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Notary Bulletin

Important Coronavirus Guidance For Signing Agents And Mobile Notaries

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Developing Story: Updated 7-22-20 with new mask recommendation from the CDC. Notary Signing Agents, mobile Notaries and signers are concerned about possible contact with the COVID-19 coronavirus when meeting face to face during loan signings and notarizations. In response, some closing companies have recommended a process called “window-separated signing” or “porch signing”, in which loan signings are conducted through a window or doorway at a safe physical distance.

Signing Agents and Notaries have asked if they may perform notarizations using this new practice. A few companies have published guidance for how these signings should be performed. In response, the NNA has published its own guidance for performing these signings in a way that protects the health of all involved and ensures that any notarial acts performed comply with state laws.

The NNA recommends that Notaries should follow these minimum guidelines when perform “window-separated signings”:

  • The Notary and signer must be able to communicate with each other by sight and sound through the window and by normal means. Cell phones, FaceTime, Skype or other electronic communication tools must not be used for a “window-separated signing.”
  • The Notary must follow all federal, state and local guidelines for social distancing, health protection and sanitization when meeting with signers and handling documents, IDs or other materials. When items are passed between the signer and Notary, one person should place the item in a neutral area and then step back and provide safe distance to allow the other person to pick it up.
  • The signer must give their actual ID to the Notary to view and inspect. The ID may not be viewed at a distance or through a window. The Notary should retain possession of the ID until the end of the signing, and then return it to the signer.
  • For jurats (called “verifications on oath and affirmation” in some states), the Notary must directly witness the signer sign the document in direct line of sight. This may be done through a window or doorway. Any required oaths or affirmations must be administered by the Notary to signer in direct line of sight and sound.
  • The Notary must complete all journal entries before handing the journal to the signer in an appropriate social distancing manner. The signer should sign (and in California, place any required thumbprint) in the appropriate journal entry through a window or doorway in direct line of sight of the Notary.
  • The Notary must complete all notarial certificates in direct line of sight of the signer through a window or doorway before leaving the signing.
  • The Notary must take reasonable steps to ensure the same documents handed to the signer are the same ones handed back to the Notary. The Notary should compare all signatures on notarized documents with the signatures made in the journal entries, and with the signature on the ID that the Notary has retained throughout the entire signing, to ensure the same person signed the documents.

More than 70 representatives of the mortgage finance industry met with the National Notary Association this week to solidify important health and safety guidance for Signing Agents, mobile Notaries and signers/borrowers amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus.

There are a variety of new precautions, policies, and procedures being implemented by the mortgage finance industry. Reach out to your contracting parties for specific guidance and be sure to follow any new procedures they prescribe. Notaries should expect enhanced precautions from contracting parties for as long as the COVID-19 crisis remains a threat to health and safety.

Your health and safety, and that of borrowers and signers, is the top priority of the NNA and industry officials, and each closing will need to be evaluated and handled on a case-by-case basis. As such, we are issuing this additional guidance:

  • Decline an assignment if you feel the environment would put you at risk in any way.
  • If you are sick, decline the assignment for the safety of signers and borrowers and notify the contracting party that hired you.
  • Keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with you at all times and use them frequently.
  • You have the right to leave a signing location if you see any warning signs after arriving on site.
  • If you leave an assignment without completing the signing, notify the title company, signing service or other hiring body immediately and explain why.
  • Instead of handshakes, you are encouraged to use other respectful forms of greeting, like putting your hand over your heart and bowing your head.

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention reports that the coronavirus is mainly spread from person-to-person via coughing and sneezing. It might be possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, but that is not believed to be the main method by which it spreads. To reduce the risk of being exposed during assignments, the CDC recommends everyone take the following precautions:

  • Updated 7-22-20: The CDC recommended that members of the public wear a face mask to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19 in a July 14, 2020 press release. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should wash your hands before eating, using the restroom or after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If you do not have access to soap and water, wash your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%-90% alcohol.

If you feel sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home and contact your healthcare provider. 

The Notary Bulletin will report further developments as they occur amid this rapidly evolving issue.

Additional Resources:

CDC Handwashing Tips

View All: COVID-19

134 Comments

Add your comment

Terance bJ Petitt

13 Mar 2020

Very informative. I will review in full.

Beth

13 Mar 2020

I have received over a dozen emails from different notary companies stating approx. above. Many wanted us to sign forms saying I haven’t been out of country and I’m not showing sign I’m ok with this But is anyone asking the signers if they have been out of the country recently or been sick can this form be added to their package before it gets to us. We are the ones at risk going into their homes - I recently went to a signing and she didn’t tell me she flew in from Japan a few days before until 3/4 through signing, another signing I walked in and the women could barely talk she was coughing so bad they told me not to confirm the appt ahead because the title company just did (now I know why) Who is looking out for us? I have been doing this for 12 years and this is the first time I feel this uncared for.

Cheryl Kaster

14 Mar 2020

What??? And miss all the big bucks???

Barry Thaxton

15 Mar 2020

Your policy does not reflect CDC guidance nor address the fact that this disease spreads through aerosol transmission and during the asymptomatic phase. From the article you cited, note "is thought" and their recommendation to stay at least 6 feet away. The virus will also transmit on the paper. If you going to keep doing them, consider removing the signature pages, highlighting the signature requirements then observe them signing them from a safe distance. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Janet Harrison

15 Mar 2020

Don't share your pen. Provide a pen for the signers. Wipe them both down after.

Cindy Hollenbaugh

15 Mar 2020

Renewal. I am scheduled to renew my notary in 2 weeks. With most gatherings being postponed or cancelled will the class and testing still be scheduled. La Quinta March 24th

National Notary Association

18 Mar 2020

Hello. Please see this article for the latest updates on our CA live seminars: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/nna-california-live-notary-seminars-cancelled

Denise

15 Mar 2020

Where can I find the disclosure?

National Notary Association

16 Mar 2020

Hello. Reach out to your contracting parties for specific directions and be sure to follow any new procedures they prescribe.

