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VT Guidance on Remote Notarization


State: Vermont

Effective: March 24, 2020


The Vermont Secretary of State has issued guidance on its emergency rules for remote notarization during the COVID-19 state of emergency.


All Vermont Notaries Public.

  1. Emphasizes that the procedures set forth in the emergency rules should be used sparingly and only when a notary public and the signer of a record cannot be physically present in the same space.
  2. Clarifies that the Office of Professional Regulation used the term “Secure Communication Link” to describe the communication technology used for remote notarizations because it is the term used in the statute, but that the term, however, is defined in the rules as any communication technology that allows the signer and the Notary to see each other simultaneously.
  3. Clarifies that there are no other security requirements for the “secure communication link” than those provided in the emergency rules.
  4. Clarifies that the final record resulting from the remote notarization (with the copy of the signer’s signature and the original or “wet signature” from the Notary ) will be the “original” of the document.
  5. Clarifies that the term "original" is used so that, if the authenticity of the document is called into question or reviewed at some future date, this final record will be accorded the “self-authenticating” status of an “original” version of a record, as that term is defined in the Vermont Rules of Evidence.
  6. Emphasizes that Notaries and signers need not be overly concerned about the use of the term “original”, though both parties should remain aware that the final record, with either a copy or the wet signature of signer, and the notary public’s signature is the “original” of the document under law.
  7. Clarifies that the remotely located individual will either send a copy of the document to be signed to the Notary prior to signing, or hold up each page of the document to the video recording device such that the Notary public is able to later confirm that the signed document received from the remotely located individual is the same as the one the Notary witnessed being signed over the secure communication link.
  8. Clarifies if documentary ID is used to identify the remotely located individual, at least one of the following that is current or expired within the past 3 years: (a) a passportb.a driver's license; (b) a government-issued nondriver identification card; or (c) another form of government identification issued to an individual, which contains the signature or a photograph of the individual, and is satisfactory to the Notary.
  9. Clarifies if a second form of identification that meets the requirements set forth in #8 above is not available, a second form of identification credential that assures the Notary of the identity of the remotely located individual, including tax forms, utility bills, library card, picture badges, corporate identification, credit cards or vital records, may be used.
  10. Emphasizes that Notaries must only perform the notarial act on one document: either the copy of the document signed by the remotely located individual received through electronic means, or the document with the remotely located individual’s wet signature received by mail.
  11. Clarifies that in completing a certificate of notarial act for the remote notarization, the emergency rules require the name of the signer and the date the signer executed the document to be included at least one time in the certificate, but that the information does not need to be included twice.
  12. Clarifies that the law requiring a notarial certificate must be part of, or securely attached to, the document on which the remote notarial act is performed means as follows: (a) “part of” the document means the certificate is written on the copy of the document signed by the remotely located individual; and (b) “securely attached” to the document means the certificate is attached by staple, glue, or other permanent means, to the copy of the document signed by the remotely located individual.
  13. Requires a certificate of remote notarial act to be printed, legibly handwritten, stamped, embossed, or any combination of these means, on the document signed by the remotely located individual.

The Vermont Secretary of State has issued official guidance explaining several provisions of the emergency rules for remote notarization that were previously adopted by the Office of Professional Regulation in the Secretary's office. On September 21, 2020, the Secretary extended the emergency rules authorizing temporary remote notarizations through March 19, 2021. Accordingly, the guidance will remain in effect until that date.

To read the guidance, click Download PDF, below.