On March 22, 2020, Governor Reynolds issued a Public Health Proclamation for the State of Iowa. Within the proclamation, Governor Reynolds temporarily eliminated the in-person notary requirement for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. (the “Waiver”)

To ensure compliance with the Waiver and applicable Iowa law, notaries must first register with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office before they can perform their duties remotely. The application can be completed at https://sos.iowa.gov/remotenotary. Once the application has been submitted and approved, notaries may begin remote notarization. However, it is important to note that as part of this Waiver notaries are required to use a software service specifically designed for the purpose of facilitating remote online notarization. This software must have the necessary identity-proofing, e-signing, and recording/storage capabilities as required by Iowa. Services that primarily offer video-conferencing ability cannot be utilized. Notaries can choose which service they would like to use, but are strongly advised to follow the remote online service’s training as verification of the customer’s identity is critical. Notaries should be certain that the video resolution is sufficient to see the identity-proving documents clearly and that the audio clarity is sufficient to understand everything the customer says.

As always, notaries should remember they are professionally responsible for properly performing notarizations under the law, even in this emergency context. Notaries should be sure to conform to not only the provisions of the Waiver, but also to all the provisions in the 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.

Further guidance from the Office of the Iowa Secretary of State can be found here: https://sos.iowa.gov/covid19/remotenotarization/pdf/Remote%20Notary%20Guidance.pdf

The Public Health Proclamation can be found here: https://governor.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Public%20Health%20Proclamation%20-%202020.03.22.pdf

This article has been prepared for general information purposes and (1) does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. Always seek professional counsel prior to taking action.