By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
On July 22, 2021, New Jersey became the 35th state to enact a permanent remote online notarization (RON) law. The New Jersey Law on Notarial Acts (Act) revises existing law concerning the qualification and duties of notaries and permanently authorizes electronic signatures as well as various notarial acts performed by remotely located individuals.
The act will presumably replace P.L. 2020, c.26, discussed previously in our blog; authorizing the use of remote notarization for the duration of the past year’s public health emergency and continuing state of emergency. Most of the Act will take effect on October 20, 2021, with additional time provided for provisions related to continuing education and testing requirements.
The Act validates notarial acts such as the acknowledgement of a records, verification of statements on oath, witnessing of signatures, and affirmation of a credible witnesses based on both an in-person appearance or an appearance remotely through the use of communication technology (with limited exclusions). In both cases, the notarial officer must do so based on personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the individual’s identity. Additionally, when using communication technology:
- The notarial officer must have personal knowledge of the identity of the individual or have obtained satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual through:
- An oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the notary; or
- The use of at least two different type of identity proofing.
- The notarial officer must be reasonably able to confirm that the record before them is the same as the record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the remotely located individual executed a signature.
- The notarial officer must create an, audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act and retain it for a period of at least ten years.
Other highlights of New Jersey’s RON law include:
- Definitions of terms such as “electronic signature,” “acknowledgement,” “record,” and “notarial act.”
- Specific prerequisites for being commissioned as a Notary Public; including new continuing education and examination requirements, changes in appointment and renewal fees, and the requirement that all applications for commission be submitted electronically.
- The requirement for the State Treasurer to maintain an on-line manual setting forth the functions, duties, and responsibilities of a notary public, including the statutes, rules, regulations and ethical requirements.
- Various requirements regarding a notary public’s official stamp, certificate forms, and maintenance of a journal of all notarial acts performed.
Please know that Campanella Law Office continues to recognize and prioritize the health and safety of its staff and clients. We remain fully equipped to work remotely, and are fully able to comply with the requirements of New Jersey’s RON law. For more information on the New Jersey Law on Notarial Acts, or RON laws in general, Contact Us.