NEW YORK (WETM) – New York State announced a new online tool for notaries to perform notary signings digitally. However, some local officials are warning against this, saying notaries should instead renew their licenses locally.

The NYS Department of State announced that starting February 1, 2023, notaries public will have the ability to perform document signings online through a new portal. The state clarified that registration for the online portal to become an “electronic notary” is completely optional for notaries public.

Notaries with traditional licenses will still be able to perform notary signings without having to change their licenses, the Department of State said.

However, the Chemung County Clerk’s Office warned notaries not to use the new portal, saying the online system “directly contradicts” New York law. The warning said notaries in Chemung County should renew their licenses with the Clerk “until the legalities of this new procedure can be resolved”.

However, Electronic Notarization replaced “Remote Ink Notarization” (RIN)—a pandemic-era system—on February 1, 2023 in New York State. RIN was used to generate a hard copy, ink-signed document with “communications technology” even when the notary and the signer were in two different locations.

Furthermore, according to the law, county clerks and other government officials must accept hard copies of electronically notarized documents.

“We live in a digital world where many transactions and services are facilitated online, in order to have a quick and simple way of processing things in our day-to-day activities,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “The Department of State, a gateway of opportunity, is proud to facilitate the access to electronic online notary services to make it easier for New Yorkers to conduct business in a rapid and accessible manner.” 

More information is available by calling the NYS Department of State at 518-474-4429 or by visiting its website.