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Emergency Video Notarization: What You Need To Know

by Meredith J. Parker

On May 4, 2020, new law allowing for Emergency Video Notarization was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Cooper. The full text of the new G.S. 10B-25 concerning Emergency Video Notarization can be found here (on page 31), summarized below:

From now until 12:01 AM on August 1, 2020, Notaries Public may perform emergency video notarizations. However, a Notary is not required to complete an emergency video notarization if the Notary is not satisfied that the Principal’s (or the individual seeking the Notary’s services) identity has been proven by satisfactory evidence.

Sufficient Video Conference Technology

In order to comply with the terms set forth in Session Law 2020-3, the video conference technology used for the emergency video notarization must:

  1. Allow for direct communication and real-time interaction between the Principal and the Notary;
  2. Provide clear audio so that each participant in the notarial act can hear and understand all other participants;
  3. Provide sufficient video quality such that each participant has a clear and unobstructed visual of each participant’s face;
  4. Provide a clear and unobstructed visual of the Principal’s identification so that the Notary has sufficient time to evaluate whether or not the Principal has provided satisfactory evidence. The Notary shall determine if the time is sufficient;
  5. Not include prerecorded video or audio or both; and
  6. Have the capability to record the notarial act using any of the following methods:
    1. The video conference technology’s recording and storage services;
    2. An independent video recording device; or
    3. Electronically saved screenshots clearly showing –
      1. Each Participant’s face;
      2. The identification presented by the Principal; and
      3. The notarized document.

Personal Appearance Requirement

The personal appearance requirement is satisfied if:

  1. The Notary is physically present in North Carolina;
  2. The Principal verifies to the Notary that they are physically present in North Carolina at the time of the notarial act;
  3. The Principal identifies the county where they are located at the time of the notarial act; and
  4. The Principal and Notary use video conference technology compliant with the terms of G.S. 10B-25.

Identification of the Principal

If the Notary has personal knowledge of the Principal, the Notary may rely on the video conference technology to verify the Principal’s identity.

If the Notary does not have personal knowledge of the Principal, the Principal must present satisfactory evidence of their identity.

The Principal’s identification is satisfactory if the identification meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Identification must not have expired prior to March 10, 2020;
  2. Must be issued by a federal, state, or federal or state-recognized tribal government agency;
  3. Must include a picture of the Principal’s face; AND
  4. Must include a physical description and signature of the Principal.

The Notarial Act

Before signing the document, the Principal must:

  1. Hold their identification up to the video recording device until the Notary confirms that the identification presented is satisfactory evidence of the Principal’s identity;
  2. Verbally state that they are able to see and hear the Notary;
  3. Verify that they are physically present in North Carolina and identify the county where they are located at that time; and
  4. Verbally state what document is being signed.

The Notary must witness each Principal sign each document that is to be notarized.

Once the document is signed by the Principal, one of the following must occur:

1) Original Wet-Signed Notarization and Wet-Signed Document is Required.

The Principal or the Principal’s designee must:

  1. Transmit a legible electronic copy of the signed document to the Notary on the same day that the document was signed; and
  2. Deliver the original signed document to the Notary by mail or other physical method.

Then, the Notary must:

  1. Compare the original document to the electronically transmitted document.
  2. If the documents match, the Notary shall notarize the original document and date the notarial act as of the date on which the Notary observed the Principal sign the document via video conference technology.
  3. After notarizing the original document, the Notary must promptly send the original wet-notarized document to the Principal or the Principal’s designee by mail or other physical delivery as directed by the Principal.

2) Original Wet-Signed Notarization and Wet-Signed Document is Not Required.

The Principal or the Principal’s designee must:

  1. Transmit a legible electronic copy of the signed document to the Notary on the same day that the document was signed.

Then, the Notary shall:

  1. Notarize the document on the same day the Notary receives the document; and
  2. Send the notarized document to the Principal or the Principal’s designee on the same day the Notary signed the document.

Oath or Affirmation

If the notarial act is an oath or affirmation, the Notary shall administer the oath or affirmation using video conference technology.

Acknowledgement or Jurat Certificate

For an emergency video notarization, the acknowledgement or jurat certificate shall include all of the following:

  1. The North Carolina county where the Notary was located during the emergency video notarization;
  2. The North Carolina county where the Principal stated they were physically located during the emergency video notarization; AND
  3. This statement: “I signed this notarial certificate on ______ (Date) according to the emergency video notarization requirements contained in G.S. 10B-25.”

Notary’s Record

For each emergency video notarization, the Notary should, at a minimum, keep a record of the following:

  1. The time of day when:
    1. The Principal presented sufficient identification; and
    2. The Principal signed the document;
  2. The date when the emergency video notarization notarial certificate was completed;
  3. The first and last name of each Principal;
  4. The type of notarial act performed;
  5. The type of document notarized or proceeding performed;
  6. The form of identification presented including, the issuing agency and identification number on the identification;
  7. The type of video conference technology used;
  8. A statement confirming that the notary and each principal could see and hear each other;
  9. Whether any other person was present with the Principal at the time of signature and that person’s name.

Original Verification Requirement

Nothing in G.S. 10B-25 changes any of the originality verification requirements for recording with a register of deeds, clerk of superior court, or other government or private office in the State of North Carolina.