Donald W Hodder

16 Mar 2020

Good advice regarding screening "best practices" in paragraph 2 but where's the recommended screening disclosure document?!?

National Notary Association

16 Mar 2020

Hello. Reach out to your contracting parties for specific directions and be sure to follow any new procedures they prescribe.

Betty

16 Mar 2020

At my next signing I am bringing stick pens, the cheapest pens. I will ask the signers to wash them before using them and I will leave the pens with the signers. REMEMBER to Not let your hands dry out. I hand wash dishes every day, And I keep 3 horses. When I am done my daily chores I wash my hands and then coat them with petroleum jelly. It will soak into dry skin in about 30 minutes. Viruses have an easier time e tearing dried out skin. Many hand lotions irritate dry skin. I know bc my skin is sensitive.

Roxanne Yoder

16 Mar 2020

What about regular notaries that work for public agencies who perform notaries for the public?

Dionne Luttrell

16 Mar 2020

What about the Notaries?? I have been getting so many emails regarding how we are to do this and sign that to cover the behinds of the signing companies in the event we make someone sick. What about the notaries? We are risking our health each and every time we enter a restaurant, place of business, library, or home to get these documents signed. No one seems to show anything but peripheral care for what we face daily. I am personally contemplating taking a few weeks off. I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to do that and feel bad for any notaries not able to. This is why it is so important for these companies to put forth more of a caring attitude about US. We are out here making it happen. I feel like if I fall you will just roll me over and put another notary in my place. I feel very uncared for and it hurts. I have been doing this for 12 years and even though I have days where I feel the companies don't care, now it's really being shown to me.

National Notary Association

16 Mar 2020

Hello. As mentioned in the article, if you have concerns about coming into contact with an ill signer during a signing, the NNA and industry officials recommend the following: 1. Decline an assignment if you feel the environment would put you at risk in any way. 2. If you are sick, decline the assignment for the safety of signers and borrowers and notify the contracting party that hired you. 3. Keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with you at all times and use them frequently. 4. You have the right to leave a signing location if you see any warning signs after arriving on site. 5. If you leave an assignment without completing the signing, notify the title company, signing service or other hiring body immediately and explain why. 6. Instead of handshakes, you are encouraged to use other respectful forms of greeting, like putting your hand over your heart and bowing your head.

sheff6@gmail.com

16 Mar 2020

Is California doing anything to implement remote notarization on an emergency basis to protect notaries from exposure to the Corona Virus? If this flu truly is anything like the outbreak of 1918, it could last well over a year. The fact that people, especially older ones, die from it could make people more mindful of getting their legal documents in order. Are California notaries going to be able to serve them or is all the business going to go to those states that already have remote notarization in place?

alleluiatwo@aol.com

16 Mar 2020

Can the NNA reach out to Title Companies to get them to address the following concerns to their clients (which includes lenders and banks) know that a change needs to be made in the industry which allows signers such as borrowers and purchasers and sellers of real property to chose where they want to meet with the notary signing agents [i.e., in their homes, at coffee shops, at the notary's home office, etc.] to sign their loans. It seems that during this crisis, it's too risky for notary signing agents to expose themselves to danger by entering homes where the dining room and kitchen tables may not have been sanitized; where dogs and cats are present and borrowers don't want to remove them from the area where the signing is to take place because they consider them their children. The country is out of control. I once left an in-home signing and had flea bites up and down my legs even though I was wearing a pant suit. Also a pit bull was allowed to re-enter the house before I could pack up my notary supplies and get out of the home. When are the lenders going to schedule these signings at their own offices and allow signing agents to meet the signers at their facilities at the scheduled appointment time where their janitorial service has sanitized the desks, etc., or at lease cleaned the offices. Tables could be set up a fair distance from the notary who is facilitating the signing. Lender hours could be extended to accommodate the signers who cannot take off work during the day to sign their loans. Are the commissions of these loan officers more important that our safety. We do not receive hazard pay for working under these dangerous conditions. Please advise, ASAP, as those of us who work in the field need to have these changes made for our protection. Am I the only signing agent who is willing to address these unreasonable working conditions??

Maria Vazzana

16 Mar 2020

What about the self ink stamp for the fingerprint? Is it safe ?

National Notary Association

19 Mar 2020

Hello. We recommend ensuring that each signer sanitizes their hands before use. We are also reaching out the manufacturer to see if they have any other sanitizing recommendations.

Alice

16 Mar 2020

Hi Beth, when I read the message it also stated that the signer would also be contacted prior to signing.

Gene Turner

16 Mar 2020

What hand sanitize? Every store I have gone to the shelves are bare, as is almost everything else. It has been that way for weeks. So just wash our hands?

Danielle Houston

16 Mar 2020

I AGREE 100% with SAFETY FIRST. The appropriate response is not Decline the assignment. Money is not the most important thing, Safety is priority. I know what one notary won't do another one will for a lot cheaper but consider many of us have over 10 years of experience. It's not fair for a Lender to work from home but send the notaries out to the field and promise the customer we will sign them under any circumstances. Is a refinance that crucial that we sign right now. Postpone all closings that require in-person notarizations until this thing clears. It's unnecessary for tens of thousands of agents and families to put their lives at risk for the sake of closing a deal in March/April.

Sally Ann Pace

16 Mar 2020

Please see that each company that we work for received this as well as the two pages of questionnaire.

Penny

16 Mar 2020

I agree All the schedulers and lender are working at home setting up the appointments while we enter home of people that may not divulge travel or illness information correctly I feel that if I don't accept assignments that I will be put to the bottom of the call list after working hard at this for over 10 years Postpone closing for now and continue scheduling but for 3 to 4 weeks out or longer if this does not clear up by then My health IS important to me and my loved ones but I do need to continue working and do not want to fear being taken out of rotation calls

Adam P Pasquale

16 Mar 2020

I am located in a hot spot, Massachusetts. I have an N-95 mask, hand sanitizer and gloves and disposable pens. Work has evaporated over past week as our State is 90% locked down. If the phone rings, my rates will be triple what they used to be considering Notary work is now Hazardous.

ray grieco

16 Mar 2020

how do I clean the finger print pad?

