A major revision of South Carolina notarial statutes based in part on the NNA’s Model Notary Act allows Notaries to charge higher fees for their services, provides clear guidelines for identifying document signers, defines various notarial acts and much more. Senate Bill 356 raises the maximum fee for acknowledgments and jurats in South Carolina to $5 — a significant increase from the previous fee schedule, which ranged from 25 cents to $1 maximum. SB 356 also allows a Notary to charge a travel fee, provided the Notary and signer agree on the fee in advance, and the Notary explains to the signer that the travel fee is separate from the fee charged for the notarization. Notaries who charge for their services must also display an English-language schedule of their fees in their place of business. Along with fee increases, here are some important changes made by SB 356: Provides definitions for “acknowledgment,” “oath,” “jurat,” “official misconduct,” “personal appearance” and other key notarial terms based on the Model Notary Act of 2010. Requires Notaries to identify signers through personal appearance or satisfactory proof of identity, which includes a current identification document issued by a federal or state government agency bearing a photo, signature and physical description; a current passport without a physical description; the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the Notary, or two credible witnesses who provide ID for themselves that fits the requirements listed above. Requires Notaries to sign their name exactly as it appears on the commission and sign by hand in ink on the notarial certificate. However, Notaries with disabilities may use a signature stamp to sign their name upon prior approval by the Secretary of State. Prohibits notarizing without the physical presence of the signer. Removes protests of commercial paper as an authorized notarial act. Provides procedures for notarizing a signature by mark when an individual cannot write his or her name, and also allows a third party or a Notary to sign a document on behalf of a signer who cannot sign his or her name or make a mark. Adds prohibited acts and criminal penalties for certain offenses. South Carolina is just one of several states that have enacted new Notary laws in recent months. More information about SB 356 is available here. David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.