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Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

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Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

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Notary Public FAQs

FAQ menu

Remote notarization

Q1. Who can perform remote notarizations in Colorado?

A1. Only a currently commissioned Colorado notary public with a status of Active in the Secretary of State’s online database may perform remote notarizations in accordance with emergency Rule 5 in the Notary Program Rules adopted on March 30, 2020. Individuals with Revoked, Suspended, or Expired statuses must not perform any notarizations, including remote notarizations.

Note: Remote notarization must be performed in accordance with Rule 5 of the Notary Public Program Rules (8 CCR 1505-11). Rule 5 is a temporary emergency rule authorized by Governor Polis's Executive Order D 2020 019 dated March 27, 2020. The Executive Order was extended by Executive Order D 2020 030 on April 6, 2020 and again by Executive Order D 2020 047, on April 30, 2020. It was most recently extended by Executive Order D 2020 087, on May 29, 2020.

SB 20-096 (PDF) was passed on June 22, 2020 and was signed into law on June 26, 2020. The bill will codify the current temporary rules for remote notarization until December 31, 2020. The bill will then take effect on December 31, 2020, along with permanent rules.

Q2. Do I have to perform remote notarizations?

A2. No, you are not required to perform remote notarizations. Remote notarizations are simply an option.

If the client agrees, you can still perform an in-person notarization but only if you can comply with all current Colorado law. This includes complying with any Executive Orders issued by the Governor that mandate staying at home unless the activity is considered an “essential business”. And you should also adhere to federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines which mean:

  • Having as few people in the room as possible when performing the notarization and maintaining appropriate distance from one another.
  • Washing your hands after touching the identification or documents.

Notaries have the right to refuse to perform a notarization.

Q3. What are some mainstream applications and remote notarizations vendors that can be used to perform remote notarizations?

A3. Some mainstream applications that may be used to perform remote notarizations include the Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting applications.

Some vendors that provide remote notarization services include:

  • CSC Global, Inc.
  • DocVerify
  • Figure Technologies (for in-house Figure employees)
  • Jetexas Information Technovation
  • Nexsys
  • Notarize
  • NotaryCam
  • Pavaso
  • SafeDocs
  • SIGNiX
  • Simplifile - for IPEN only
  • World Wide Notary

Note: Before performing a remote notarization, it is the notary’s responsibility to verify that the application or vendor technology used allows the audio-video recording and storage of the remote notarization and otherwise complies with existing remote notarization requirements. The Secretary of State’s office does not endorse any specific application or vendor. Some applications and most vendors will charge for services.

Q4. Does the notary need to record a remote notarization in his or her journal?

A4. Yes, the notary must record each remote notarization in the notary’s journal unless the notary meets all of the statutory exception requirements in section 24-21-519(10)(c), C.R.S.

Q5. Can I perform remote notarizations for the circulator’s affidavits required for initiatives and candidate petitions?

A5. No, notary rules expressly exclude remote notarization of any “record relating to the electoral process.” This includes notarization of circulator affidavits required for initiatives and candidate petitions.

Q6. Can I notarize a document based on viewing a previously taped audio-video recording of a person signing or acknowledging a document?

A6. No, you cannot notarize a document after watching a previously recorded or taped audio-video of a person signing or acknowledging a document. You must witness the act in “real-time”, i.e., you and the remotely located individual must be able to “see and hear each other substantially simultaneously and without interruption or disconnection.”

Q7. Must the remote notarization be recorded? And if so, must the recording be stored?

A7. Yes, the remote notarization must be recorded and the audio-video recording must be securely stored for ten years.

Q8. What if the remotely located individual does not want to be recorded?

A8. A notary cannot perform a remote notarization if the remotely located individual does not want or agree to be recorded.

Before actually recording the notarization, the notary public must first:

  • Tell the remotely located individual that the notarization will be recorded and the details of its storage including where and for how long it will be stored; and
  • Obtain the remotely located individual’s express consent (agreement) to both the recording and storage of the recording.

Q9. What must the notary include in the audio-video recording of the remote notarization?

