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GA House Bill 80


State: Georgia
Signed: May 01, 2023

Effective: July 01, 2023
Chapter: Act No. 59

House Bill 80 allows individuals located outside the United States who are filing sworn statements with a Georgia court or in an administrative or arbitral proceeding to use an unsworn declaration instead.
Adds Section 9-1-1 to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.
  1. Defines “law,” “record,” “sign,” sworn declaration,” and “unsworn declaration.”
  2. Provides that if a Georgia law requires or permits use of a sworn declaration in a court, administrative, or arbitral proceeding, an unsworn declaration meeting the requirements of OCGA 9-1-1 has the same effect as a sworn declaration.
  3. Clarifies that these unsworn declarations apply to an unsworn declaration of a declarant who at the time of making the declaration is physically located outside the boundaries of the United States, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
  4. Exempts depositions, oaths of office, oaths expressly required by statute to be given before a specified official other than a Notary Public; oaths expressly required by statute to be made pursuant to the requirements of OCGA 9-10-113; instruments expressly required by statute to comply with OCGA 44-2-15 (relating to attestations of recordable instruments); or oaths required by OCGA 53-4-24 (relating to self-proved last wills or codicils).
  5. Provides a form for an unsworn declaration.
  6. Clarifies that a person knowingly and willingly makes a false unsworn declaration in a judicial proceeding is guilty of perjury.

House Bill 80 enacts substantively the Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act (2008) adopted by the Uniform Law Commission. The Prefatory Note explains why the act was necessary: “Declarations of persons abroad are routinely received in state and federal courts and agencies. Many of the declarations are affidavits and other documents sworn to by declarants before authorized officials in United States embassies and consulate offices. Affiants in foreign countries with information relevant to U.S. proceedings or transactions could visit the U.S. consular office to finalize their affidavit or statement in a manner similar to a person within the U.S. visiting a notary public. In recent years, though, particularly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, access to U.S. embassies and consulates has become more difficult because of closings or added security. Thus, obtaining appropriately sworn foreign declarations for court or agency use is much more difficult in the post-9/11 environment. The Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act (UUFDA) was promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission at its Annual Meeting in 2008 to address this situation and to harmonize state and federal law.”

The National Notary Association understands that laws like House Bill 80 are necessary, but in today’s environment where remote online notarization is readily available, we wonder if that could be a solution instead of filing an unsworn declaration with the court.

Read House Bill 80.