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Notary Notes

Let's Review RULONA

by PAN
Two years ago, the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) was instituted. The law introduced significant changes in the way Pennsylvania notaries fulfill their notary duties. 

One of the biggest changes created by RULONA was the change of entries in a register to more detailed entries in a journa. In a journal, each entry must contain: 
  • The date and time of the notary act. It is always the date and time in which your customer stands before you in person, 
  • A description of the record, if any, and the type of notary act, 
  • Notary fee, if charged, 
  • Clerical and administrative fees, if charged, 
  • Customer information including name and address, and 
  • Statement regarding the method of identification and any identification credential presented, including date of issue and expiration date. 
If your commission was in effect on October 27, 2017, you could continue to use your current register reformatted to include the new entries. Once your notary commission expires, you must purchase a RULONA-compliant journal. 

RULONA included a new notary act, witnessing or attesting a signature that authorizes you to witness or attest a customer's signature. With this act, the customer is merely signing the document, not swearing or affirming that the contents of the document are true. The law stipulates that a document containing a signature may not be signed prior to the witnessing or attesting of the signature. To complete a witnessing or attesting a signature, compare the signature on the document to the signature on the customer's identification, if there is a signature on the presented ID. The document must be signed on the same date you affix your notary stamp and signature to the document. 

Two types of satisfactory evidence are defined in RULONA - acceptable identification and credible witness. Acceptable identification is a form of government identification that is current and contains a photograph or signature and is satisfactory to you, the notary. 

Acceptable identification includes: 
  • Passport or passport card issued by the U.S. Department of State or a foreign government, which is current and unexpired and uses letters, characters and a language that you can read and understand, 
  • Driver's license or non-driver identification card issued by a U.S. state or territory, and a state or territory of Canada or Mexico, which uses letters, characters and a language that can be read or understood by you, and is current and unexpired, 
  • Identification card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for an inmate who is currently in their custody, 
  • Identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 
  • Social Security card, 
  • Medicare card, and a 
  • Pennsylvania state and state-related university identification card. 
Remember: If the identification card presented to you does not prove your customer's identity to your satisfaction, you must ask for another form of ID that meets the requirements of the law. If you are unable to identify your customer, you must refuse to notarize. 

If you do not know your customer personally, and he or she does not have acceptable identification, then you can rely on a credible witness to properly identify your customer. A credible witness is someone who makes a verification on oath or affirmation attesting to the identity of your customer. A credible witness must be personally known to you and must personally know your customer and appear before you with the customer present. The verification on oath or affirmation you administer to a credible witness must be recorded in your journal as a separate notary act. 

All notaries are required to successfully obtain three hours of notary education, either through a live class or online course. All first-time notaries are required to take the Pearson VUE notary exam, while renewing notaries are not required to take the exam unless they have a lapse in their commissions. 

If you have any questions about RULONA, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-944-8790 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit our website at to read RULONA. 

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