Pennsylvania to Temporarily Allow RON

April 21, 2020

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill that temporarily permits notaries in the state to conduct remote online notarizations (RON) starting April 20.

The authorization expires 60 days after termination or expiration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency issued by Governor Wolf.

According to the legislation, notaries must use a technology that satisfies the following requirements:

  • The technology must enable a notary public located in Pennsylvania to communicate with a remotely located individual simultaneously by sight and sound and make reasonable accommodations for persons with vision, hearing or speech impairments.
  • The technology must enable the notary public to determine the identity of the remotely located customer based either (1) on his or her personal knowledge; (2) the testimony of a credible witness; or (3) by using at least two identity-proofing technologies or services. Identify-proofing processes or services include having the remotely located individual answer questions for which there is a high probability that only the true individual would be able to answer correctly, or may identify the individual through the use of biometric identification technology or the analysis of identification cards. The identity of a witness must be determined in the same manner as the identity of the remotely located customer.
  • The technology must enable the identification of a record before in the presence of the notary as the same record being signed by or containing a statement made by the remotely located individual. This can be accomplished by the use of electronic records or signatures created using tamper evident technology; the presence of the same tangible record before the notary and the remotely located individual; or by the exchange of tangible records.
  • The technology must create an audio-visual recording of the notarization, including all interactions between the notary public and the remotely located individual, that will be retained by the notary public or a person acting on his or her behalf for at least ten years.

The Pennsylvania Land Title Association sent a letter urging for the temporary allowance of remote ink notarization (RIN) in the state. RIN is a process where the notary observes the borrower ink signing documents through an audio-visual technology. Documents must be delivered so the closing agent to complete notarization by applying seal or stamp to the documents.

“Remote ink notarization is a more practicable, still secure, solution that all settlement agents, lenders, and Pennsylvanians could utilize,” PLTA wrote to the governor. “We understand that the idea of RIN may raise concerns about fraud, the prevention of which is just as important to our members as it is to your Administration. Substantial safeguards can be established to alleviate these concerns.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Maci issued temporary guidelines for getting documents signed remotely. Both government sponsored entities will now allow the use of services such as Zoom, Skype or FaceTime to help facilitate what would otherwise be a traditional, in-person paper-based closing.


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

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