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April 20, 2020

Remote Notarization of All Documents Legal in Pennsylvania Until 60 Days After COVID-19 Disaster Emergency Expires

Governor Tom Wolf has signed into law S.B. 841, a COVID-19 relief bill that, among other things, provides for the remote notarization of all documents. Effective immediately, remote notarization will be permitted during the COVID-19 disaster emergency and for sixty days following expiration of the disaster emergency.

The bill resembles model language recommended by the Uniform Law Commission and currently in effect in ten other states.

Under the bill, a notary wishing to perform remote notarization must use “a communication and identity proofing technology designated in the Department of State’s March 25, 2020, Notice of the Limited Suspension of the Requirements of 57 Pa.C.S. §306 (relating to personal appearance required), or that is designated in a list of additional acceptable technologies subsequently adopted by the Department.” Otherwise, this bill supersedes the March 25 and April 2 Department of State orders allowing for remote notarization of some documents during the COVID-19 emergency.

S.B. 1097, pending in the General Assembly, would adopt remote notarization on a permanent basis. We will keep our members updated on any further changes in the law with regard to notarization of documents in Pennsylvania.

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