National Notary Association

19 Mar 2020

Hello. We recommend ensuring that each signer sanitizes their hands before use. We are also reaching out the manufacturer to ask if they have any other sanitizing recommendations.

Jo Anne shannon

16 Mar 2020

Its time to begin remote online signings in all states now.

Jacqueline Diaz

16 Mar 2020

Do we use it or not?

Carlota

16 Mar 2020

I agree with suggestion that We conduct signings at a business office. Great idea for borrowers to receive pre-screen if they have been out of country etc. Our attaches, journals, pens, stamps, staplers or any other form of supplies should be wiped. We are exposed to everything the borrowers touch. After signings, most loans are required to be faxed, We bring those papers back into our offices/homes after borrowers signed. We can't sanitize the docs, it would be safer of they could be dropped. Business procedures have to be re-assessed for our safety too!

Ricardo a Cruz

16 Mar 2020

Thank you

Judy R. Sparks

16 Mar 2020

You did not mention if we'll get paid when we've driven to someone's home and they assured us that they were well and then come to find out they were not. I have only one title company who pays me whether I sign or not and I pretty much stick with them 99.9% of the time and turn down all others. I've never felt taken "care of" by this industry and now is no different. We are on the edge by ourselves and each time I go out I'll make a decision if I trust what the person said or not before leaving my home. My #1 title company will pay me per my report of that the person was sick. Enough said.

JPayton

16 Mar 2020

Here I was thinking I was the only person feeling this way. It appears we are all on the same page, not that it will make any difference. About a month ago the title co I work for cut the notary fees with no allowances for travel, cancellation etc. And now we have the Corona virus a month later & we are still expected to work for reduced rates AND go into peoples' homes to do signings. We are told if we don't want to do that, there are hundreds waiting for our jobs. After 15 years of doing this job, I feel very unappreciated. I have NO choice but to continue working. I am the sole support for myself & my husband. As of tomorrow, I cannot even enter the title co to get docs. Have to knock on the door to get paper work & then head for the war zone. Don't we at least deserve combat pay for this???

Anthony Holt

17 Mar 2020

Why would someone ask if they’ve traveled recently. This information is accent, like 5 days old. If they have been to or traveled to the United States, that alone would be enough because we already have 5,000 cases here. Doesn’t anyone realize this?

Kenneth Lindsey

17 Mar 2020

Due to the Coronavirus hazard the notary now faces I feel the signing fees should be raised as the notary is being asked to provide safe pens, sanitizer and other expenses that we have not had to provide before. Also, the health risk the notary is exposed to should warrant an increase in our fees.

Susan

18 Mar 2020

My daughter works in a hospital lab in CO doing some of the testing. Her suggestion is to meet people in an open area such as outside tables at a restaurant, park or Starbucks. I know it's hard with all the paperwork but.....may be worth it and you can always keep the papers clipped or on a clipboard.

Rebecca

18 Mar 2020

Yes, the notary and the signer(s)! For years I have been signing sick people...

Armida Ainsworth

18 Mar 2020

This is a great time to discuss streamlining the process, such as electronic signings and electronic journals. It would be more efficient and convenient for everyone involved.

Susan Cochran

18 Mar 2020

I am a mobile notary and also have an office. I will not do a signing unless the signer wears both gloves and a mask. I wear the same and clean my office with clorox wipes when finished. I am a senior citizen. While this process is not the recommended one, I feel it is best to keep all of my clients well.

Patsy Gonzales

18 Mar 2020

Maybe schedule future signings outside at a city park, the person's backyard, whereas the Notary does not have to enter the dwelling

Laurie

18 Mar 2020

I've been a signer for 20 years and we basically cannot make our bills without my income. But, if I expose my partner with lung challenges to everything I might bring back no matter how careful I am (and I have been doing these sanitizing techniques my entire career as I'm a bit of a germaphobe) it won't matter if I wind up in the hospital with a $7500 out of pocket expense because my insurance is the worst. I did a signing Monday 3/16/2020 which was my last signing to date. I offered her to use her own pen or I had a sterilized one she could use if preferred. Her response was "I'll just use yours if I get sick I get sick, who cares". Borrowers are not going to watch out for you people, they just want to do their business. So, I agree with those that the industry is not taking care of us which is very hurtful and morally wrong and the lenders, signing & title companies should stop thinking about the bottom line and do the right thing. Suspend all transactions until this thing passes. We are not helping the cause out there being spreaders. Shelter in place means just that for everyone.

Amy

18 Mar 2020

I have halted all notary work since I have a higher chance of getting the coronavirus than most as I already have a lung issue. I feel that borrowers and escrow co's and lenders are not really looking out for notaries best interest. As others have commented, I am concerned that when I do begin work again that I will be way at the bottom of the lists. I work with many contracting companies and escrow companies. I can't believe that I am saying this (since I am really against this practice) but perhaps California should consider enotarizations in order to get loans closed.

Annamaria

18 Mar 2020

Being a nurse and now a renewed notary. I am expressing that no one wants to miss out on making money. The best way to do this is NOT go into the homes. Have the customer arrange a table, chair and pen for the time of your arrival. Wear your gloves (if they take offense, that is just tough for what is going around). If they are coughing, sneezing, etc. Tell them please to put on a mask or wrap a scarf around their mouth and nose and to wash their hands before commencing. I am sure they are just as concerned for their health as the notary agents are. Praying for safe and healthy notary ventures.

Angela V

18 Mar 2020

I appreciate all of the information and suggestions by the NNA regarding Covid-19, and the responses. Thank you. A lot has changed in a very short time and I no longer feel comfortable. I took the NNA advice for my own practice. I made my own questions for the client and myself to answer on an online request today. I haven't heard back and I am not surprised. The more I read here it made me realize some people just won't be as careful. After thinking it through I believe I will have to suspend my business for the time being due to my husband's current underlying health issues. As someone else mentioned, I can't afford to expose him because he is at higher risk. If it was just me, I think I would be okay with best practices and some of the wonderful suggestions here.

