DES MOINES – The in-person requirement for notarizing documents is temporarily waived for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, Gov. Reynolds declared earlier this week. The requirements are subject to guidance provided by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.

A new law allowing remote notarization in Iowa was scheduled to take effect on July 1. Reynolds’ declaration accelerates the timeline.

Notaries are required to register with the secretary of state office before performing any remote notarial acts, under section 6. A web application is available to complete and submit on the SOS website at this address: https://sos.iowa.gov/remotenotary.

Even though the revised administrative rules are not yet in effect, the ARC 4997C draft is available online and will help notaries ensure they will be in compliance when they do take effect, at the shortened case-sensitive link, https://bit.ly/3bxRD7R.

Section 6 requires the use a software service designed for the purpose of facilitating remote online notarization, as opposed to services that primarily offer video-conferencing ability. Online notarization services include the necessary identity-proofing, e-signing, and recording/storage capabilities.

It is strongly advised that notaries follow the training on how to use the remote online notarization service provided by the service they choose.

Verification of the customer’s identity is of critical. Notaries are advised to be certain that the video resolution through the service they choose is sufficient to see identity-proofing documents clearly, and that the audio clarity is sufficient to understand everything the customer says.

Under the emergency declaration, remote notarial acts must conform to all the provisions in Iowa Administrative Code 721-43, Iowa Code chapter 9B, and every provision of Section 6 of Senate File 475.

Questions may be emailed to the Secretary of State’s Office at notary@sos.iowa.gov.