On December 22, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill 1780C, which allows notaries to perform remote online notarization (RON). Effective as of June 20, 2022, this new law means that New York has joined the ranks of dozens of states with some form of RON permitted.
Remote notarizations in New York were temporarily authorized by executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a notary was still required to print the document, physically sign it, and scan or fax the signed document to the sender. The new RON program will completely shift the notarization process online, in which the notary will receive a document electronically, sign it electronically, and email it back to the sender.
Notaries will be permitted to perform RONs only when they are located in New York, regardless of the location of the document signer. If video or audio conference technology is used by a notary to confirm a document signer’s identity, then the notary must keep a copy of the recording for 10 years along with a record notating the type of identification provided by the document signer.
A notary’s electronic signature is deemed reliable under the law if it meets certain requirements; namely, the electronic signature must be unique to the notary public, capable of independent verification, retained under the notary’s sole control, attached to the electronic document, and linked to the date. If, as a condition for recording, a signed document must be an original document, this condition can be satisfied by a paper copy of an electronic record that complies with the requirements of a notary’s electronic signature described above. A physical or electronic image of a stamp or seal need not accompany an electronic signature if the notary attaches an electronic notarial certificate that meets the requirements described above.
Under the new law, a notary must register with the Department of State (DOS) to perform RON; DOS has until January 31, 2023, to create a new online registration system for this purpose. In the interim, in-person notarization is currently required in New York, as the Executive Orders that authorized remote notarization during the pandemic lapsed on June 24, 2021.
We will continue to monitor the implementation of remote online notarizations in New York. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Morrison & Foerster team.
Alyssa Cannizzaro, a Law Clerk in our New York office, contributed to the writing of this alert.