Agnes Reizik

20 Mar 2020

Can you please update these forms to say "Signor" instead of "Borrower?" These forms apply for ALL types of clients. We do seller transactions and non real estate related transactions. Clients are confused by the form reading "borrower." Thank you.

Lydia

20 Mar 2020

Thank you for the advice and recommendations. We as notaries run a great risk no matter how careful we are. From what I understand there could be no symptoms and still carry the virus. This entire month or since we found out how quickly this virus is spreading, I’ve taken all precautions; sanitizers, sterilized prep pads for finger print, I sit at a distance at the table, I try to only speak what I have to say, new pens at each appointment, and more. But honestly I still feel so vulnerable to get contaminated. I have a 79 year old mom living with me. We should take the “safer at home” order requirement serious in order to not spread or be contaminated. At least until we make improvements to flatten the curve. I know it’s easier said than done.

Stephen Stern

20 Mar 2020

Due to the danger, people want to create an estate plan, which requires a notary. For the protection for all involved, can the notary use video conferencing to witness the signature and then sign the documents outside of the location?

National Notary Association

23 Mar 2020

Hello. To help us ensure that we provide you with correct information in this extremely fast-changing situation, can you please tell us what state you are located in?

Agnes Reizik

20 Mar 2020

Can you please update these forms to say "Signor" instead of "Borrower?" These forms apply for ALL types of clients. We do seller transactions and non real estate related transactions. Clients are confused by the form reading "borrower." Thank you.

Angela Ma

20 Mar 2020

Is mobile notary considered an essential business since now it’s a state mandate to “shelter in place”? Thanks

National Notary Association

23 Mar 2020

Hello. We are urgently reaching out to government bodies to request guidance on this matter, and will post any information we receive in the Bulletin as soon as possible.

Cory Nunez

21 Mar 2020

Are notaries considered essentiall ? How do we prove it if so if we're pulled over?

Joe Antonucci

22 Mar 2020

I recently completed a closing for Navy Federal credit Union and when I receivedg the package there was a form in there with an NA letterhead that was a pre-screening questionnaire that the Borrowers had to sign regarding the seal read the virus. This form had the NNA logo on it so I am assuming it came from the NNA. Is this pre-screening form available on the NNA website?

National Notary Association

23 Mar 2020

Hello. While we initially created an example form, companies are using their own individual guidelines and documentation, so the form is no longer available on our website. You should contact any companies you accept assignments from for recommendations and any forms they wish you to use.

Paris Harvey

22 Mar 2020

Are we as mortgage signing agents considered "essential" businesses? I am in Santa Clara County. Ca. I am hearing there are arrests happening because of some people out there who are not "essential"

National Notary Association

23 Mar 2020

Hello. We are currently reaching out to get guidance from government bodies on this matter, and will post information we receive in the Bulletin as soon as possible.

Sally Bergman

22 Mar 2020

I am an estate planning attorney and also a NP. Many states are working on implementing at least temporary procedures for virtual notarizations. We're all writing our legislators asking for emergency legislation. It would be great if NN were to get involved in the procedures for implementing the virtual notarizations.

Barbara Holland

22 Mar 2020

I agree that it is time to change the way the mortgage industry operates. They can't close a loan without us yet we are tossed aside for the next in line..

Valerie T

23 Mar 2020

Are notaries considered essential?

National Notary Association

23 Mar 2020

Hello. We are currently reaching out to get guidance from government bodies on this matter, and will post information we receive in the Bulletin as soon as possible.

Sally Bergman

23 Mar 2020

I am an estate planning attorney and also a NP. Many states are working on implementing at least temporary procedures for virtual notarizations. We're all writing our legislators asking for emergency legislation. It would be great if NN were to get involved in the procedures for implementing the virtual notarizations.

Eleana Burroughs

23 Mar 2020

I'm not a licensed loan officer. And I do not have E&O insurance on a single document EXCEPT a notarized document itself (not a loan package). Loan officers can not walk their borrower's through the hybrid docs. Hybrid packages also change the venue if their were any E&O coverage. They only need us for the notarized documents. I'm fine with curbside signings. Not interested in the digital remote signings personally. We should just charge more for the time and convenience on "notarized documents" which keep us in the local venue in the event of any claims or lawsuits. Have you looked at the terms of use & privacy policy as on a hybrid? A notary could never agree to those terms. It's releasing the hiring company and assigning the risk to yourself. Of course, if they want to send a laptop they maintain for all the security, updates, etc. that would be an option or just let the borrower finish signing them on their own computer. I do it all the time for my clients as a real estate agent. I do not need a notary to help me with my clients. They aren't licensed for such. Be safe out there!

Eleana

23 Mar 2020

Let loan officers send the documents digitally to their clients. That's what they were hired to do. They should only share that information to the extent absolutely necessary and for no other reason. We need to become notaries, not signing agents now. They can split the packages. You have no E&O EXCEPT on a notarized document. Not any other page. You also agree to a venue in a different location (like the lender's business address) on a hybrid. We just need to let the loan officer go over the arrangements THEY made for their borrowers. Now UPS/FED-EX is eliminated as a weak link with the borrower's private data. I don't want to buy anyone LifeLock the rest of their life because I missed a windows update, etc. We agree to quite a lot in the boiler plate language under the terms of use. Oh, and the next thing is we will be paying to access their platform to do a hybrid signing. Set the stage now. Let loan officers do it. Let borrower's choose services (without steering). When we had the recent fires a signing company 3 hours difference wouldn't answer when I couldn't take the smoke filled house. Glad it didn't change their interest rate from an expiring loan lock that day, etc. Sure would have been nice to leave the documents and have them call another local one. I'd almost think it's against RESPA due to the markup from a signing company.

gingerccrawford@gmail.com

24 Mar 2020

We're learning new details about COVID-19 daily! Many MANY people aren't taking this seriously enough! I think the CDC should stop stigmatizing citizens who feel wearing gloves and masks is one of the safest measures of protection to take under these particular circumstances. Unfortunately, poor leadership, lack of planning and virtually no preparedness has resulted in a shortage of essential protective armour for our most vulnerable - our nurses, our doctors and our first responders, AND for people who work in essential businesses! Take care of yourselves!

