New Jersey Permanently Authorizes Remote Notarizations
On July 22, 2021, New Jersey enacted the new bill A-4250/S-2508 (the “Act”) to permanently authorizes remote notarizations effective on October 20, 2021.
The Act authorizes a notary located in New Jersey to notarize the signing of a document or perform any other notarial act using “communication technology” for “a remotely located individual,” provided that:
- the notary has “personal knowledge” or has obtained satisfactory evidence of the signatory’s identity either by (a) oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the notary, or (b) using at least two different types of “identity proofing”.
- the notary is reasonably able to confirm that a record before him/her is the same record the remote individual signed or in which the remote individual made a statement; and
- the notary, or a third party on his/her behalf, creates an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act, which must be retained by the notary public for a period of ten years.
A notary may verify the identity of a remotely located individual through “identity proofing” by means of: (1) a passport, driver’s license, or government-issued, non-driver identification card, which is current or expired not more than three years prior to the remote notarization; or (2) another form of government-issued, non-driver identification card, which is current or expired not more than three years prior to the remote notarization, and which contains the individual’s signature or photograph and is satisfactory to the notary.
For individuals located outside the United States, the Act requires that: (a) the record: (1) be filed with or must relate to a matter before a public official or court, governmental entity or other entity subject to U.S. jurisdiction; or (2) involve property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or involve a transaction substantially connected with the United States; and (b) the act of making the statement or signing the record must not be prohibited by the foreign state in which the remote individual is located.
The Act does not, however, apply to the notarization of a record to the extent such record is governed by:
- a law governing the creation and execution of wills and codicils.
- the Uniform Commercial Code of New Jersey, N.J.S. 12A:1-101 et seq., other than N.J.S. 12A:1-107 (“Section Captions”), N.J.S. 12A:1-206 (“Presumptions”), the provisions of the “Uniform Commercial Code – Sales” (chapter 2 of Title 12A of the New Jersey Statutes), and the provisions of the “Uniform Commercial Code – Leases” (chapter 2A of Title 12A of the New Jersey Statutes); or
- a statute, regulation or other rule of law governing adoption, divorce, or other matters of family law.
Finally, the Act also sets forth new education requirements for notary publics. Specifically, an individual applying for an initial commission as a notary must now complete a six-hour course, within the six-month period immediately preceding the application, prescribed and approved by the State Treasurer. An individual applying to renew his/her notary public commission who has previously completed the six-hour course must complete a three-hour continuing education course.