Official Stamp Requirement
A Washington Notary must affix an official stamp on every tangible notarial certificate (RCW 42.45.130[2][a]).

“The seal or stamp used at the time that a notarial act is performed must be the seal or stamp evidencing the notary public’s commission in effect as of such time, even if the notary public has received the seal or stamp evidencing his or her next commission” (RCW 42-45-150[4]).

“‘Official stamp’ means a physical image affixed to a tangible record or an electronic image attached to or logically associated with an electronic record” (RCW 42.45.010[11]).

“‘Stamping device’ means:
“(a) A physical device capable of affixing to or embossing on a tangible record an official stamp; or
“(b) An electronic device or process capable of attaching to or logically associating with an electronic record an official stamp” (RCW 42.45.010[16]).

Tangible Records: “If a notarial act regarding a tangible record is performed by a notary public, an official stamp must be affixed to or embossed on the certificate” (RCW 42.45.130[2][a]).

Stamp Format
Inked Rubber Stamp or Embosser: “‘Stamping device’ means…[a] physical device capable of affixing to or embossing on a tangible record an official stamp” (RCW 42.45.010[16]).

Photcopiable: “The seal or stamp must be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or with which it is logically associated” (RCW 42.45.150[3]).

Permanent: “The face of the seal or stamp shall be permanently affixed” (WAC 308-30-070[3][b]).

“If the stamp is affixed to a tangible record, it shall be applied in permanent ink and shall be capable of being photocopied” (WAC 308-30-070[3][c]).

Shape and Size: “The seal or stamp shall be minimum one and five-eighths diameter if circular, or one inch wide by one and five-eighths inches long if rectangular…” (WAC 308-30-070[3][a]).

Type Size: The Washington Administrative Code states that all type on the official stamp to be in a minimum of 8-point type (WAC 308-30-070[2]).

Embosser on Recordable Documents: When used on a recordable document an embossing seal must meet the following criteria (RCW 65.04.045[2]):

All text on the document, including the seal impression, must be in 8-point type or larger;

The seal impression must be “legible and capable of being imaged.” In general, this means that an embossing seal would have to be inked prior to use or its impression would have to be “smudged” after being affixed.

Components: “The official seal or stamp of a notary public must include:
“(a) The words ‘notary public’;
“(b) The words ‘state of Washington’;
“(c) The notary public’s name as commissioned;
“(d) The notary public’s commission expiration date; and
“(e) Any other information required by the director” (RCW 42.45.150[1]).

The Washington Administrative code also requires the official stamp to include the Notary Public’s commission number (WAC 308-30-070[1][e]).

State Seal: Reproduction of the Washington state seal within the Notary stamp or seal is prohibited (WAC 308-30-070[4]).

The below typical, actual-size examples of official Notary stamping devices and electronic Notary seals which are allowed by Washington law. Formats other than these may also be permitted.

Grandfather Provision
“A notary public with a commission in effect on July 1, 2018, may continue to use their notarial seal until the commission’s date of expiration. A notary public who procures an official seal or stamp after July 1, 2018, is subject to and shall comply with the rules in WAC 308-30-070” (WAC 308-30-080[2]).

Obtaining a Seal
“A notary public shall procure an official seal or stamp only after receiving a certificate evidencing the notary public’s commission from the department, and shall provide this certificate to their chosen seal or stamp vendor as part of procuring the stamp” (WAC 308-30-080[1]).

Security of Stamping Device
“A notary public is responsible for the security of the notary public’s stamping device and may not allow another individual to use the device to perform a notarial act” (RCW 42.45.160[1]).

“The seal or stamp should be kept in a locked and secured area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public” (RCW 42.45.160[2]).

“The stamp a notary public acquires is the exclusive property of the notary public, and shall not be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment, regardless of whether the employer paid for the seal or for the notary’s bond or appointment fees” (WAC 308-30-080[3]).

Lost or Stolen Stamp
“If a notary public’s stamping device is lost or stolen, the notary public or the notary public’s personal representative or guardian shall notify promptly the department on discovering that the device is lost or stolen. Any replacement device must contain a variance from the lost or stolen seal or stamp” (RCW 42.45.160[2]).

“The notary public may not obtain a replacement official seal or stamp until they have properly notified the department that the original was lost or stolen” (WAC 308-30-090[2]).

“A replacement official seal or stamp must contain some variance from the original seal or stamp” (WAC 308-30-090[3]).

“If the lost or stolen official seal or stamp is found or recovered after a replacement has been obtained, the original seal or stamp shall be destroyed” (WAC 308-30-090[4]).

Disposition of Stamping Device
“On resignation from, or the revocation or expiration of, the notary public’s commission, or on the expiration of the date set forth in the stamping device, the notary public shall disable the stamping device by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing, or securing it against use in a manner that renders it unusable. On the death or adjudication of incompetency of a notary public, the notary public’s personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of the stamping device shall render it unusable by destroying, defacing, damaging, erasing, or securing it against use in a manner that renders it unusable” (RCW 42.45.160[1]).

Notary Signature
“A notarial officer shall not affix the officer’s signature to, or logically associate it with, a certificate until the notarial act has been performed” (RCW 42.45.130[6]).

“In addition to the requirements listed in RCW 42.45.130, a notary public signing the notarial certificate of a completed notarial act shall sign the notarial certificate using the exact name that appears on the notary’s certificate of commission and their seal or stamp” (WAC 308-30-100).

Recording Requirements
Recording laws allow “a minor portion of a notary seal, incidental writing, or minor portion of a signature” to extend into the mandatory one-inch margin at the top, bottom and sides of all pages of a recorded document (three-inch mandatory margin at the top of the first page) (RCW 65.04.045[1][a] and [2]).