June 5, 2017

Dept. Of State: Significant Changes Ahead For PA Notaries

Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés Monday reminded Pennsylvania notaries public that significant changes to the notary law will go into effect in October 2017, including an education requirement for all notaries and updated guidelines for the notary stamp.
“The changes will affect not only individuals seeking a new commission as a notary public, but also notaries who are currently commissioned,” Secretary Cortés said. “I encourage all notaries to familiarize themselves with the changes, particularly the education and examination requirements.”
The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), enacted in 2013, requires that all notaries complete a 3-hour notary education course (PDF) in order to be appointed or reappointed. The course must be completed in the six months immediately preceding the application for appointment or reappointment.
The education requirement affects all notaries, including those previously “grandfathered” by court ruling.
Because RULONA changes take effect October 26, 2017, the six-month window is now in effect for anyone who will be applying or reapplying on or after that date. A certificate of course completion must be included with all applications for appointment or reappointment submitted on or after October 26.
In addition, new notaries will be required to take and pass an examination before receiving their commission. Current notaries will not be subject to the examination requirement as long as their commission has not expired or lapsed. If a current notary’s commission expires for even one day, that notary will be required to take and pass the examination.
The examination will be a computer-based test offered at Pearson VUE test centers in nearly all Pennsylvania counties. The cost is $65 per test. Notary applicants will have six months from the time they are authorized to sit for the exam to successfully pass the test. They may take the test as many times as needed.
RULONA changes also include revisions to the list of authorized notarial powers, a redesigned notary stamp, updated requirements for the notary journal or register, and the option to keep the journal in an electronic format. Currently commissioned notaries may continue to use their current notary stamps and registers until their existing commission expires.
A comprehensive list of changes (PDF) that will go into effect October 26 has been posted on the Department of State website. Or call 717-787-5280, option 2, for more information. The website also has a list of RULONA-compliant education providers (PDF).
The notary division of the department’s Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation commissions more than 80,000 notaries in Pennsylvania.