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Changes to Pennsylvania Law Concerning Notaries Public Coming Soon

October 17th, 2017

By: Alaine S. WilliamsChanges to Pennsylvania Law Concerning Notaries Public Coming Soon

Virtually every union, health and welfare fund, and pension fund that maintains offices in Pennsylvania has designated at least one officer or employee to obtain a commission from the Secretary of State to be a notary public. Major changes to the notary law go into effect on October 26, 2017 and all notaries public in Pennsylvania must take note. The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) was enacted by the General Assembly in 2013 but had a delayed effective date.

All current notaries who renew a commission after October 26, 2017 must now complete at least three hours of approved notary education courses within the six months before they apply for renewal. A copy of the course completion certificate must be submitted with the application for appointment. A list of approved educational courses can be obtained from the Department of State.

Additionally, all new applicants to be a notary must now pass an examination prior to being commissioned. The examination is a computer based test and is administered by a vendor licensed by the Department of State. New applicants submit their application to become a notary and will then be notified by the Department of the vendor’s test centers that are in most Pennsylvania counties. The cost of the test is $65.00. The examination requirement will also apply to anyone whose commission has expired, even if the expiration is for only one day.

The new law changes the official stamp (previously called the notary seal) used by a notary. The new stamp must include the words “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – Notary Seal”, the name of the notary with the words, “Notary Public”, the county in which the notary maintains an office; the date the notary’s commission expires and the notaries commission number. Note that a notary who holds a commission on the effective date of RULONA may continue to use their existing seal until the expiration of the commission.

RULONA also includes a new requirement regarding the notary journal that all notaries are required to maintain for all notarial acts. The new law requires that the journal entry include the date and time, plus name, address and whether identification was based on personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence and the type of identification credential presented.

The law remains the same regarding the requirement that the person shall appear personally before the notarial officer. This means that the person must be physically present when the notarial act is executed.

A comprehensive list of changes that go into effect October 26, 2017 has been posted on the Department of State website.


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