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Notary Bulletin
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Where do a signer and Notary have to be located during a remote notarization?

Because remote notarization is still a new process, many people aren't clear how it works — especially regarding where a Notary and signer can be located when the remote notarization takes place.

In this article, we'll look at the basic rules for Notary and signer location when a remote online notarization takes place in states that have adopted permanent laws. Procedures for states that have adopted temporary remote notarization rules may vary. You can find additional details about permanent state rules and guidelines at the NNA Knowledge Center and more information about temporary state remote notarization guidelines in the Notary Bulletin.

Rule 1: The Notary must be physically present in the commissioning state.

With the possible exception of Virginia, every state with permanent remote notarization laws requires the Notary to be physically present within the borders of the commissioning state when performing a remote notarization, just like when performing a traditional pen-and-paper notarization.

For example, a Texas Online Notary authorized to perform remote notarizations can do so while physically located in Texas. But if the Notary travelled to another state or country, the Notary could not perform remote notarizations outside the borders of Texas.

Rule 2: In most cases, the signer does not have to be physically present in the same state as the Notary.

While the Notary must be physically located in the commissioning state during a remote notarization, in most cases, the signer can be located either inside or outside the state when the remote notarization takes place — or even in a different country!

States with special rules

There are a few states that have other special location rules or restrictions for a remote notarization.

In states that have enacted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) provisions for notarizations involving remotely located individuals, two rules come into play. First, Notaries may only perform a notarization for a remotely located individual who is outside the United States if the matter or record involving the remote notarization has a "nexus" with the United States, such as a record relating to a matter before a U.S. court or other government entity, or involving property in a U.S. jurisdiction.

Second, the remote notarization may only be performed if the act is not prohibited in the jurisdiction where the remotely located individual is at the time of the remote notarization. States with these provisions include Washington, Pennsylvania, and Idaho. In Colorado, a Notary must not have knowledge that the remote notarization is prohibited in that jurisdiction.

In West Virginia, Notaries can only perform a remote "ink" notarization for a signer who is located in West Virginia. If the signer is located outside West Virginia, the Notary must be commissioned as an out-of-state commissioner of deeds.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.


Related Articles:

Remote Notarization vs. Traditional Notarization


7 Comments

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Linda S Roche

27 Jun 2021

What does this sentence mean, in the big picture? The article above is talking about certain restrictions in a few states: "In Colorado, a Notary must not have knowledge that the remote notarization is prohibited in that jurisdiction."

National Notary Association

28 Jun 2021

Hello. If the customer requests a remote notarization, and the Notary knows that the request is prohibited in the area where the customer is located, the Notary cannot perform the requested remote notarization.

Linda S Roche

28 Jun 2021

thought so, so the comment is incorrect and should say that "a Notary MUST have knowledge that the remote notarization is prohibited..." and therefore, is responsible for HAVING the knowledge it is wrong, and there fore NOT do it. Do I have it right?

National Notary Association

01 Jul 2021

As stated above, a Colorado Notary may not perform a remote notarization for a signer outside the United States if the Colorado Notary knows that the notarial act is prohibited in the jurisdiction where the signer is located.

john McElhenny

04 Jul 2021

just starting to get into the remote notary did get the training with pavso and the state acknowledged the application to do the notary in Pennsylvania but did not find where I can download ron? can someone let me know thank you john

Chrissy

14 Jul 2021

So I have a client in my state NJ who needs his partner to sign a doc who is in Florida. We are not in Florida btw can I notarize?

National Notary Association

20 Jul 2021

Hello. You would not be able to perform a traditional pen-and-paper notarization unless the signer travelled from Florida to appear in person before you in New Jersey. New Jersey currently has a temporary law in place that allows notaries and authorized officials to execute remote notarial acts during the current public health emergency. For information, please see here: https://www.nj.gov/treasury/revenue/pdf/NotaryPublicManual.pdf#page=14

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