Recording Requirements for Land Records

Standard Requirements for Recording


  • Margin requirements: 1 inch on all sides, 2 inches on the bottom of the last page (for recording sticker)
  • Paper size: Letter or Legal (8.5x11 or 8.5x14)
  • Font size: No smaller than 9
  • All documents must have original signatures. NO PHOTOCOPIES ACCEPTED.
  • If the document is handwritten, it must be legible.
  • Print quality must be legible for the scanner to read and produce an acceptable image.
  • Tax map, parcel ID or RPC number for respective Williamsburg or James City County documents must be on the first page of each document.
  • Surnames must be underlined to ensure that we are indexing the names properly.
  • Document pages should be numbered.
  • Deeds must state who prepared them, Virginia attorneys are required to provide their VSB number.
  • Documents must state to whom they are to be returned to after recording.
  • The consideration must be stated on the FIRST page.
  • Tax exemption codes must be written clearly on the FIRST page.
  • Grantor and Grantee must be clearly labeled.
  • Corrections and/or re-recordings must state on the first page what is being recorded or the reason for re-recording and state the original instrument number.
  • Signatures must be in black or dark blue ink.
  • All documents put to record must be acknowledged and contain a notary seal.
  • All acknowledgements by a Virginia notary must include their commission number, expiration date and a darkened seal. All of this information must be legible.
  • A maximum of three documents per check will be accepted for recordation.

Other Information


  • Documents refused for recording that are received by mail will be given a rejection number.
  • If you document is refused for recording after presenting it in person, you may request that we give it a rejection number.
  • You may use the online deed calculation tool for help in calculating recording costs.
  • If there is a question about the legibility of a document, the recorder will be happy to test scan the page(s) in question.
  • Please include an appropriate size self-addressed stamped envelope if you are not waiting to take your recordings or if you do not have a courthouse mailbox.

Please note that land records are recorded from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Also note that currently the Clerk's Office does accept e-recordings for deeds through Simplifile.