VA Senate Bill 378 | NNA
Law

VA House Bill 492

Notary Law Update: VA House Bill 492

State: Virginia

Summary:

Virginia HB 492 enacts prohibitions and penalties for Notaries who overstep their authority by providing legal advice on immigration matters and representing persons in immigration proceedings, prohibits non-attorney Notaries from using certain terms in a language other than English that indicate the Notary is authorized to give legal advice or practice law, and provides civil and administrative penalties.

Signed:  April 23, 2014

Effective:  July 01, 2014

Chapter: 783

Affects:

Amends Section 47.1-15.1 and 47.1-23 of the Code of Virginia

Changes:
  1. Prohibits a Notary public from offering or providing legal advice on immigration or other legal matters, or representing any person in immigration proceedings, unless the Notary is authorized or licensed to practice law in Virginia or is accredited pursuant to 8 C.F.R. Section 292.2 to practice immigration law or represent persons in immigration proceedings.
  2. Prohibits a Notary from assuming, using, or advertising the title of “notario,” “notario publico,” or “licenciado,” or a term in a language other than English that indicates in such language that the Notary is authorized to provide legal advice or practice law, unless the Notary is authorized or licensed to practice law in Virginia.
  3. Provides that any person who violates provision #2 above is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for a first violation and a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for a second or subsequent violation, recoverable in a civil action brought by the Attorney General.
  4. Provides that the new law shall not preempt or preclude additional civil, administrative, or criminal penalties authorized by law.
  5. Provides that the Secretary of the Commonwealth may revoke the commission of a Notary who violates the new law.
Analysis:

Virginia HB 492 is one of several immigration-related bills considered by the General Assembly this year. The bill as enacted by the House of Delegates and the Senate was presented to the Governor, and the Governor recommended that the bill be replaced with a substitute. The substitute language recommended by the Governor was exactly the same as SB 503 that was signed on April 3 (see the New Law Alert on SB 503). The House and Senate then voted to accept the Governor’s substitute language, thus reaffirming SB 503 that had been enacted weeks before. HB 492, like SB 503, enacts prohibitions and penalties for Notaries who overstep their authority by providing legal advice on immigration matters and representing persons in immigration proceedings unless the Notary is licensed to practice law in Virginia. The new law also prohibits Notaries who are not attorneys from using the terms “notario,” “notario publico,” or “licenciado,” or other such terms in a language other than English that indicates that the Notary is authorized to give advice or practice law. The new law provides civil penalties for a first and subsequent violation and allows the Secretary of the Commonwealth to revoke the commission of any Notary who violates the new law.

Read the bill text.

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