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States Take Emergency Action On Remote Notarization And Signers’ ID

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Developing story, Updated 3-30-20 with new information for Alabama, Colorado and Maryland.
In response to the coronavirus emergency, numerous states have put in place emergency measures to help Notaries to carry out their duties. The NNA is receiving heavy call volume from Notaries asking about Remote Online Notarization (RON). Please refer to this frequently updated article for guidance, or our RON overview article, before calling.


For more details about the each of the state emergency actions, visit the NNA’s State Notary Laws Updates page and select your state. Here is a complete list of states where remote notarizations can be performed. Also, please note that you must follow any guidelines set by your state to perform RON.Services such as Skype or Facetime may not be used as a replacement for RON technology guidelines mandated by state emergency orders.

Alabama Allows Video Notarizations For Attorneys, Supervised Notaries

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has issued an executive order permitting attorney-Notaries and Notaries who work under the supervision of an attorney to notarize using videoconferencing in lieu of personal appearance. The order assumes the document will be executed on paper and sent to the Notary, who will then complete the required certificate wording with the date the Notary, signatory and any witnesses appeared before each other using videoconferencing technology. The order is in full force and effect until the public health emergency brought on by COVID-19 is rescinded or extended by another proclamation by the Governor.

Arizona ‘Defers’ Driver’s License Expiration Dates

The Arizona Governor issued Executive Order 2020-08 ordering the state Department of Transportation to defer for 6 months the renewal requirement for people with driver’s licenses and driving permits set to expire between March 1 and September 1 of this year. Law enforcement, state agencies and county and local governments must accept these IDs for the 6-month period.

The Arizona Secretary of State’s office confirmed to the NNA that Arizona Notaries may accept as identification for a notarial act a driver’s license covered under the Governor’s Executive Order.

Colorado Authorizes RON Through April 27

Under a Colorado executive order effective March 27, the physical presence requirement for notarizations in Colorado has been suspended and the Secretary of State has been authorized to issue temporary emergency rules for remote online notarization through at least April 27, 2020. However, election-related documents such as circulator petitions and voting petitions may not be notarized using RON.

This information will be updated when the Secretary of State’s office issues its emergency rules for RON.

Connecticut Temporarily Allows Remote Notarization

The Connecticut Governor has issued an executive order permitting any notarization to be completed “using an electronic device or process that allows a notary public and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound.” The measure is “effective through June 23, 2020, unless modified, extended or terminated by” the Governor.

There are a number of conditions that must be met to perform a remote notarization. They include:

  • The signer must be personally known to the Notary or musts present satisfactory evidence of identity at the time of the notarization.
  • The Notary must record the complete notarial act and keep the recording for at least 10 years.
  • The signer must affirm that they are physically located within Connecticut.
  • The signer must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the date it was executed.
  • The Notary Public may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the signer by fax or electronic means.

For a complete list of conditions and requirements, please review the executive order.

Florida Supreme Court Expands Remote Notarization

Florida last year enacted a law authorizing remote online notarization, which went into effect on January 1 this year. Under the law, Notaries must complete a training course and register to perform online notarizations.

However, in response to the state of emergency declared by the Florida governor, the state Supreme Court issued an administrative order allowing any Florida Notary to administer oaths for court proceedings remotely using audio-video technology. Specifically:

  • Notaries in the State of Florida may swear a witness remotely by audio-video communication technology from a location within the State of Florida, provided they can positively identify the witness.
  • If a witness is not located within the State of Florida, a witness may consent to being put on oath via audio-video communication technology.
  • All rules of procedure, court orders, and opinions applicable to remote testimony, depositions, and other legal testimony — including the attestation of family law forms — that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-video communications equipment to administer oaths remotely or to witness the attestation of family law forms, are hereby suspended, and will remain suspended until March 27, unless extended.

Georgia Extends Driver’s License Expiration Dates 

The Governor of Georgia announced an emergency measure extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by the state Department of Driver Services (DDS) for 60 days. The measure covers such IDs that expire between March 23 and June 30.

According to the state’s announcement, “Notices will be mailed, and new cards will be printed and mailed directly to customers.” Last week, an extension was provided for approximately 36,000 customers age 60 and older with a valid license or ID with an expiration date from March through June 30, 2020.

Eligible types include ID cards, commercial (CDL) and non-commercial driver’s licenses, limited permits, driving permits, Medical Certifications and CDL endorsements.

