Recording Requirements for Land Records

Standard Requirements for Recording

  • Margin requirements for hard copy documents: Top margin 1-1/4 inch, bottom, left and right no smaller than 3/4 inch. The last page should have space for a recording sticker or it will be placed on the back of the last page.*
  • 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.
  • All hard copy documents shall be single sided only.*
  • 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.
  • Names shall be underlined or capitalized to ensure that we are indexing the parties 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.
  • For plats with no other documentation with them, please include a completed Plat Affidavit form. Oversized plats must be presented to James City County Planning Department prior to recordation to note approval or approval not needed.

Other Information

  • Documents refused for recording that are received by mail will be given a rejection number.
  • If your 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.

*Ref. VA code sections 17.1-223 and 17.1-227
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 both Simplifile and CSC.