Lee Ann Bonacker

24 Mar 2020

All notary organizations and signing agencies should immediately switch to remote signings only. For states without complete e-signings, all notary organizations and signing agencies should immediately lobby the state governors to enact executive orders allowing complete, remote e-signings. Remote signing is the only safe, responsible way to do notarizations now. Providence hospital in Portland Oregon is begging people to make masks on their home sewing machines. At the same time, doctors are saying that homemade masks are like giving soldiers flip-flops and a T-shirt to go out to battle. Sending out guidelines to stay 6 feet away from people in their own homes or do curbside signings is behind the reality of what is happening on the ground. Please think ahead of this situation using the reality of science showing the exponential spread and constant mutation of this disease. Now is the time for leadership and change to preserve safe notarization.

Leslie

24 Mar 2020

Why isn't the state of California doing video or online notaries? Other states do this!

Ruth

24 Mar 2020

What we need to do is pick up on the electronic document signings (Like Docusign) and electronic seals including some sort of video Skype or zoom that is recorded along with the deeds.

Karen Ace

25 Mar 2020

Although I would love the money now I cannot work because I have asthma and lung problems. Not only do we have to worry about getting Coronavirus from clients but we can pick it up and before we have symptoms can easily pass it on to the elderly or someone with health problems which could affect their health and life. So for me, I have had to say I am unable to take signings right now. Also my Mother has COPD and has had cancer so I could put her at risk if I were to pick it up. Not worth the risk right now.

Sandra Fong

25 Mar 2020

I wonder how many buyers/borrowers/sellers would feel safe go to the Notary’s home to do their signings not knowing how clean or sanitary it is? As this virus spreads I think people will be forced to face the fact that as it stands today performing any Notary is in fact putting all those at a high risk. The no symptom Notary going out and doing signings is NOT a hero...they are SUPER SPREADERS of this virus and the Secretary of State needs to help all of us as Notary’s as essential workers protect all people involved.

Laurie

25 Mar 2020

I agree with the previous posts. California SOS office put out a notice regarding rumors that notaries, if caught during shelter in place would be sited. They wanted to dispel the rumors as untrue and that the Secretary of Treasury (Mnuchin) has insisted that our jobs are essential to infrastructure and basically we need to get our butts out there and perform our duties. I take my oath seriously and my job to serve, but making us decide between life and death for money is just wrong. The other huge stressor is will we have business when things improve because we have been shoved to the bottom of the list after 20 years service? I lie awake at night feeling shamed for doing what I think I should do to protect all but, our industry and government applying pressure is not helping. They need to be figuring out how to get us all remote if they want to save the economy instead of shaming us into the field.

National Notary Association

25 Mar 2020

Hello Laurie. We completely understand your concerns about your safety. Some states are issuing emergency guidelines allowing Notaries to use additional safety precautions when performing their duties for the duration of this emergency. You can find a list of states and detailed information here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization. As we receive more information on new safety guidelines approved for Notaries, we will publish them here so our readers can stay informed.

ASPEN TITLE INSURANCE AGENCY LLC

25 Mar 2020

Are any states going to allow notaries to take place via skype or facetime? Couldn't it be reasonable during this time to e-mail docs to the party, have them print the docs, go facetime or skype with the notary, adjust it so you can see them sign docs, witness the signature and obtain ID over facetime and skype...I understand some risk, but isn't this a better suggestion than spreading covid? Is it being considered at this time of need?

National Notary Association

25 Mar 2020

Hello. Yes, several states have issued emergency orders and guidelines allowing Notaries to use remote notarization or other communication alternatives during this emergency. A list of states is available here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization. We will continue to update our articles with new information as we receive it from state officials.

Kathy D Dennis The Notary Girl

25 Mar 2020

I appreciate the implementation of the travel and health disclosures signing agents are required to complete. We can't always rely on people being honest so notaries are still taking a risk even with the disclosure. However, I feel that as a business, notaries should require a similar disclosure from the signer upon confirmation. If I were to accept a signing assignment in this climate, that would be the condition of my service. Again, still a risk as we rely on the signers honesty, however, if suspending service is not an option, this may at least put the signer on the alert and hopefully create some sense of responsibility and accountability and take that disclosure seriously.

Mary Tagle

25 Mar 2020

I am concerned because I don’t know if notaries are consider essential and here in Texas we have to shelter in place if not essential or you can be arrested . What can we do .

National Notary Association

25 Mar 2020

Hello Mary. It is important that all Notaries follow federal, state and local directives regarding health safety. Before choosing to go out on assignment, check any information or guidelines published by state or local officials and be sure to comply with them. State executive orders from Texas Governor Abbott can be found here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-executive-orders-in-accordance-with-federal-guidelines-to-mitigate-spread-of-covid-19-in-texas

Leigh Ann Lenhart

26 Mar 2020

I am so glad to see the input from signing agents on our NNA site. Both my fiance' and I are signing agents. He has been in the industry for over a decade and I only 1 year. He has built his business on trustworthiness and attention to detail, and everyone calls him because he does it right the first time. We have tried to be innovative during this time by putting up an isolation tent, with a window to communicate through from our garage. We have professional signs directing signers on how to disinfect , and guide them through the signing session in a controlled environment. It works beautifully, and no we wouldn't normally do it this way, but we are not willing to take the chance with our health, or the health of our signers by going into germ pool after germ pool from different households. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE DOESN'T SHOW SYMPTOMS DOESN'T MEAN THEY AREN'T SICK. WE ARE TRYING TO CONTAIN A VIRUS, NOT SPREAD IT. We need to work too, and I feel that we have received some really negative feedback from some of the loan signing companies, and some are really excited about it. We all have to innovate and bend right now to make this work. Look around..is anything the same as usual right now as far as contact? We are bombarded with calls right now and really want to serve our clients the best we can, but we're going to protect ourselves as well! It would really help if the signing agencies and lenders would try to understand the position we are in and try to be more forward thinking.