Illinois Temporarily Approves RON

The Illinois Governor issued an executive order permitting remote online notarization as long as the Notary and signer are both physically located in the state at the time if the notarization, and the notarization “follows the guidance posted by the Illinois Secretary of State.” The executive order is in force as long as the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation is in force.

Here are key provisions of the executive order and guidance:

  • The remote notarial act must be done by two-way, real time audio-video communication that allows for direct interaction between the notary and the signer.
  • Signer must attest that they are physically in Illinois and state what they are signing.
  • The resolution of the audio-video connection must be of sufficient quality for the notary to properly examine the signer’s identification credentials.
  • A recording of the remote notarization must be retained by the notary for at least 3 years.
  • The signer must show the Notary each and every page of the document being signed. The signer also should initial each page to ensure that the document is complete.
  • The signer must fax or send by electronic means the signed document requiring notarization to the Notary no later than the day, and the Notary must send the completed notarized document back to the signer by fax or electronic means within 24 hours.

Notaries may use an electronic or remote notarization platform that meets industry standards and each of the requirements provided by the Governor’s Executive Order.

Iowa Temporarily Allows Remote Notarization

The Iowa Governor signed a proclamation that includes a provision temporarily suspending the requirement for signers to physically appear before the Notary as long as the signer is present in way that permits them see, hear and interact with the Notary by electronic means and that complies with section 6 of 2019 Iowa Acts chapter 44 (Senate File 475). This new law, which takes effect on July 1, allows Iowa Notaries to permanently perform remote online notarizations.

Maryland Extends Driver’s Licenses, Notary Commission Expiration Dates

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued an executive order extending the expiration date of driver’s licenses and active Notary commissions to 30 days after the state of emergency is rescinded.

Under this executive order, Notaries may accept a driver’s license that expired during the emergency period as proof of a signer’s identity until the 30th day after the emergency is lifted. Maryland Notaries must track the duration of the coronavirus emergency orders in their state, because they will not be able to accept expired licenses as proof of identity after this grace period ends.

Because many state offices are currently closed due to the pandemic, the commission expiration date of all active Maryland Notaries has been extended until 30 days after the date the state of emergency is officially lifted to ensure Notaries will still be able to perform their duties for the duration of the current crisis.

New Hampshire Okays Emergency Remote Notarization

The New Hampshire Governor has issued Executive Order 2020-04 #11 permitting the state’s Notaries and all notarial officers to perform remote notarizations for the duration of the State of Emergency.

To perform a remote notarization:

  • The Notary and signer must be able to see and communicate with each other simultaneously.
  • The signer must be identified through either personal knowledge; 2 types of third-party identity verification systems; or a credible identifying witness.
  • An audio-visual record of the notarization is kept for as long as the Notary is commissioned.

For a complete list of provisions and requirements, review the Executive Order.

New York Remote Notarization Executive Order

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing notarizations using audio-video technology in place of physical appearance under certain conditions. This option allows New York Notaries and signers to practice the necessary “social distancing” required to reduce risk of contracting COVID-19. The order is in effect through April 18, 2020.

To use audiovisual technology to communicate during the notarization, the Notary and signer must comply with the following requirements:

  • The person seeking the Notary's services, if not personally known to the Notary, must present valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference. The signer may not present ID prior to or after the notarization.
  • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the Notary (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing).
  • The person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically located in the State of New York.
  • The person must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed. 
  • The Notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the person.
  • The Notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the Notary receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within thirty days after the date of execution.

North Dakota Issues Guidance For Remote Notarization

North Dakota law allows Notaries commissioned in the state to perform Remote Online Notarization (RON). The Secretary of State’s office issued guidance this week regarding what Notaries must do to begin performing RONs.

The Notary must provide the following information to the Secretary of State’s office:

  1. Notice that the Notary will be performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals.
  2. The name of the remote notarization service provider they will use for RON. 

This information may be provided by e-mail to sosaccnot@nd.gov, by fax to (701) 328-0107, or by letter to North Dakota Secretary of State, 600 E Boulevard Avenue, Dept 108, Bismarck ND 58505-0500.

Here are some of the companies that provide RON solutions. (NOTE: This is not a complete list of providers, and the Secretary of State’s office does not endorse any provider. Nor does it require one be selected from the list.)

When selecting a RON solution provider, Notaries must make sure that the provider can and will comply with all North Dakota legal requirements because not all solutions do. For example, a provider may have technology that satisfies the personal appearance requirement using communication technology, but it may not record and retain the audiovisual recording for ten years as required by state law.

Any questions regarding RON may be emailed to sosaccnot@nd.gov.

