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Law

DC Remote Notarization Authorizations (2020-2021)

Notary Law Update: DC Remote Notarization Authorizations (2020-2021)

State: Washington DC

Summary:

The District of Columbia has enacted temporary authorization for Notaries to perform remote notarial acts.

Signed:  May 13, 2020

Effective:  May 13, 2020

Chapter: Act Nos. A23-0317, A23-0334, A24-0030, A24-0096, Act A24-0062

Affects:

Temporarily amends DC Code Sections 1-1231.01, 1-1231.05, 1-1213.09.

Changes:
  1. Provides that during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C. Official Code § 7-2304.01), the Mayor may authorize, without the personal appearance of the individual making the statement or executing the signature, notarial acts required or permitted under District law if certain requirements, as specified below, are followed.
  2. Defines audio-video communication as an electronic device or process that enables a Notary Public to view, in real-time, an individual and to compare for consistency the information and photos on that individual’s government-issued identification; and is specifically designed to facilitate remote notarizations.
  3. Requires the Notary and the individual to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound using audio-video communication.
  4. Requires the Notary to have notified the Mayor of the intention to perform notarial acts using audio-video communication and the identity of the audio-video communication the Notary intends to use.
  5. Requires the Notary to have as satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual by personal knowledge or by the individual’s presentation of a current government-issued identification that contains the signature and photograph of the individual to the Notary during the video conference.
  6. Requires the Notary to confirm that the individual made a statement or executed a signature on a document.
  7. Requires the Notary to receive by electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly from the individual immediately after it was signed.
  8. Requires the Notary to, upon receiving the signed document, immediately complete the notarization.
  9. Requires the Notary to, upon completing the notarization, immediately transmit by electronic means the notarized document to the individual.
  10. Requires the Notary to create, or direct another person to create, and retain an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act for 3 years from the date of the notarial act.
  11. Requires the Notary to indicate on a certificate of the notarial act and in a journal that the individual was not in the physical presence of the Notary and that the notarial act was performed using audio-visual communication.
Analysis:

The District of Columbia is the latest U.S. jurisdiction to temporarily authorize Notaries Public to perform remote notarial acts via audio-video communication, following Alaska, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania in enacting a law in the state legislature to do so. DC B 23-0750 and the subsequent bills below require the signed document to be transmitted electronically to the Notary immediately after being signed and requires the Notary to perform the notarial act on it and immediately transmit it electronically back to the signer. The bills also require the Notary to keep a recording of the audiovisual notarial act and inform the Mayor that the Notary will be performing these acts prior to doing so.

The bills require the Mayor to explicitly authorize Notaries to perform remote notarial acts before they actually can do so. To date, the Mayor has not done so.

  • First Authorization: DC B23-0750 (Act No. A23-0317) signed on May 13, 2020, effective immediately. Authorization expired August 11, 2020.
  • Second Authorization: DC B23-0758 (Act No. A23-0334) signed on July 7, 2020, effective October 9, 2020. Authorization expired May 22, 2021.
  • Third Authorization: DC B24-0139 (Act No. A24-0030) signed on March 17, 2021, effective immediately. Authorization expired June 15, 2021.
  • Fourth Authorization: DC B24-0257 (Act No. A24-0096) signed on June 7, 2021, effective immediately.  Authorization expires September 5, 2021.
  • Fifth Authorization: DC B24-0140 (Act No. 24-0062) signed on May 3, 2021, effective June 24, 2021. Authorization expires on February 4, 2022.

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