Tina Daniels

30 Mar 2020

My son is also a notary and his commission will expired later this year. Does your office offer an online refresh course? So I can can sign him up with membership and the refresher course online? Also, how can he take the test with this COVID-19? Any suggestion? Please advise.

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. Depending on what state your son is commissioned in, there may be an online refresher course available. Please have your son visit www.NationalNotary.org or call us at 1-800-876-6827 and provide the state he is commissioned in and we will be happy to assist him if possible.

Donna Mastrantonio

30 Mar 2020

Notaries are essential I understand that but in my opinion I don't think we get paid enough by the title companies to go through all of this craziness, passing documents through a door, IDs and journal books. First of all, this whole process has become even more time consuming which in my opinion, time is money. I am not going out to do closings for the same fee when I have to spend this much more time with people and stand outside in whatever weather doing it. Some type of law has to be temporarily passed so that signing agents can stay safe too and do this remotely from a computer with the borrowers instead of sending them out with 200 pages to be signed behind a window. They need to figure it out and put a better plan in place.

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello, Donna. Several states have issued emergency rules to permit Notaries to perform notarizations remotely or using other alternatives to face-to-face contact during the coronavirus emergency. Please see here for a list, we are continuing to update it as new information comes in: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

LRogers

30 Mar 2020

A week ago I went to a reverse mortgage signing and through conversation learned that 20 days earlier the client had returned from a 3 week trip in Dubai. There was no pre-CV19 questionnaire in the packet - although who’s to say that people will honestly tell you when they actually did return. Shall I ask for proof of travel dates? And what countries are considered high risk outside of China & Italy? I just sterilized everything after I left with wipes, UV light and hand sanitizer. We did not sit 6 feet apart during the meeting (mistake, I guess).

R. Ann Ellis-Hall

30 Mar 2020

I went through a gate to the Patio for loan signing . . . Borrower did not have a Porch!! It went well and the Borrowers were very respectful, diligent and cooperative in their loan signing; they had the signing area professionally prepared and staged -- protection for all of us!!

Gary Benson

30 Mar 2020

Common sense is required. I ask - "Have you been out of the country or state in the last 30 days"? Has anyone been sick in your family in the last days?" Do you have a porch or outside patio where we can sit and sign your documents"? It makes the client a bit more comfortable also. Everyone knows we need to take precautions - so take them. I wipe down the area table with Clorox Wipes and offer hand sanitation wipes for me and the client. So far - so good!

M Smith

30 Mar 2020

About 2 months ago, the signing agent that came into my home was sick with tissues wiping his nose, handing me papers to sign, and pens, etc... In my opinion, that seemed very irresponsible on his part to accept an assignment knowing he was sick. The only thing I could do was sanitize anything in my house that he touched and I stored my copies of the papers away for a few weeks before touching them again.

Morgan Hallford

30 Mar 2020

Met at the gate with 2 large vicious dogs, and hand gun on his hip. Performed signing on hood of truck. Felt very threatened by signor. We perform ALL CDC rules at every signing.

BETTY JANE GREENBURG

30 Mar 2020

we need to stayaway from all untill they sz OKAY BE CARE FULL""""""""""""""""""

Ana Maria

02 Apr 2020

I decided to stay home and I am in prayer in the morning and at night. May GOD bless all those notaries that do not have this choice because they have to work and provide for their families. I will keep praying for you this Country and the WORLD,

Jamie anderson

03 Apr 2020

Currently Utah’s UETA does not permit electronic signatures for transactions subject to the following laws: (1) a law governing the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts; and (2) the UCC, other than Utah Code Ann. � 70A-1a-306, Title 70A, Chapter 2, Uniform Commercial Code - Sales, and Title 70A, Chapter 2a, Uniform Commercial Code – Leases. Due to the special circumstances arising with COVID-19 ,and the dire need to keep economic stimulus active, will commercial code restrictions be lifted allowing for personal verification and identification to be performed via skype, zoom, facetime etc allowinf or eNotarization of sales and leases?

National Notary Association

03 Apr 2020

Hello. You can find information on Utah's administrative rules for remote online notarizations here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/news/law-updates/utah-administrative-rules-2019

Liselote Reyes Ocasio

03 Apr 2020

Can or does NNA plan on developing a training video on how to conduct :window-separated signings" or "porch signings" in which loan signings are conducted through a window or doorway at a safe distance"; and in a way that protects the health of all involved and ensures that any notarial acts performed comply with state laws? I am having a hard time visualizing exactly how this happens and how much time needs to be added to the signing process to make room for these measures

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2020

Thank you for the suggestion, we will forward it to our video production team.

Dorthy

03 Apr 2020

How do we get CA to allow for remote signings? Should we petition the state? This is not safe.

Regina Runion

03 Apr 2020

Ohio Senate Bill 263 requires me to have a criminal record check and on line class before my renewal. Cannot find any place to do my background check in area. any suggestions? Thanks, Regina

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2020

Hello. Please note that due to the COVID-19 emergency, some background check offices are closed or open for limited hours. A list of authorized locations is here: https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Business/Services-for-Business/WebCheck/Webcheck-Community-Listing

Kristen

05 Apr 2020

My NJ notary expired 4-1-20. I completed renewal on line, got the legislator approval, and waiting for the packet to come in mail so I can go to monmouth county clerk office to swear in...Is there any extensions given on the expiration date due to Covid-19? I urgently need my notary for work purposes.