Pennsylvania Permits RONs For Court Reporter-Notaries, Some Real Estate Transactions

The Pennsylvania Department of State announced the suspension of the requirement for Notaries who are court reporters/stenographers participating in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings to be physically present during the notarization. The suspension will continue for the duration of the state’s declared disaster emergency.

Current Pennsylvania law requires notarial acts, including electronic notarizations, to be done in the physical presence of the notary. The Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association has been substantially impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court also issued an order declaring a statewide judicial emergency. As a result, depositions, arbitrations, hearings and many other proceedings are being cancelled. However, they could be held via phone conference, videoconference or web deposition if a court reporter is able to participate remotely.

In addition, the Governor has approved a waiver temporarily suspending the personal appearance requirement in current state law to allow Notaries to carry out their duties remotely for the following real estate transactions:

  • Personal real estate transactions that were already in process when the disaster emergency was declared. For example, an agreement of sale had been completed for the residential property and only the closing for the transaction remained.
  • All commercial real estate transactions, including those already in process as well as new transactions.

All Notaries who want to use audio-visual technology as an alternative to personal appearance must:

  1. Become an approved Pennsylvania electronic notary by submitting a free application.
  2. Use an e-notary solution already approved by the Department that offers remote notarization technology.
  3. Indicate in the notary certificate that the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology. The following statement will satisfy that requirement: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

RON providers approved by the Department:

  • DocVerify  (for general use)
  • Safe-Docs (for general use)
  • Pavaso (for title companies and other real-estate transactions)

Notaries must execute all notarial acts in accordance with all other requirements of state law.

Texas ‘Revises’ Signer ID Requirements

Texas Department of Public Safety announced that it is extending the expiration date of Texas identification cards, driver’s licenses, commercial driver’s licenses, commercial license permits or election identification certificates for the duration of the Governor’s declaration of State Disaster plus 60 days after the Department issues public notice that the extension period for this disaster declaration has been lifted. This applies to the above identification documents set to expire on or after March 13, 2020.

In other words, any of these ID documents with expiration dates of March 13, 2020, or later are still considered valid and current for 60 days after the State of Disaster is lifted.

For example, if the disaster declaration is lifted on April 20, a driver’s license with a March 25, 2020, expiration date would still be considered valid until June 19. Because Texas Notaries may only a current, state or federal government-issued identification document as proof of identity, this card would be acceptable until June 19.

Here are some steps to follow when accepting an ID covered under the Department of Public Safety’s order:

  • Confirm the expiration and not the issuance date on the ID. A Texas driver license and identification card shows both. The issuance date appears in black and the expiration date opposite it in red.
  • Keep apprised of the status of the disaster declaration of State Disaster and watch for the Department’s further public notice that normal operations have resumed.
  • Do not apply the Department’s extension to any other ID not mentioned in the public notice.
  • Note in the journal entry that the ID presented was extended by the Department of Public Safety’s March 18, 2020 public notification.

Vermont Permits Remote Notarization Of Paper Documents 

Vermont enacted a law in 2018 authorizing remote online notarization. However, the law did not allow remote online notarizations to be performed until the Secretary of State published rules to implement the new law.

The Vermont Secretary of State issued an emergency administrative rules permitting signers and Notaries to satisfy the personal appearance requirement via a secure communication link. However, the emergency rules only apply to paper documents and “do not permit electronic notarization or remote online notarization of electronic documents.”

In order to perform a notarization in this manner:

  • The signer must be in Vermont.
  • The Notary must verify the signer’s identity either through personal knowledge, a credible witness or 2 different types if identification presented by the signer.
  • The notarization must be “performed on a tangible (paper) record” either sent to the Notary in its original paper form or transmitted electronically and printed out by the Notary.
  • The notarial certificate must be hand-written, imprinted by a stamp or embosser, or both on the document.
  • The Notary — or a person acting on their behalf — a must create an audio-visual recording of the notarization and retain it for at least 7 years.

For a complete set of requirements, review the rules on the Secretary’s website, which also includes COVID-19 guidance.

Washington State Temporarily Makes RON Law Effective

The Washington Governor issued a Proclamation regarding the delayed effective date of Senate Bill 5641, which authorized notarial acts to be performed for remotely located individuals. The new law was supposed to take effect on October 1, 2020, but the emergency Proclamation makes the new law effective temporarily from March 27, 2020, through midnight of April 26, 2020.

The Director of Licensing has not yet adopted rules for remote notarization. As soon as permanent or emergency rules are published, we will update this article.

