Notary publics are required to know and understand dozens of industry-related terms, one of which is “venue.” Nearly every type of notarial certificate, including jurats and acknowledgments, have a section dedicated specifically for the act’s venue. Whether you are new to the profession or not, you must know how to properly complete this section; otherwise, the notarial act may be deemed invalid.
Also known as a caption, the venue is essentially the place in which the notarial act occurred. Laws regarding the specific requirements of notarial venues vary from state to state, but most states require the venue to list both the state and county. A standard venue section may contain something along the lines of “State of [insert state here]. County of [insert county here] ss.” The ss affixed to the end of the venue refers to subscript, although “to-wit” is sometimes used in its place.
Notary publics should complete the venue using the appropriate state and county in which the actual notarial act took place. If the document was notarized in Miami-Dade, Florida, the notary public should write “Miami-Dade” in the county section of the venue and “Florida” in the state section. This may sound simple enough, but there are instances in which confusion may arise.
Here’s a scenario to consider: you travel to a bordering state to perform a notarial act (allowed in certain states), at which point you’re forced to complete the venue section. You are only legally commissioned in your home state, however, so you complete the venue by filling in your home state and county. Unfortunately, this would be incorrect, as the venue denotes the region in which the notarial act occurred, not the region in which the notary public is commission.
You’ll typically find the venue section at the top of the notarial certificate. If it’s located within the certificate’s head, it is usually referred to as a caption. If it’s located elsewhere within the document, it’s referred to as a venue.
The venue – when speaking of notarial acts – has gone through some significant changes over the years. In the past, notary publics were required to enter the street address at which the act was performed. While some states still follow this dated practice, most have transitioned to the use of states and counties in the venue.
When completing the venue section of a document or certificate, the notary public should only specify the state and region in which the notarial act took place. The venue does nor refer to the notary’s hometown, state of commission, state in which the bond is filed, nor any other region. It’s sole purpose is to denote the region where the notarial act occurred. Hopefully, this will clear up some of the confusion regarding notarial venues and how this section is completed in certificates.