Extension of Notary Public Commissions
Is the Secretary of State open for business?
Yes. While Sacramento public counter services are currently suspended in furtherance of Governor Newsom’s Shelter in Place Order and precautions deemed necessary by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, our office remains operational and continues to provide mission-critical functions and services. We will continue to have limited staff in the office at any given time with other staff working remotely in order to maintain essential operations. Customers with questions are encouraged to utilize the many resources available on our website, ask Eureka - our award-winning online chatbot, or submit your inquiries via email whenever possible. Telephone wait times may be longer than usual while we operate with limited employees in the office in order to preserve the health and safety of our customers and staff.
Is the Secretary of State processing Apostilles?
Yes. The Secretary of State continues to process all documents received, including Apostilles. You are encouraged to submit your request by mail including a check or money order. Apostilles can be submitted through the mail following the instructions on our website at www.sos.ca.gov/notary/request-apostille.
How is the notary oath of office and bond are filed?
Many county clerk/recorder's offices are closed to the public; however, some are still accepting filings by mail. Contact your county clerk/recorder's office to see if they are accepting notary oath filings by mail. If so, the instructions are included in your commission packet.
If you are unable to file your oath and bond with the county clerk/recorder's office within the thirty-day filing period due to office closures, the Secretary of State's office will assist you once the county clerk/recorder's offices open back up. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org once your county clerk/recorder's office reopens.
Is the office of the Notary Public considered an essential service?
The California Secretary of State’s office encourages all notaries public to follow the guidance provided by public health officials at a federal, state and local level should they choose to continue to perform notarial acts under the parameters of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20. California notaries public are not prohibited from performing a notarial act during a shelter in place order. However, preservation of the public health and safety of Californians, including all notaries public, is of the utmost concern so it is recommended that each notary public continue to stay apprised of and operate under any health directives from the Department of Public Health as the situation raised by the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid.
The Secretary of State will not take action against a notary for having entries in their notary journal during this state of emergency provided the notary otherwise is complying with their notarial duties.
Can California Notaries Public perform a notarial act without the physical presence of the signer (Remote Online Notarization)?
California law does not provide the authority for California notaries public to perform a remote online notarization. The personal appearance of the document signer is required before the notary public. However, California citizens who wish to have their documents notarized can seek a mobile California notary public.
How do I notarize a document during California’s shelter-in-place order?
During this unprecedented time, those seeking notarization may do so safely by contacting a mobile notary. Mobile notaries are individual notaries who travel to a customer's location to perform notarizations. When a mobile notary arrives at an agreed-upon location, they may practice physical distance while observing a customer sign a document. All California notaries public may consider the following guidelines to assist in maintaining proper social distancing:
When you arrive at the customer's location or an individual appears before you, let them know that you want to maintain a safe distance to adhere to CDC guidelines.
From a safe distance, verify the identity of the individual appearing before you.
From a safe distance, perform the notarial act, including all journal entries.
After you have made your journal entries, you may wish to step back to a safe distance while the individual signs your journal and enters their thumbprint, if needed, while still maintaining control and direct line of sight of your journal.
Once the notarization is complete, return the notarized document back to the customer.
My Notary Public Commission was extended, but I have received a new commission package, what do I do?
Reappointing notaries public who have received a new commission package must file their oath of office and surety bond with the county clerk’s office within 30 days of the beginning of the term. Once the oath of office and surety bond have been filed, the commission extended by Executive Order N-63-20 and Executive Order N-71-20 is no longer active.
On May 8, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-63-20 (see paragraphs 6 and 7), extending commissions of notaries public for a period of 60 days for any notary public whose commission term has expired since March 1, 2020 or whose commission is set to expire over the next 60 days.
On June 30, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-71-20 extending the time frames in Executive Order N-63-20 an additional 120 days.
Notary public commission terms that expired anytime between March 1, 2020 and May 7, 2020, have been extended until November 3, 2020.
Notary public commission terms that expired after May 7, 2020 through November 3, 2020, are extended for 180 days on a rolling basis (i.e., someone whose commission expires on May 8, 2020, will have their commission extended until November 4, 2020, and someone whose commission expires on November 3, 2020 will have their commission extended until May 2, 2021).
This extension is valid provided the notary public whose commission term has been extended, maintains a valid surety bond during the extension, and annotates on each notarial act the following statement: “The notary commission extended pursuant to Executive Order N-63-20.”
Acceptance of Expired California Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards
As a result of Executive Order N-63-20, California Drivers Licenses and Identification cards that expired on March 1, 2020 or later, must be accepted for a period of 60 days by California notaries public to establish satisfactory evidence of the individual appearing before them. Our office recommends that notaries public annotate in their journal the expired Driver’s License or Identification Card was accepted due to Executive Order N-63-20.