Effective Sept. 25, 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of State will no longer accept new applications for the electronic notarization program.
The department is currently reevaluating the existing process for obtaining a digital certificate and looks forward to implementing an improved program in the near future.
Pennsylvania notaries who have obtained and downloaded a digital certificate (Electronic Notary Seal) from the National Notary Association (NNA) prior to Sept. 25 will retain their certificates and may continue to notarize electronically using the existing digital certificate. Digital certificates issued prior to Sept. 25 will be active through June 30, 2010, or the assigned date of expiration, whichever comes first.
In response to notary public administrators’ queries, Martha Brown, assistant counsel of the Division of Commissions, Legislation and Notaries of the Pennsylvania Department of State, said the state does not intend to cease its electronic notarization program.
The Department of State has “been informed by its digital certificate provider (the NNA) that the NNA is no longer providing digital certificates to Pennsylvania notaries,” said Brown. “It is our understanding that the NNA has decided to end its digital certificate program for all notaries, due to the lack of unified requirements by states for e-notarization and the slow pace of adoption of the technology.”
In response to Brown’s comments, NNA CEO Larisa Gurnick said, “There are now more technology companies entering the field to support eNotarization than ever before. The NNA executive board has determined that certain complex challenges of offering and supporting a technology product are best left to the technology firms that are equipped to handle those challenges.”
Pennsylvania is working with the NNA to “ensure a smooth transition,” Brown added, “particularly for those e-notary applicants in the pipeline. While the NNA will cease providing digital certificates for Pennsylvania notaries, they will continue to validate the current certificates of Pennsylvania e-notaries through June 30, 2010.
Brown reported that the Department of State will continue its support of its electronic notarization program and will move forward with a “revised and improved program by enlisting and forging relationships with other digital certificate providers in the near future.”