New York Notarization Update

Notarizations are intended to prevent fraud by providing assurances that a document is authentic, and that signatures on the document are genuine. New York licenses individuals with specific qualifications to become notaries and notarize documents in New York. Recently, New York expanded its legal authority for notaries to, as of February 1, 2023, provide remote electronic notarizations. Previously, New York had allowed notarizations to be completed remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic but let such allowances lapse. The new permanent remote notarizations are allowed with more stringent requirements than were in place during its prior temporary incantation, including now requiring notaries who wish to perform remote notarizations to register with the Department of State.

Under the new remote provisions, a notary must be in New York, but the signer of the document can be located anywhere in the world. Electronic notarizations may be performed remotely only if the notary and signer are communicating simultaneously by sight and sound, and using technology compliant with the requirements of the New York Secretary of State. Such requirements include that there are security protocols built into the technology to prevent unauthorized access. Further, notaries must record the signing process and keep the audio-visual recordings for at least 10 years. Additionally, notaries performing electronic notarizations are required to add the following language to the jurat: “This electronic notarial act involved a remote online appearance involving the use of communication technology.”

Additionally, New York, as of January 25, 2023, has implemented new requirements for all notaries, whether providing traditional in-person notarization or electronic notarizations. Specifically, the notaries are now required to keep a journal detailing each notarial act. The journal entries should include the date and time that the notarizations were performed, the name and address of the individuals involved, and the type of credential and verification procedure used for the signor’s identity (for example, a driver’s license). The journaled entries are required to be kept for at least 10 years. For more information, please visit the Notary Public page on the New York Department of State website.

This article is intended as a general discussion of these issues only and is not to be considered legal advice or relied upon. For more information, please contact RPJ Partner Ethan Krasnoo who counsels clients in areas of complex commercial litigation, arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution, and employment, intellectual property, and entertainment and media. Mr. Krasnoo is admitted to practice law in New York, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and United States Tax Court.