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Perspectives

New York Will Again Allow Remote Notarizations

New York law and regulations have historically required that when a document is to be notarized, the signer and the notary must be in the same location.  This can sometimes raise logistical issues, especially when notarization is required on short notice.  During the first few months of the pandemic, when public health concerns shut down most offices and required social distancing, the Governor recognized that it would often be impossible or impracticable for the signer and notary to be in the same place.  During this period, an Executive Order authorized remote notarization with the notary witnessing the signature on a document via video conference instead of in person, provided that both the signer and the notary were physically located within New York State.  Many people found remote video notarization both convenient and safe, but the authorization for it terminated in June 2021.

The New York State Legislature has now adopted legislation that will authorize remote notarization permanently.  This will occur in two phases.  During an interim period that will begin on an upcoming date expected to be announced soon, remote notarization will again be allowed using the same procedures that were in effect from March 2020 to June 2021.  We expect to report soon when this authorization takes effect.  Once effective, it is expected to continue until January 31, 2023.

Beginning in February 2023, the New York State Department of State, which regulates notaries, will establish new procedures to ensure the integrity of remote notarizations using electronic signature technology.  The regulations will require notaries wishing to perform remote notarizations to register and undergo training on the new procedures.  We will provide further information on the requirements when it becomes available.