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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


23 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

Mari

31 Aug 2021

In NY, the Executive Order allowing Remote Notarizations, (due to the pandemic), is no longer valid as of June 24, 2021, and notaries public can no longer perform notary services electronically. Are there exceptions to this that the NNA is aware of?

National Notary Association

01 Sep 2021

Hello. No, we are not aware of any exceptions at this time. If there are any changes, we will update the NY section of the article.

jpihlkar@tampabay.rr.com

04 Sep 2021

In FL, I have a person who would like someone to notarize an advance directive, living will and power of attorney. The person is currently in a rehab facility, recovering from COVID. The facility is currently on lockdown because 5 residents came down with COVID; only primary caregivers are allowed in the resident's room. If this person's room has a window, is the notary allowed to witness and notarize signing of the documents (with proper ID, of course, and after verifying that the person signing is not mentally incapacitated). Is there any FL law prohibiting this type of notarization?

National Notary Association

29 Sep 2021

Hello. You can notarize a document through a window as long as you can communicate directly with the signer and have someone to bring the document and journal back and forth between you and the signer.

Brandi

13 Dec 2021

Sorry I'm new so I want to make sure I have this correct. In Idaho I can preform online notaries RON anywhere in the United States as long as the act is not prohibited in the jurisdiction where the remotely located individual is at the time of the remote notarization? If this is correct, how do I find out about prohibited jurisdictions? Plus we can only do outside of United States if the remote notarization has a "nexus" with the United States? Is this correct?

National Notary Association

17 Dec 2021

Hello. An Idaho Notary authorized to perform RONs may notarize for a signer located anywhere in the world. However, when performing the RON, the Notary must be physically located within the borders of Idaho. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/remote-online-notary/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary/idaho

Lisa Carr

28 Feb 2022

Hello! I have a question about Notary. Specifically....I am a Notary in Oregon. We have a client who is currently in Japan. Is there a way to Notarize her signature via Teleconference, or Zoom? Do I need a special endorsement for this? Thank You! Respectfully, Lisa Carr

National Notary Association

11 Mar 2022

Hello. In Oregon, remote notarizations may only be performed by authorized Notaries who have completed a training course and met all state technology requirements. You may not notarize remotely using Zoom or another online meeting app. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/remote-online-notary/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary/oregon

Linda

30 May 2022

I’m commissioned in NY. I’ve received a request to notify a power of attorney for someone purchasing a co-op in NY but he is in England. Two witnesses are required. As I understand it, NY notaries now have permission to conduct remote notarization but I must be in my commissioned state. Can I notarize this document while he is in England and can his wife and I serve as witnesses?

National Notary Association

01 Jun 2022

Hello. New York's temporary remote notarization provisions expired June 25, 2021. Permanent remote notarization laws will not take effect in the state until January 31, 2023.

Katina

27 Sep 2022

Under Rule #1, the first sentence…what exactly is the possible exception for Virginia?

National Notary Association

10 Oct 2022

Hello. Virginia grants its Notaries worldwide jurisdiction for any document intended to be used in Virginia or by the U.S. government (COV 47.1-13[B]; HNP). To ensure your remote notarizations meet the requirements of Virginia law, you should only perform a remote notarization while you are physically located in Virginia. If you are asked to remotely notarize a document intended to be used in Virginia or by the U.S. government while you are physically located outside of Virginia, contact the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Notary Public Division at 1-804-692-2536 to request instructions before proceeding.

Kim

20 Oct 2022

I currently reside in Texas but the company I work for has a physical location in Washington. Can I perform remote notary services for clients in Washington. Follow up question, can I preform remote or in person notary services in Texas?

National Notary Association

21 Oct 2022

Hello. In order to perform remote notarizations in Texas, you must hold an existing TX Notary commission and apply for authorization to notarize remotely. Once you are authorized to perform remote notarizations, you may perform either traditional pen-and-paper notarizations or RONs. Commissioned online Notaries in Texas can perform remote notarizations for a signer in any physical location. However, the Notary must be physically located in the state of Texas at the time of the notarial act. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/remote-online-notary/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary/texas

Stacey

01 Nov 2022

I'm new in being a Notary as well as doing Remote Online Notary (RON) and I want to make sure I understand. I'm am commissioned in Kentucky for Notary and RON, I have a client in California that needs a RON. Am I still able to do the RON? Basically, my question is can I do a RON to anyone who is in a State that does not allow RON in that state, like California

National Notary Association

02 Nov 2022

Hello. Kentucky Notaries must be physically located in the state to perform remote notarizations, but their signers may be located elsewhere — inside or outside of the state border. While California does not authorize its Notaries to perform remote notarizations, there is nothing prohibiting a CA signer from requesting a remote notarization performed by a Notary authorized in a different state.

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