A9. Once the notary discloses the necessary information and obtains consent as in A8 above, the notary must make sure that the audio-video recording contains the following:

The notary must state:

  • The notary’s name
  • The date and time of the notarial act
  • A description of all documents (examples: affidavit, financial record, etc.) involved in the notary act
  • The remotely located individual’s name whose signature is the subject of the act
  • The identity of any required credible witness
  • The method(s) of identification (Colorado driver’s license, etc.) used to identify the remotely located individual and witness, if any:
    • Personal knowledge: If the notary uses personal knowledge of the remotely located individual, the notary must state how the notary public knows the remotely located individual and for how long.
    • Credible witness: lf the notary uses a credible witness to identify a remotely located individual, then the notary and the credible witness must make statements as follows:
      • The notary must explain either: (1) how the notary public knows the credible witness and for how long or (2) describe the evidence of identity (the RULONA-authorized government-issued identification) used; and
      • The credible witness must explain how the credible witness knows the remotely located individual.
  • The remotely located individual must state that his or her actions before the notary are knowingly and voluntarily made.

Q10. What does the notary public do after performing the notarial act?

A10. For records that are not wills, after the notary public performs the notarial act, the remotely located individual must transmit a legible copy of the record by fax, email, or other electronic means directly to the notary on the same date that the act took place. The notary public must notarize the transmitted copy of the record as soon as received and transmit the same back to the person.

Remote notarization of wills has special and different requirements. Please see Rule 5.2.9(c) of the Notary Program Rules.

Q11. Do the temporary remote notary rules contemplate all types of Wills?

A11. No. The Secretary of State remote notary rules were intended to cover wills that are executed by a testator then acknowledged before a notary without witnesses to the signing. That is why there is no mention of witnesses in the rule. The rules expressly provide: “A will of a remotely located testator is not acknowledged in accordance with Section 15-11-502(1)(c)(II), C.R.S. unless it is notarizes pursuant to all the requirements of 5.2.9(C).” Rule 5.2.9(c)(3).

Q12. Are there any other rules I should be aware of when using audio-video technology to sign a will?

A12. Yes. Please review the Colorado Rules of Probate Procedure (PDF) and consult with an attorney if you need additional guidance.

Q13. What kind of notarial certificates must the notary use in performing a remote notarization?

A13. In performing a remote notarization, the notary public must only use the notarial certificates authorized by RULONA, sections 24-21-515 and -516, C.R.S.

The certificate must also indicate that the notary performed the notarial act using audio-video technology.

Q14. Can I perform a remote notarization for someone if I am physically located outside Colorado?

A14. No, you cannot perform a remote notarization for someone if you (the notary public) are physically located outside the state of Colorado. Both the Colorado notary public and the remotely located individual must be physically located within the borders of the state of Colorado.

Q15. Can I perform a remote notarization for someone who is physically located outside Colorado?

A15. No, you cannot perform a remote notarization for a remotely located individual who is physically located outside the state of Colorado. Both the Colorado notary public and the remotely located individual must be physically located within the borders of the state of Colorado.

Q16. What can I charge for a remote notarization?

A16. The amount charged depends on the notary’s signature and type of remote notarization system used. RULONA provides that “the fees of a notary public may be, but must not exceed, five dollars for each document attested by a person before a notary.” [section 24-21-529(1), C.R.S]. If the notary is providing an “electronic signature”, i.e., not a manual “wet” signature, the notary may charge up to ten dollars. [section 24-21-529(2), C.R.S].

Q17. What’s the difference between an electronic notarization and a remote notarization?

A17. An electronic notarization:

  • Involves notarization of an electronic record, like a document file.
  • Requires that the Colorado notary public and the person for whom the notarial act is being performed be in the same room.
  • Requires the document to be signed electronically, in most cases looking at a computer or other viewing screen.
  • Does not use audio-video communication.
  • Requires the notary to include a special Document Authentication Number (DAN) received from the Secretary of State’s office on each electronic notarization.

In contrast, in a remote notarization:

  • The initial document may or may not be in an electronic form when it is signed or acknowledged, e.g., an individual may be signing a hard paper copy of an affidavit.
  • The notary public is not in the same location as the individual for whom the notarial act is performed.
  • The use of a remote notarization system is required so that the notary can simultaneously witness in real time what is taking place, i.e., the signing or acknowledging a document.

If you have questions, please contact our office.