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How Illinois enacted its sweeping new Notary laws

Illinois flag with 'New Illinois Notary Laws' text

Sweeping revisions in the law that will change how Notaries apply for a commission and perform notarizations in the Prairie State took effect on June 5, 2023. The revisions are the most forward-looking and far-reaching new laws to take effect in decades.

Over the next several weeks, The National Notary Bulletin will publish a series of articles to help Illinois Notaries understand and comply with these new laws. This article looks at the legislative process that produced Illinois’s most comprehensive new Notary laws since 1986.

How Illinois Notaries and lawmakers got here

The new Notary laws were several years in the making. It started in 2017 when remote notarization was still a new and unproven concept. Like chefs that would test pasta by throwing it against the wall to see if it’s fully cooked, the Notary community was waiting to see what would become of this new approach to notarization. Back then, only Virginia and Montana had enacted remote notarization laws. Fortunately, the spaghetti did stick. First Texas and then Nevada passed remote notarization laws in early 2017, opening the floodgates for over 40 states to follow in the coming years.

Illinois took a more cautious approach. In August 2017, it enacted Senate Bill 1459. Senate Bill 1459 established an Illinois electronic notarization task force to study the issue. Two years later, the task force submitted its final report to the Illinois General Assembly.

The task force recommendations resulted in the enactment of Senate Bill 2664 on July 23, 2021. The NNA was expecting Senate Bill 2664 to be a major remote notarization bill. It was that and much, much more. The new law also:

  • Set new requirements for Illinois Notary commission applicants.
  • Authorized the Secretary of State to require Notary commission applicants to take a course of study.
  • Established a mandatory Notary journal requirement.
  • Raised the fees Notaries could charge.
  • Added penalties for certain offenses.

But it was remote notarization that was the main focus. Senate Bill 2664 created two types of remote notarization. “Remote notarization” is the term used to describe the “remote ink notarizations” that were temporarily performed on paper documents during the COVID-19 pandemic; now they are permanently authorized. “Electronic notarization” is a remote notarization performed on electronic documents using electronic signatures and electronic Notary seals. The Illinois Secretary of State has told the NNA that “electronic notarization” refers to “in-person electronic notarizations” (IPEN) as well.

There was one catch. Most of Senate Bill 2664 would take effect only after the Secretary of State adopted rules to implement the new laws. Notaries would have to wait longer for the remote notarization, journal, education, and other provisions of Senate Bill 2664 to be realized.

The administrative rules process

Illinois officials next turned to rules for performing these notarizations. The rulemaking process began with the Secretary of State publishing rules for comment on April 15, 2022. These “first notice” rules were over 100 pages long and covered Notary commissions, education course and examination provider certification, journals, Notary seals, electronic notarization system provider certification, administrative hearings, remote and electronic notarization, and more.

A 45-day public comment period followed. Many organizations, including the NNA, submitted comments. Illinois disseminated “second notice” rules incorporating the public comments late last fall. The rules then went to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) of the Illinois General Assembly for a review and hearing. The JCAR objected to the rules, saying the public needed more time to comment.

So, the Secretary of State withdrew the rules and started the process again. The state delayed implementing the statutes and rules while they worked on these issues. Eventually, the Secretary’s office submitted its revised rules to the JCAR, which were approved. The Secretary of State set June 5, 2023 as the date when all the new laws and rules would finally take effect.

It took Illinois nearly six years, but now these new Notary changes are officially the law of the Land of Lincoln.

The Path Forward

Stay tuned for upcoming articles that will dig deeper into changes to how Illinois Notaries will perform their duties under the new laws and rules. The articles will cover the following topics:

  • Rules for keeping a journal of notarial acts
  • Requirements for Notary Public and Electronic Notary Public commissions
  • Standards for performing traditional notarizations
  • Principles for performing remote and electronic notarizations

Bill Anderson is Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Notary Association.


Add your comment

Frankie Lloyd

29 Jun 2023

I have read that a new law will be starting July 1, 2023 here in my state of Illinois . Is there something new that will required for this new law? If so will you (NNA) provide the training for the requirements ?

National Notary Association

30 Jun 2023

Hello. Starting Monday, July 3, we will be publishing a series of articles in The National Notary Bulletin each Monday with information on the new Illinois Notary laws and the changes they are making.

