Signed into law in October of 2018, Washington D.C. Legislative Bill 324 expands on the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Act of 2018. The bill allows for notaries to use electronic records, facilitate signatures for parties outside of the United States, and it creates new provisions to combat fraudulent and deceptive practices.
What are the key provisions of LB 324?
With the enactment of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Act of 2018, notary publics may apply for an endorsement to serve as an electronic notary which allows for the electronic notarization of documents. To apply for permission to electronically notarize signatures, a notary public must complete the required training course, take the required oath, identify a tamper-evident electronic device for notarizing documents, and provide copies of their electronic signature and official seal to the Washington D.C. Office of the Secretary.
The bill also defines the role and responsibilities of a notary in the District of Columbia. Furthermore, a notary who is not admitted to the D.C. bar is not allowed to act as an attorney and they cannot do things such as provide immigration consultation or represent a person in a judicial court.
How to become a notary in Washington D.C.
To become a notary in D.C., applicants must meet the following requirements and submit the required paperwork to the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications.
- Applicants must be 18 years old, a permanent legal resident of the U.S. and live or work in D.C.
- Fill out the online application which must be signed and dated within 30 days of completion.
- Send in the application, a letter from the applicant’s employer explaining their need for notary services, and a $75 application fee to the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications.
- The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications will send a notice to schedule the applicant’s orientation via email or phone within three weeks of receiving the application.
- Submit the required surety bond and take the oath of office to receive a commission.
- Buy a notary journal and a seal.
Why is a surety bond required?
Notaries in Washington D.C. have to purchase and submit a $2,000 surety bond before they are able to perform the duties of a notary. States and districts will use surety bonds as a risk mitigation tool to protect consumers from predatory practices. Consumers can make claims for damages if a notary violates the provisions of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Act of 2018 or any other law pertaining to notaries. The surety company will then pay out the money for the claim.
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