The Department of State has revised its Notary Public FAQs as of May 7, 2020. The Department will begin appointing the notaries whose applications have been pending with the Department the longest starting on May 15.
The process for receiving notary appointments will change, due to system enhancements made by the Bureau immediately prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. These enhancements are designed to make the notary appointment and commissioning process more effective for the Department, their notary customers and Recorders of Deeds. The primary change for notary appointees will be how the appointees receive their appointment letter and bond. Instead of receiving the appointment letter an blank bond my mail, notary appointees will now receive these items by email upon appointment. These emails will be sent daily, as notaries are appointed. This will enable notaries to utilize the full 45 days to obtain a bond and go to the Recorder of Deeds and Prothonotary offices to complete the commissioning process.
The Department will no longer be mailing paper commissions to Recorders of Deeds. All recorders will be accessing notary commissions through a Partner Portal. Recorders will be printing notary commissions on commission paper supplied by the Department. Recorders also have the ability to upload notary bonds directly into the Department of State system once they are recorded, thereby updating the notary status from “appointed” to “commissioned” in real time.
An Extension Granted
On May 6, 2020, the governor approved an extension of the 45 days for appointed notaries to get sworn in and record the bond/oath/commission with the Recorder of Deeds and to register their signature with the Prothonotary, up to an additional 30 days. This extension will apply to all notaries whose 45 days expired on or after March 1 until the expiration of this waiver.
Because notaries have varied expiration dates, the 30 days will calculate for each notary differently. For counties where the Recorder of Deeds or Prothonotary is still closed, the 30 days will also take into account and be based on the date the associated Recorder and Prothonotary offices reopen. If the county offices are open on the notary’s 45th day, the notary will have an additional 30 days from the 45th day. If the county offices are closed on the notary’s 45th day, the notary will have an additional 30 days from when the county Recorder and/or Prothonotary offices reopen to record the bond/oath/commission with the Recorder and to register their notary signature with the Prothonotary. The 45th day is stated on the notary appointment letter and commission.
An additional 30 days will give notaries and Recorders and Prothonotary offices additional time to process the backlog of notaries seeking to record their bond/oath/commission and signatures after each of these offices reopens or during times when these offices are partially open and limiting traffic.
To read the entire Department of State’s FAQs concerning notaries, please visit:
https://www.dos.pa.gov/OtherServices/Notaries/Pages/default.aspx and click on NOTICE: Covid-19 Notary Public FAQs.