Wisconsin Designates Remote Notarization Providers

Wisconsin enacted Assembly Bill 293 on March 5 authorizing Notaries in the state to perform remote online notarizations. The law is set, which goes into effect on May 1, also gives the state Department of Financial Institutions authority to make emergency regulations to implement its provisions.

The Department of Financial Institutions last week issued emergency guidance immediately authorizing remote notarization in the state.

The Department has approved 5 remote notarization service providers: Notarize.com and NotaryCam, which provide remote notary services to the general public; and Pavaso, DocVerify or Nexsys, which provide them for title companies and other real-estate transactions.

Notaries who wish to perform remote notarizations need to go one of these providers and take their training to use their platforms. Once the Notary completes the training with one of the approved providers, the provider will inform the Department, and the Notary can begin performing remote online notarizations using the provider’s platform.

This article will be updated as other states issue guidance.

Congress Considering Remote Notarization Bill

U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) have introduced the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020” that would authorize remote online notarizations nationwide.

The Notary Bulletin is following the bill and will update our community with any important developments.

 

 

62 Comments

Add your comment

Tabatha Ledford

25 Mar 2020

Any updates regarding Alabama?

National Notary Association

25 Mar 2020

Hello. We do not have any new Alabama information at this time. However, if we receive any, we will update our information in the Bulletin as soon as possible.

Lisa

25 Mar 2020

Lets GO MO!!! (Missouri)

Derek Jensen

25 Mar 2020

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has immediately allowed for the use of electronic/remote notarization, with specific conditions authorized in Senate Bill 5641 (originally slated to go into effect Oct. 1, 2020). see: http://wsba2.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0yOTEzNzY4JnA9MSZ1PTM3Mjk4OTA5OCZsaT0yMzExMzYxNw/index.html

National Notary Association

26 Mar 2020

Hello Derek. Thank you for sharing this. We've added the new information for Washington to this article (https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization) and will update with more information as state officials release it.

Brenda L Valdez

25 Mar 2020

Any info in Massachusetts

National Notary Association

26 Mar 2020

Hello. We do not have information on special rules issued for Massachusetts at this time. However, the situation is very fluid and if we receive word about any changes, we will update our coverage in the Bulletin to let you know as soon as possible.

Ernesto Leandro

26 Mar 2020

Any updates regarding California. Are they approving California to do (RON)?

National Notary Association

26 Mar 2020

Hello. Not at this time, however, the situation is very fluid and if we receive information about any changes, we will update our coverage in the Bulletin to let you know as soon as possible.

Louise Wilkeson

26 Mar 2020

Checking on the state of Virginia

National Notary Association

26 Mar 2020

Hello. Virginia has existing rules in place authorizing Notaries to apply to perform remote online notarizations. You can find more information here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/06/remote-notarization-what-you-need-to-know. Also Virginia has extended the pickup date for some Notary commissions between January and February 2020-announcement is here: https://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/notary-commissions/

Lisa

26 Mar 2020

Lets GO MO!!! (Missouri)

Latricia Glass

26 Mar 2020

Any information about Alabama

National Notary Association

26 Mar 2020

Hello. We have no new Alabama information at this time, but please continue to watch the Bulletin for updates as this has been a rapidly developing situation and we will continue to update our articles with new details as we receive them.

Christina

26 Mar 2020

Hoping that Delaware makes an announcement soon!

Rose Lilliette Benefield

26 Mar 2020

What about the state of South Carolina?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello. We have not received word of any new special Notary guidelines for South Carolina at this time. If we receive any new information, we will update our coverage here in the Bulletin as soon as possible.

Randy Lazarus

26 Mar 2020

What is the update for CA?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello. For the most recent information received for California, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/ca-sos-notaries-work-special-order. If we receive any new California information, we will update our coverage here as soon as possible.

Linda

27 Mar 2020

Anything on NJ? Also any guidance on whether this would be acceptable for a Will sigining?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello, Linda. We should have more information available later today. Please check this article for updates: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization. We apologize for any inconvenience-we are working to get updates published as fast as we can, but there have been a tremendous number of emergency orders issued in the past 48 hours by different states, and we are working through getting them confirmed and published as soon as possible.

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello, Linda. Regarding your question about New Jersey, we understand that there is new legislation moving forward but it has not yet been enacted. As soon as any new laws or orders are enacted, we will update our New Jersey readers with more information.

