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New Mexico Notaries prepare for a wave of law changes

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State lawmakers voted in favor of the most significant Notary law changes New Mexico has seen in years. Starting on January 1, 2022, Notaries in New Mexico can expect changes ranging from new requirements for getting a Notary Public commission to new acts and services you can offer, a new journal requirement, and changes to the official Notary stamp. These new laws were enacted by Senate Bill 12 earlier this year. This fall, the Secretary of State adopted administrative rules to implement the new statutes. Before we get into the details, it's worth mentioning that the new law shifts the responsibility for commissioning Notaries from the Governor to the Secretary of State. The law also changes oversight of Notaries from the Governor to the State Ethics Commission. Amid this sea of change, several questions don't yet have answers, but we will update this article when the state provides clarifications or new information.

Notary training and exam

The Secretary — or a third party approved by the Secretary — will offer a course of study that all new applicants must take. The training will cover the new laws, rules, and any additional procedures Notaries need to know about. The exam will be based on the course and you must score 80% or higher to pass. Your provider will issue a proof of completion certificate that must be included with your Notary commission application.

If you're a current Notary, you'll need to take the state-required training and exam when you renew your commission. If the Secretary of State has a record that you previously passed the exam, you are not required to re-take the training and exam unless:

  • It's been more than one year since your prior commission expired,
  • Or the Secretary determines that substantial changes were made to the statutes or rules pertaining to Notary practices since your last application date.

Journal of Notarial Acts

Notary journals are now required for all notarizations. A Notary may choose to keep a tangible (paper) or electronic journal. Paper journal entries must be made in a permanent, bound journal with numbered pages. An electronic journal must be a permanent, tamper-evident format complying with rules adopted by the Secretary of State. Journal entries, whether performed on paper or electronic records, must be kept sequentially. You'll also need to retain your journal(s) for at least 10 years after the last notarial act was recorded, or transmit them to the Secretary of State, the State Records Officer, or a repository approved by the Secretary of State.

Notary stamp

All Notaries must use an official stamp that complies with the new laws starting January 1, 2022. This includes Notaries with Notary commissions in effect, and Notary seals issued, under the law in force prior to January 1, 2022. For Notaries Public, the required elements on an official Notary stamp have been simplified to only include: your name, your commission number, your commission expiration date and the words, "Notary Public" and "State of New Mexico." For all other notarial officers who are not Notaries Public, the official stamp must include the words, "Notarial Officer" and "State of New Mexico." The new official stamp must be in 10-point type and cannot include an image of the New Mexico state seal. If you are applying for a Notary commission on or after January 1, 2022, you'll need to submit an image of your seal to the Secretary of State before performing your first notarial act. Notaries with commissions in effect on January 1, 2022 have until June 1, 2022, to file the image of your new official stamp. You may want to order your new stamp early, so you won't miss any opportunities to provide your Notary services in January.

New Mexico Notary seal requirements

New notarial act and certificates

Notaries are authorized to perform a new form of copy certification. The new law allows a Notary to certify as a true copy a paper printout of an electronic record.

New Mexico requires Notaries to complete a notarial certificate at the time of the notarization. The following elements must be included in each notarial certificate:

  • The jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed
  • The title of the notarial officer
  • The Notary Public's commission number and date of expiration of the Notary's commission

The new law has repealed the statutory certificate forms for each notarial act and replaced them with new certificate forms. You can find the new short form certificates on the New Mexico Secretary of State website. If you're an NNA member, you can access these certificates for free in your account.

Remote online notarization

New Mexico also authorized remote online notarization (RON). Before you get started, you must apply to the Secretary of State and include the name of the communication technology approved by the Secretary you want to use. You'll also need to take a separate training class and pass a separate exam on remote online notarization. You must get an electronic seal and a digital certificate and provide a sample of your seal to the Secretary. You can learn more about becoming a remote online Notary in New Mexico in this step-by-step guide.

Commission qualifications

New Mexico now requires applicants for a Notary commission to either be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents of the U.S. Non-residents of New Mexico may now apply for a Notary Public commission. Non-residents must have a place of employment within the state.

All Notaries must continue to hold a $10,000 Notary bond and take an oath of office.

Rachel Fraser is the Content Marketing Specialist at the National Notary Association.

View All: Laws & Regulations

3 Comments

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Mary Jo Motgomery

04 Jan 2022

I lost my notecard about having to take Notary training. Can I still take the notary training? How can I get a new seal? THank you. My current notary expires on May 12, 2022 (#1093402).

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2022

Hello. If you are taking your training through the NNA, please contact our Customer Care team at services@nationalnotary.org and they should be able to assist you.

RHETHA MINGS

13 Jan 2022

WHAT WEBSITE DO I GO TO FOR THE TRAINING?

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