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2020

Hello. We have not received any information on deadline extensions for New Jersey at this time. Information on NJ Division of Revenue office closures and instructions are available here: https://www.nj.gov/treasury/revenue/notary.shtml

Eve

06 Apr 2020

The bottom line on this is we need to use our common sense while still adhering to legal and professional guidelines. Most companies slant their instructions toward the borrowers because they read the same message. It's a business strategy - see we always put our customers first! Never mind that. There is too much at risk and we must set up our own standards and procedures. While also incorporating sensible safety suggestions from the hiring parties. One thing that has always been a requirement for me is that I speak directly with the signers prior to an appointment. Even more important now. To go over all procedures - routine and otherwise, to make sure we are on the same page. I have found it to be reassuring to everyone. If I'm ever met with resistance, oh well, the job gets turned back in. This is deadly serious. Please be careful out there!

Carlota

10 Apr 2020

I have been a notary since 2005 and there are signing companies still offering the exact same fee! These signing companies absorb no expense for us and now for safety precautions there are additional accommodations we have to provide. They don't have to go out into the "battlefield" and be exposed to the unsafe elements. Whether it's signings in the evening, a remote area, no parking available or now having to deal with this current pandemic. I believe that for me to feel safe, whomever schedules the signings should pre-clear and ask the signers questions "have you been out of the country, etc". Signers should be emailed the suggested scenarios for their "safe" signings. They should have their own black or blue pens to use. The following would be a perfect and safe signing: esign docs when notary gives signer link and access. All disclosures would be done (signer can't log out unless everything is signed & all pgs pre-dated) notarized pages as well (notary fills & provides acknowledgements after signing done by logging in and seeing e-signed signatures) These acknowledgements would be only pages Fedx'd or UPS'd. This may be a far fetched idea but wouldn't everyone feel safe? And we'd be complying with acknowledgements stating, "Before me". I am a professional and my business has suffered like everyone else but my health and my families is important so I have socially distanced myself and not worked since 03/12. Let's all collaborate and come up with some ideas to get back to work safely! You never know....someone might take one of these ideas to heart! Praying that the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and that our once beautiful country returns. A million thank yous and my deepest appreciation is extended to all the medical, law enforcement, military, essential businesses and volunteers that have sacrificed their lives to save mine!

Elvia Lemus

10 Apr 2020

I am Notary/Signing Agent, I rented an office to do Signing with 8 feet distance and shield, to prevent any Covid-19 contamination, no one is supporting me, Signing Agencies do not care to send people, one person can contaminate a lot of people, family one day, next day another family. It's sad. People rushing and don't care. I need help.

Elvia Lemus

10 Apr 2020

My name is Elvia Lemus, I been doing Signing since 2005, now there is no way to go to anyones house, just imagine if I get contaminated or I get contaminated someone without knowing, each day I can be contaminating families, even if they pay me 10 times more, I couldn't live with myself. I rented in office in San Leandro, California, 8 feet away and plastic shileld, gloves, masks, but no Signing Agencies are supporting me by sending or at least give Signers that option, because it takes time, everyone want Money, Money, Signing Agencies and Title Companies should take a second look to protect human beings, who knows, I hope they don't wait until it's to late

Elvia Lemus

10 Apr 2020

I am asking NNA to speak on our behalf, we came to you and now we need help, help us to protect ourself, we can NOT to anyone's house, for us, for them, for this world. Please protect this country, a lot of Notaries still going to people's houses, without thinking how worse they spreding Covid-19, money YES we can recuperate BUT our life NEVER. God help us all. Thank you

Carol Moore

13 Apr 2020

I just received my first assignment. Are there any new updates on how to conduct the signing to enhance the through the door or window method? What supplies should I have? I want to be safe for myself, my family and help the signer achieve his goal of refinancing.

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. If we receive any updates from health officials or Notary officials, we will add them. Again, we emphasize that Notaries should follow any guidance issued by local health officials to ensure safety.

W.K.

13 Apr 2020

I am a Mobile Notary in MI, I am seeing a push for Remote Closings. Maybe the NNA can reach out to industry Businesses and Law makers to advocate for Remote Closing/Signing Services during the health crisis? As a rule If you don't feel safe then don't schedule services. I have removed myself from availability until the Stay Home Stay Safe order is lifted, thankfully I have saved enough of my earnings to last me for a little while. Good Luck to us all... Stay Safe Notary Nation

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. Many states have issued emergency RON rules or enacted RON early due to the coronavirus crisis. Please see these articles for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization and https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/answers-urgent-questions-notaries-ron

Janean

15 Apr 2020

Does a Notary who has tested positive need to be retested before resuming duties. The Primary Care Physician does not know and is willing to retest if necessary.

National Notary Association

15 Apr 2020

Hello. We would suggest contacting your local health agency (for example, city or county department of health) and ask for their guidance on this. Be sure to follow any guidelines issued by health officials in your area regarding COVID-19.

BETSY

16 Apr 2020

Are Notary Publics charging different fees during Covid19? (Travel Fee/Hazard Fee)

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2020

Hello. You must still follow any fee schedules and rules set by your state's laws, unless those rules have been changed under a state-issued temporary emergency order. For more information on state emergency orders, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Belinda Perez

17 Apr 2020

Hello, I have a question about a EXPIRED Driver's License, our seller license expired in March. He is unable to Renew D.L. online. Do we need to wait till he his able to Renew DL at DPS location? I read how DL where being extended because COVID19 but not sure if this applies for Notary purposes?

Belinda Perez

20 Apr 2020

Hello. To answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Belinda Perez

17 Apr 2020

Hello, I have a seller with an expired DL. He can not renew online and has been told he needs to go into a DPS location. I see online where DL are being extended because all offices are closed. Does this work for Notary purposes?

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2020

Hello. So we can be sure to provide you with the correct information for your state, please tell us what state you are commissioned in.

Tammy

18 Apr 2020

My notary expired 4/11/20. How can I now renew?

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2020

Hello. To help us answer your question, what state are you commissioned in?

STEPHANIE HUNT

22 Apr 2020

Where is this disclosure form to down load

National Notary Association

23 Apr 2020

Hello. While we initially created an example form, companies are using their own individual guidelines and documentation, so the form is no longer available on our website. You should contact any companies you accept assignments from for recommendations and any forms they wish you to use.

