New York Remote Online Notarization Bill Signed Into Law

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill 1780C on Dec. 22, 2021, which allows the state's notaries to conduct remote online notarizations (RON). The law is slated to be effective on June 20, 2022. New York joins more than 37 states that already allow for RONs. When New York notaries start completing RONs next year, California (which has pending RON legislation) and several other key states will remain notable exceptions that do not permit use of this notarization technology.

How RONs Generally Work

For a detailed explanation on how RONs work and business cases for its implementation, please see the related articles, "Remote Online Notarization Will Support Business Continuity," March 24, 2020, and "Remote Online Notarization in Mortgage Loan Closings," April 2021.

Analysis of New York's RON Law

The legislation just signed into law mirrors, in many ways, laws already in force in the majority of states across the country and gives the New York Secretary of State significant regulatory authority over its implementation. For example, it requires the New York Secretary of State to provide regulations setting forth standards for ensuring the audio/video conference used for the notary session is secure, the notary session is conducted in real time and the notary is able to communicate with and identify the signer at the time of the notarial act. Identification of the signer is expected to require credential analysis of the signer's ID card (i.e., a passport or driver's license) as well as correctly answering four out of five knowledge-based authentication questions within a set period of time (i.e., who is your car loan with, what address have you never lived at, etc.). Getting timely and easy-to-understand regulations that can be implemented by the industry will be necessary for an on-time roll-out. Also, please keep in mind that the knowledge-based authentication questions are generally generated from a U.S. Social Security number, thereby creating potential obstacles for foreign nationals.

New York notaries who conduct RONs will need to keep a recording of the session for 10 years, along with the type of identification shown to the notary. Notaries will also need to register with the state and will be permitted to perform RONs only when they are located in New York, although signers can be outside of the state.

For additional questions on the new law, how to perform RONs for foreign nationals or RONs in general, please contact the authors.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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