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New California remote notarization law may take effect in 2030 — or later

A flag of California

A new California law will eventually authorize California Notaries to perform remote online notarizations — but not until the bill takes effect, which could take several years.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 696 into law as Chapter 291 of the Laws of 2023 on September 30. However, online notarizations cannot be performed in the Golden State until the California Secretary of State completes its technology project to implement the new laws or by January 1, 2030, whichever comes first.

However, on January 1, 2029, if the Secretary is not ready to meet the January 1, 2030, implementation date, it can report back to the Legislature and Governor and the implementation date could be extended past January 1, 2030.

What to expect when SB 696 goes into effect

When the new law finally takes effect, California Notaries will have the option to perform remote notarizations if they meet the following requirements:

  • Register to perform online notarizations with the California Secretary of State.
  • Take a 2-hour course and pass an examination on online notarization.
  • Use an enhanced multi-factor means of identifying individuals appearing remotely for an online notarization.
  • Keep both a tangible (paper) and an electronic journal of each online notarization.
  • Maintain an audio-video recording of each online notarization.
  • Use only approved online notarization platforms to perform online notarizations.

Senate Bill 696 also contains robust personal information and consumer protections, rigorous approval standards for platform providers, requirements for remote online notarization platforms that use Notaries of other states to perform remote online notarizations for Californians located in the Golden State, and provisions ensuring that notarial and online notarial acts performed elsewhere will be legally recognized in California.

Why will it take so long for the law to take effect?

While Senate Bill 696 ensures California has formally approved online notarizations in its laws, it still may be the last state to practically implement them. Three other states — Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina — have yet to enact their own laws, and a few others have not yet put their own laws into effect. It is very possible that these remaining states will have their laws in place and operational before California’s law is implemented.

It’s likely that “clean-up” legislation next year will address remaining issues that did not make it into Senate Bill 696. After that, the Secretary of State will draft and adopt rules and regulations on several matters required by the new law.

The NNA will continue to monitor remote notarization developments in California and update our readers as more information becomes available.

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


Add your comment


30 Oct 2023

Would this allow notaries from different states to do RON or just for CA notaries?

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2023

Hello. The California law only addresses Notaries commissioned in California. The law does not address remote notarizations performed by Notaries in states outside of California. You can find information on other state RON procedures and requirements here:

S. F. Bastow

30 Oct 2023

Shall be interesting to see how SB696 with the audio/video recordings will work, when a typical loan signing package has on average 4 documents for notarization ie: Deed of trust, signature name affidavit: compliance agreement: occupancy statement, and I could list a dozen others. With privacy laws, will my recording device be subject to seizure the same as my journal? Hopefully not the device but just the hard drive section it is stored in. Also with the increased allocation of time required to complete both paper and digital journals the cost for the ability to perform a remote notarization for the convenience of there's should be at the signers expense not ours. Might I suggest that for California fees be $15 per notarization X 2 (paper & digital) for each double notarization. Seems fair! What say you?

Bryan Ponce

30 Oct 2023

So we are actually looking to pay to take a test again. Pay for a system which is CA approved. Sounds like more money and yet no way of knowing if and when this will occur? Also having to keep a record both on paper and video, I wonder how much this will cost to keep these records safe? Also if I retire my commission how do I turn in the videos? This seems like only the State of CA will be making huge profits from saying who is able to provide me the systems needed for this type of program. Worst yet it will be those who work for big companies in which they will be able to afford these systems.

Joe Ker

30 Oct 2023

So should I tell my customers in CA that they can’t do RON anymore?

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2023

Hello. California Notaries will not be authorized to perform remote online notarizations until the new law takes effect.

Eileen Roe

30 Oct 2023

So complete the "technology project" already.

Enelida Nelly Malone

30 Oct 2023

Will there be any protection for CA notaries that we don't have to compete with out of state notaries. I feel this is a nail in the coffin for us CA NSA and our bottom line also.

Nune Torosyan

30 Apr 2024

CA notaries can't perform remote notarizations, but Californian residents, our potential customers, can request a remote notarization while residing in California through "" or other non-Californian websites. How fair is that? I want to become a RON agent.


05 May 2024

I’ve ran across some companies that have out of state notaries perform RON with clients in California. Since we are not a RON state yet, isn’t this illegal? Even though the notaries are in an RON approved state but the client is in California a non- RON approved state how are they getting away with this?

National Notary Association

06 May 2024

Hello. While California Notaries are not authorized yet to perform online notarizations, an online Notary from another state can perform a remote notarization for a signer in California if the Notary's commissioning state permits it.

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