Christine C Marooney

23 Apr 2020

you may want to revise your guidance and face masks to align with the CDC’s new protocol. If you are well, the CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask to protect yourself from viruses. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19,

Laurie

30 Apr 2020

I'm here to say guidelines don't work and borrowers are not going to tell the truth. I had not signed anything since 3/16/2020 and finally decided to give the outside, curbside, porch etc. signing a go. I accepted a loan modification assignment because I knew it would take little time reducing exposure. Called the morning of the appointment to confirm that the borrower was healthy. His reply. “Don’t worry I have had a COVID test which was negative.” He goes onto explain it was because he was in LA to see his father who was exposed to a co-worker that tested positive for COVID. I completed the signing and was making conversation from afar only to find out the real story. Apparently he had forgotten the story he made up over the phone and I come to find out his Father died of COVID and he was being tested because he was in contact with people in the household. So, now I've been exposed and will now expose my family. I can't really ask the borrower the timeline or any factual information because I can't believe a thing he tells me. So does anyone care out there that nobody is taking care of the notaries? Especially out here in California where in person is required and absolutely no intention of allowing RON.

Lisa

19 May 2020

Wow Laurie! That's sad sad sad! I've been saying this for a while as well that some people arent gonna tell the truth and how are we to know whats the truth?! I havent worked since 3/16 and trying desperately to figure out how to meet with people in open work spaces that possibly I rent out for each signing. It's nearly impossible. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. For me, outside is nearly impossible with the wind (already did 3 and it was miserable) and the drop at their doorstep and requiring to watch them sign from outside is near ridiculousness, and lastly, I've heard of side by side cars which is a bit more do-able but again, paper touching, license touching, they may refuse to wear gloves etc....it goes on and on. I'm trying to find another occupation at this time, sadly, because I loved this one! Any advice is appreciated.

Catherine R. Rodriguez

28 May 2020

Staying Home! Not worth losing your lives and lives of others. I read up regarding RON. Maybe the best option. I suppose it will work. Of course training is required and of course there is a cost for the training. What happens if the signers do not have access to a computer? What than?

National Notary Association

29 May 2020

Hello. RON requires real-time audiovisual communication online between the Notary and the signer. If a signer does not have access to a computer, the signer would not be able to have their document notarized using RON.

Norma

18 Jun 2020

Almost all states have implemented emergency RON, why is CA not accepting it? I would like to know NNA’s viewpoint on this. CA keeps extending our stay at home orders and this virus is NOT dying down. In fact in my area the death and infections are going up, why would our governor not approve RON? Has the NNA intervene for us at the state capital? Or who can we address here in CA? I would love for NNA to give CA notaries a guiding article on this topic. The CA Secretary of State refuses to help us. Does NNA have any comments?

Mary Smith

26 Jul 2020

Haha really ?? This is the stupidest advice. Identify the signer. Give them the paperwork. WAIT OUTSIDE !! Review the docs with a mask and gloves and acknowledge. Do what’s best for your safety !! I will NOT enter people’s house EVER !! It’s not worth MY LIFE.

National Notary Association

29 Jul 2020

Hello. Please be aware that in some states, certain notarial acts require the document to be signed in the Notary's presence while the Notary is watching. Failure to do so could cause the notarization's validity to possibly be questioned or challenged at a later time, depending on the type of notarization and your state's laws. As stated in the article above, the NNA recommends that you decline an assignment if you feel the environment would put your health at risk in any way. Many states have enacted temporary authorizations for Notaries to perform remote notarizations as an alternative to physical meetings to reduce the risk of COVID-19. To see if your state has emergency Notary rules in place, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

randahl

27 Jul 2020

Are lenders accepting signings by notaries with expired licenses that have been extended due to COVID?

National Notary Association

27 Jul 2020

Hello. You should contact the specific lender you are interested in working with to ask if they have any issues or concerns regarding a Notary commission date that has been extended under a state temporary emergency order.

michaelwmcfarland@outlook.com

04 Sep 2020

Opinion: I recently accepted an assignment from a signing agency that stated flat out that the National Notary Association has issued the following guideline: -- REQUIRED: Wear a mask or face covering unless the signer explicitly says you do not need to wear one. When confirming the appointment, let the signer know you will be wearing a mask or face covering. I found nowhere on the NNA website where it states "...unless the signer explicitly says you do not need to wear one." Personally, I find this statement extremely disturbing. By claiming the NNA says to "please use the following precaution", and then says unless the signer explicitly says we don't have to, they are stating the NNA says "it's okay" we as Signing Agents (and notaries) NOT wear masks. That is ***NOT*** what the CDC or local health departments say. Everything I've heard and read is that masks are *required at all times while in public* unless (and this is a HUGE unless in my book) the person has a medical condition making it unsafe to wear a mask. To me, this company's statement about the NNA's precautions is incorrect and if followed, puts us and our families/friends/neighbors in extreme danger of contracting/spreading the virus. Thoughts? Opinions?

National Notary Association

15 Sep 2020

Hello. The only guidelines recommended by the NNA at this time are the ones listed in the article above. We do not know the source for the instructions that Notaries or Signing Agents should remove their masks at a signer's request, as that is not part of the recommendations in the above article. As stated above, the NNA recommends Notaries and Signing Agents follow all federal, state and local guidelines for social distancing, health protection and sanitation when meeting with signers and handling documents.

Zoe Stern

09 Sep 2020

I really think that the fee goes up to at least $5 for Maryland . DC and Va already are . During this virus it cost allot to wipe everything down and supply pens and also having to put ourselves out there to do something that helps but get paid $4 when the other states are $5

Caroline White

10 Sep 2020

Suppose there is someone in a health care facility unable to have visitors unable to come outside what would you suggest to be the process to have paperwork notarized?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2020

Hello. Please see this article for discussion of this topic in different states: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/11/wwyd-answers-quarantined-signer

Amy McIntyre

19 Oct 2020

Great information!

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