New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill 1780C on December 22, 2021, which allows state notaries to perform remote online notarizations (RON). The law is expected to come into force on June 20, 2022. New York joins more than 37 states that already allow RON. When New York notaries start filling out RONs next year, California (which has pending RON legislation) and several other key states will remain notable exceptions that do not allow the use of this notarization technology.
How RONs Generally Work
For a detailed explanation of how RONs work and the business cases for their implementation, please see the related articles, “Remote online notarization will support business continuity, “March 24, 2020, and”Remote online notarization in mortgage closings“, April 2021.
New York RON Law Analysis
The newly enacted legislation reflects, in many ways, the laws already in effect in most 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 standards to ensure that the audio / video conference used for the notary session is secure, that the notary session is conducted in real time, and that the notary is able to communicate with and identify signatory at the time of the notarial deed. Identifying the signer should require analyzing the identifying information of the signer’s identity card (i.e. passport or driver’s license) as well as correctly answering four of the five questions. ‘Knowledge-based authentication within a defined period of time (i.e. who is your car loan with, at what address have you never lived, etc.). Obtaining timely and easy to understand regulations that can be implemented by industry will be necessary for a timely deployment. Also, keep in mind that knowledge-based authentication questions are typically generated from a U.S. social security number, creating potential hurdles for foreign nationals.
New York notaries performing RONs will need to keep a recording of the session for 10 years, along with the type of identification presented to the notary. Notaries will also need to register with the state and will only be allowed to make RONs when located in New York City, although signatories can be out of state.
For further questions on the new law, how to perform RON for foreign nationals or RON in general, please contact the authors.