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Can I Notarize Using A Video Of A Signer?

New Hotline Resized 3I have a customer who needs her grandmother’s signature notarized. The grandmother has issues with dementia. The customer has had issues scheduling an appointment with a Notary, so she recorded a video of her grandmother signing the document instead. Is showing me the video sufficient for me to notarize the grandmother’s signature?C.S., Salt Lake City, UT

Using a video recording is not an acceptable substitute for a signer’s personal appearance before the Notary in Utah. At this point the customer may need to consult with an attorney to assist them with the grandmother’s needs.

The use of video technology in place of personal appearance during a notarization is permissible only in Virginia, which allows the use of “video and audio conference technology” to virtually appear before a Notary.

Several states and territories — including California, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, the Northern Marianas, Rhode Island and Washington — have issued public statements or consumer alerts that notarizations using online communication technology are prohibited and signers must still appear in person before the Notary in those states.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

12 Comments

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Frances

01 Feb 2015

I have a client that is asking me to notarize a document for her doctor. I agreed to set an appointment with her for the next day. She told me that it she isn't signing the document. I asked why and she told me her doctor wrote a letter for her attorney and it was to be delivered to her attorney but the doctor refuses to me with me. I told her I cannot notarize a document without the signer present nor could I notarize a blank document. She told me her attorney could compel me to notarize the letter. Is this true? I have checked the Illinois Notary Handbook but nothing is mentioned about being compelled to notarize a document by an attorney without the signer.

National Notary Association

02 Feb 2015

Hello, No signer has the right to compel you to perform an illegal notarial act or to violate the rules set by your state's laws and Notary-regulating agency. Page 22 of the Illinois Notary Public Handbook clearly states the following: "The taking of an acknowledgment consists of positively identifying the signer of a document. The signer need not sign in the notaryʼs presence but must personally appear before the notary and state that the signature on the document is his or hers." Page 23 states regarding verifications upon oath or affirmation: "The person requesting this notarial act must personally appear before the notary and sign the document in the presence of the notary." Also, the FAQ on page 25 states: "Must the person sign the document in my presence? If the document requires an oath (for example, the certificate reads “signed and sworn/affirmed before me. . . .”), then an oath or affirmation must be administered to the person, and the person must sign the document in your presence. If the document requires acknowledgment, it is sufficient for the person to appear before you and acknowledge execution of the document. Never notarize an unsigned document. You may not take an acknowledgment because someone else assures you that the signature is genuine. You may not take an acknowledgment even when you recognize the signerʼs signature unless that person appears before you." A copy of the Handbooks is available at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/ipub16.pdf. If you believe these individuals are attempting to coerce you to violate state Notary law, you may wish to report the incident to the Secretary of State's office and the state bar association.

Debby Duke

10 Feb 2015

Another issue with this notarization is the comment that the grandmother has dementia. This brings into question whether the grandmother is aware of the consequences of the document she is signing. This is one of the primary reasons that the signor needs to be in front of the notary personally, to allow the notary to determine if the signor understands the document. Excellent advice to consult an attorney.

Christina

10 Feb 2015

It's incredible what some people will do (threaten to compel you to notarize a document) for his or her own personal gain, Frances. That is a huge red flag. I love that the NNA is so quick in providing a response to these types of inquiries.

Christi Walter

24 Jan 2018

My son's fiance is working Ecuador. She has applied for another job in Ecuador that requires her master's degree diploma, which was issued to her in her previous married name. She has since divorced and has returned to her maiden name legally. The university here in Ohio will mail a corrected diploma and she can obtain an apostille via mail IF the diploma is notarized. Can I obtain notarization for her in her absence here in Ohio if I get her on Skype / Facetime while in the notary's presence?

National Notary Association

24 Jan 2018

Hello. No, Ohio does not permit webcam notarizations.

Eric Maxson

09 Mar 2018

I have to sign a document and I'm in Michigan and my company's notary is in NY, and the document has to end up in NY. It'll be faster if we can do the personal appearance by video conference. Does NY currently allow webcam notarizations?

National Notary Association

09 Mar 2018

Hello. No, New York does not authorize use of webcams for notarizations.

Emily

15 May 2018

I had signed some document allowing the father of my child to be put on the birth certificate and to add his last name to her name. No notary was present but his mom was taking pictures of the documents and our IDs and sending them to someone. Apprently a video was taken with out my knowledge of me signing these documents. I live in the state of Virginia. And I’m not sure if these was legal or not. I need help ASAP. After signing these I was under the assumption that we were supposed to go somewhere physically to get this change approved which then I would’ve announced I changed my mind about the whole thing. And it came to my attention that it had already been notarized.

National Notary Association

15 May 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but we cannot provide legal assistance or answer legal questions. You would need to contact an attorney for assistance with this matter.

Susan

02 Jan 2019

Does Texas allow a document to be notarized by watching a video of the person signing the document?

National Notary Association

02 Jan 2019

Hello. Texas passed a law effective July 1, 2018 authorizing Notaries to apply to become an "Online Notary Public" and perform remote online notarization. More information is available here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/06/two-states-approve-webcam-notarization#Texas

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