 inches in diameter. Rectangular stamps can have a maximum width of 1 inch and a maximum length of 2.5 inches. 

At Pro Stamps, we offer California notary public self-inking stamps in the following shapes and sizes:

  • Round: 1⅝ inches in diameter
  • Rectangular: 2⅜ inches by ⅞ inches

2 - California Notary Seals Must Contain Specific Information

sample notary public stamp for the State of California
Sample Notary Public Stamp

A notary stamp needs to contain certain information and should never display any text or imagery that isn’t specifically required. 

Every California notary public stamp must include the following text and images:

  • The notary public’s name
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The same filing county as that shown on the notary’s Certificate of Authorization
  • The notary public commission expiration date
  • The notary public commission number 
  • The stamp manufacturer identification number 
  • The California state seal 

Additionally, the stamp must: 

  • Be unique to the notary public using it
  • Be capable of verification
  • Be under the sole control of the notary public using it
  • Be accepted in the same appearance and format as transmitted 

For a full description of a notary seal’s mandatory information, review the Procedures and Guidelines for the Issuance of Notary Public Seals document, published by the Office of the California Secretary of State.

3 - California Notary Seals Must Contain the State Seal

state seal of the State of California

On notary public stamp seals, some states require the inclusion of the state seal, and other states do not. California does. 

California’s seal is incredibly intricate and loaded with vivid imagery. 

The seal is actually older than the state itself, dating back to the 1849 California Constitutional Convention, one year before statehood was achieved. 

The seal’s central image features the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva, looking out at the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Sacramento River. 

There’s also a grizzly bear feeding on grapes, a miner driving his pick into the earth, ships on the river, and 31 stars representing the number of states that were already in the union before California’s inclusion. 

The word “Eureka” appears in large letters across the top of the seal. This most likely refers to the history-altering discovery of California gold in 1848. 

California’s seal is a rich piece of artwork—it’s a lot to reduce down to a tiny little image within a stamp. However, while some detail is lost, you can still make out all of the California seal’s individual elements if you look closely at any notary’s stamp seal.

4 - California Notary Stamp Seals May Have Milled or Serrated Borders

sample notary public stamp seal for the State of California
Sample Notary Public Stamp Seal

A California notary seal may contain one of these two border styles:

  • Milled
  • Serrated

Milled borders, which are used for circular seals, look like a braid or a rope. Serrated edges, used for rectangular seals, present a line of small pointed crests.

5 - Only Certified Manufacturers Can Produce and Sell California Notary Stamps and Seals

Trodat Printy 46050 notary stamp from Pro Stamps
Trodat Printy 46050

The only manufacturers that can produce California stamps are those that hold a permit issued by the state. 

Permitted vendors, such as Pro Stamps, have demonstrated to the State of California that their seals meet the requirements outlined in the state’s Government Code. Each manufacturer has an ID number that is included in every California notary stamp that they produce.

6 - A Certificate of Authorization Is Required to Obtain a Notary Stamp and Seal

Trodat Printy 46050 notary stamps from Pro Stamps
Self-inking Stamp

To obtain a California notary stamp, a notary public must first receive a Certificate of Authorization from the office of the California Secretary of State. 

In order to receive a Certificate of Authorization, you’ll first need to complete all of the required steps for becoming a notary public, including the completion of an approved notary education course. 

The state provides a list of approved notary education providers, organized by county. 

Once your notary application has been approved, the state will send you a commission packet that includes a list of authorized notary seal manufacturers along with your Certificate of Authorization. 

Your certificate is used to transmit permission—from the state to the vendor—to produce a notary stamp and seal that bears your name and notary public commission number. 

Before creating your stamp and seal, you’ll need to provide your vendor with the following:

  • Payment
  • All mandatory seal information
  • Copy of your Certificate of Authorization issued by the California Secretary of State

Because you’ll need to send your Certificate of Authorization by mail, the process for receiving a California notary stamp may be slower than in other states.

Get Your New California Notary Stamp From Pro Stamps

walnut wood and rubber notary public stamp from Pro Stamps
Wood Rubber Stamp

California notaries help keep the state’s wheels turning. Wherever big things are happening, there’s a notary public making sure that everything is in order. 

If you’re a new or veteran notary public in California, Pro Stamps is your source for the highest quality stamps and the fastest-possible service. 

As stamp vendors for all 50 states, we keep our inventory up to date with each state’s requirements, including the precise rule set for notaries serving the great State of California. 

Your self-inking California Notary Stamp purchase includes a free digital proof that you’ll receive via email within 24 hours of your purchase. 

We carry Trodat brand stamps, including the Trodat Printy 4913, the most popular notary stamp in the world. To help you keep track of your stamp, we offer these unique color choices:

  • Black
  • Mango
  • Mint
  • Sky blue
  • Lilac 

Each Pro Stamps self-inking stamp is good for thousands of impressions and comes with a dust cap for safe and clean storage. 

Pro Stamps Notary Stamps are made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty. We offer free shipping via United States Postal Service (USPS) first class package service. 

To learn more about notary stamps, visit the Pro Stamps blog. If you have any questions about your California notary stamp and seal purchase, contact our team any time through our website or send a message to