Mitzi Juarez

27 Mar 2020

What about Indiana?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello. We have no new information on Indiana at this time, but will update our coverage here in the Bulletin if we receive any changes in your state's situation.

Nancy Mosher

27 Mar 2020

Michigan remote yet?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello. Not at present. However, we are monitoring the progress of the proposed federal bill and other state emergency guidelines for Notaries and will update our readers as the situation develops.

Randall C. Chafin

27 Mar 2020

Anything new from the Great State of Ohio, a state which recently changed and increased cost of notarial public certificates and renewals?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello. Not at present, but should that change we will update our articles to let you know.

Golden Gate Mobile Notary & Apostille

27 Mar 2020

We haven't heard anything yet in California. While people are certainly asking on the daily, we cannot yet legally perform RON in our State. Cheers, Golden Gate Mobile Notary & Apostille Ph: 415-318-0163 W: https://www.goldengatenotary.net E: kyle@goldengatenotary.net

Craig

29 Mar 2020

You’ve left out OnlineNotary.net also available for general use.

Jose

30 Mar 2020

You forgot New Jersey!!

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. We are monitoring the situation in New Jersey and will update our coverage with more information as it becomes available.

Maya Joseph

30 Mar 2020

Are there any updates on New Jersey?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. Not yet, however we are monitoring the situation in New Jersey and will update our coverage with more information as it becomes available.

Davida Benson

30 Mar 2020

Are there any updates for Delaware?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. We have not received any new information for Delaware at this time, but should that change, we will update our coverage as soon as possible.

Reagan

30 Mar 2020

After the Texas Governor extended ID's Expiration dates; I call the Texas Secretary of State's office for clarification. They explained that while they would not reprimand a notary for accepting the expired ID; they did have concerns at to weather it was in fact a valid notary. Notary rules are established by our legislation not the governor's office; therefore, a Judge could rule that the notary service was not valid.

Mitzi Juarez

30 Mar 2020

Any updates for Indiana?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. Not at this time, but if we receive any we will update our coverage in the Bulletin as soon as possible.

Thomas

30 Mar 2020

Any information about Tennessee?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. No new information at present; however should we receive any Tennessee updates we will add them to our Notary coverage as soon as possible.

Jeanette

30 Mar 2020

Is RON legal in Missouri? If so, is there any special documentation to submit?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. No, RON is not legal in Missouri at this time. However, if we receive any news about new emergency rules changes in the state, we will update our coverage to let our readers know as soon as we can.

Judy

30 Mar 2020

What is the status on this for Arizona?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Please see the information for Arizona in the article above.

Patsy Latin

30 Mar 2020

Any update for RON in Louisiana? SOS is not responding. Thanks!

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2020

Hello. We're sorry, we've received no new information about Louisiana at this time, but if that changes we will let our readers know as soon as possible.

Brittany Cacciottoli

30 Mar 2020

Can a notary who is licensed in IL and MO, but resides in IL notarize a MO deed remotely with the new law? We are closing on a house in MO but currently live in IL and would like a way to sign the MO documents remotely.

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. The Illinois executive order requires the IL Notary and any signers to be physically located in the state of Illinois at the time of notarization and follow all other guidelines in the order.

Lori

30 Mar 2020

Have you heard anything on Colorado? I thought it was supposed to come out today.

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. We have just updated this article with new information from Colorado.

Rhonda Shrum

31 Mar 2020

Anything for Oklahoma?

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2020

Hello. Oklahoma has authorized Notaries to perform remote notarizations. Please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/answers-urgent-questions-notaries-ron

Luis Borunda

31 Mar 2020

For updates in the State of Maryland please contact Assistant Secretary of State Kathy Smith at kathleen.smith1@maryland.gov

Mark L. Volz

31 Mar 2020

So, in New York State, how does a Notary make sure "...person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically located in the State of New York." ?

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2020

Hello. For example, during the notarization, the signer can say to you, "Yes, I am physically located within the state of New York."

Audrey

31 Mar 2020

Any word on whether the District of Columbia will provide for RON?

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2020

Hello. Not at present, but if this changes we will notify our readers as soon as possible.

Carol King

31 Mar 2020

We need RON in California for a Power of Attorney for hospitalized patient. Can out of State notary do this, since California doesn't allow?

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2020

Hello. Please see information from the CA Secretary of State's office on this topic here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/ca-sos-notaries-work-special-order

Hollie Barker

31 Mar 2020

Any updates for California? We have heard some counties are allowing.

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2020

Hello. The most recent information for CA can be found here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/ca-sos-notaries-work-special-order

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