Rene Weston

03 Jul 2023

Looking for to the new rules

Emma Grundon

05 Jul 2023

After reading 5 ILCS 312/1-101 Short Title/ Illinois Notary Public Act, I am curious if a remote notary that is properly licensed in Illinois as a remote notary could remotely notarize an affidavit for a person in another state. The affidavit would be filed in Illinois and the remote notary would be located in Illinois at the time of the notarization, but the person signing the affidavit would be in another state such as Ohio. Would that be valid? My only reservation is section 6-102.5 subsection b(3) Remote notarial acts. that states "the signatory must attest to being physically located in Illinois during the two-way audio video communication." This makes it appear that the signatory has to be in Illinois, but states that "The signer can be in any location, but the Notary must be physically present within the State at the time of the act."

National Notary Association

12 Jul 2023

Hello. Yes, the signer must be in Illinois even though it is a remote Notarization.

Gina V Driskell

10 Jul 2023

Thanks to NNA for keeping Illinois up to date on laws affecting our line of work. The information so far has been extremely helpful.

National Notary Association

11 Jul 2023

Thanks Gina, we're glad you are finding the articles helpful. We will continue to publish articles this month with more information about the new Illinois Notary law changes.

Todd H Klein

11 Jul 2023

Does the new rules apply to every type of notary? There are many which are used for non real estate purposes, very benign situations. TK

National Notary Association

12 Jul 2023

Hello. The new state laws apply to all Notaries commissioned in Illinois.

Dyona Tramel

11 Jul 2023

Thanks! That is good news!

Jonathan Re

18 Jul 2023

Does a notary need to record - in a journal - all instances of "in-person" notarization of documents?

National Notary Association

18 Jul 2023

Hello. Illinois Notaries must record a journal entry for each notarization they perform.

Kimberly Martin

31 Jul 2023

How will you be able to verify if the signer is in the same state when conducting a remote notarization?

National Notary Association

04 Aug 2023

Please see here for more information:

Pam C

11 Aug 2023

If I am notarizing the same persons signature over and over, the principal of our company, do I need to keep these in the journal as well?

National Notary Association

29 Aug 2023

Hello. Please see this article for guidelines on abbreviating Notary journal entries for the same customer in Illinois:

04 Sep 2023

What is the state requirement training for RON? It is almost impossible to put all this pieces together. What form do i need to file with SOS and how can i increase my insurance? Thank you

National Notary Association

05 Sep 2023

Hello. Please see here for requirements to perform remote notarizations in Illinois:

Don Summers

13 Oct 2023

Do I need a photo ID from the signer for it to be notarized in the state of Illinois?

National Notary Association

16 Oct 2023

Hello. In Illinois, “A notary public has satisfactory evidence that a person is the person whose true signature is on a document if that person: “(1) is personally known to the notary; “(2) is identified upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the notary; or “(3) is identified on the basis of identification documents. Identification documents are documents that are valid at the time of the notarial act, issued by a state agency, federal government agency, or consulate, and bearing the photographic image of the individual’s face and signature of the individual” (5 ILCS 312/6-102[d]).

Frank Fletcher-Broucek

26 Oct 2023

Hello NNA. This past Oct. 16, I attended a political mtg. in DuPage Cty. Here, County and State candidates desire to be on the March 19, 2024, Primary ballot. Petitions for election have been distributed in early September. Candidates and their campaign members have already gathered signatures due in December. Three commissioned Notaries were present and were handed many completed petitions to notarize which they did all evening. I sat among them. I have read the 106 page Illinois law. I asked all three if they will do the journal entries after the first of the year as they were not recording anything in mid October. All the documents to be notarized were already signed; no journal entries; no fees collected. No proofs of identification were requested. No one knew of new notary law changes. Petitions were being signed and stamped as quickly as possible. So it seems to me that your NNA office should write the State of Illinois and insist that Illinois notaries study and perform according to their new summer 2023 laws because in that room I was the only one knowing anything about the new law.


29 Feb 2024

When using a Remote Notary from Florida on the platform does the Guarantor for an Illinois Deed have to be physically in the state of Illinois?

National Notary Association

04 Mar 2024

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Karla Hayes

13 Jun 2024

is there a handbook or pamphlet that could be purchased with the laws?

National Notary Association

14 Jun 2024

Hello. The NNA has an Illinois Notary Primer which can be purchased here:

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