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The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title X
PUBLIC OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AND RECORDS
Chapter 117
NOTARIES PUBLIC
View Entire Chapter
CHAPTER 117
CHAPTER 117
NOTARIES PUBLIC
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
(ss. 117.01-117.108)
PART II
ONLINE NOTARIZATIONS
(ss. 117.201-117.305)
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
117.01 Appointment, application, suspension, revocation, application fee, bond, and oath.
117.021 Electronic notarization.
117.03 Administration of oaths.
117.04 Acknowledgments.
117.045 Marriages.
117.05 Use of notary commission; unlawful use; notary fee; seal; duties; employer liability; name change; advertising; photocopies; penalties.
117.06 Validity of acts prior to April 1, 1903.
117.10 Law enforcement and correctional officers; administration of oaths.
117.103 Certification of notary’s authority by Secretary of State.
117.105 False or fraudulent acknowledgments; penalty.
117.107 Prohibited acts.
117.108 Validity of acts, seals, and certificates prior to January 1, 1995.
117.01 Appointment, application, suspension, revocation, application fee, bond, and oath.
(1) The Governor may appoint as many notaries public as he or she deems necessary, each of whom must be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of this state. A permanent resident alien may apply and be appointed and shall file with his or her application a recorded Declaration of Domicile. The residence required for appointment must be maintained throughout the term of appointment. A notary public shall be appointed for 4 years and may only use and exercise the office of notary public if he or she is within the boundaries of this state. An applicant must be able to read, write, and understand the English language.
(2) The application for appointment shall be signed and sworn to by the applicant and shall be accompanied by a fee of $25, together with the $10 commission fee required by s. 113.01, and a surcharge of $4, which $4 is appropriated to the Executive Office of the Governor to be used to educate and assist notaries public. The Executive Office of the Governor may contract with private vendors to provide the services set forth in this section. However, no commission fee shall be required for the issuance of a commission as a notary public to a veteran who served during a period of wartime service, as defined in s. 1.01(14), and who has been rated by the United States Government or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor to have a disability rating of 50 percent or more; such a disability is subject to verification by the Secretary of State, who has authority to adopt reasonable procedures to implement this act. The oath of office and notary bond required by this section shall also accompany the application and shall be in a form prescribed by the Department of State which shall require, but not be limited to, the following information: full name, residence address and telephone number, business address and telephone number, date of birth, race, sex, social security number, citizenship status, driver license number or the number of other official state-issued identification, affidavit of good character from someone unrelated to the applicant who has known the applicant for 1 year or more, a list of all professional licenses and commissions issued by the state during the previous 10 years and a statement as to whether or not the applicant has had such license or commission revoked or suspended, and a statement as to whether or not the applicant has been convicted of a felony, and, if there has been a conviction, a statement of the nature of the felony and restoration of civil rights. The applicant may not use a fictitious or assumed name other than a nickname on an application for commission. The application shall be maintained by the Department of State for the full term of a notary commission. A notary public shall notify, in writing, the Department of State of any change in his or her business address, home telephone number, business telephone number, home address, or criminal record within 60 days after such change. The Governor may require any other information he or she deems necessary for determining whether an applicant is eligible for a notary public commission. Each applicant must swear or affirm on the application that the information on the application is true and correct.
(3) As part of the oath, the applicant must swear that he or she has read this chapter and knows the duties, responsibilities, limitations, and powers of a notary public.
(4) The Governor may suspend a notary public for any of the grounds provided in s. 7, Art. IV of the State Constitution. Grounds constituting malfeasance, misfeasance, or neglect of duty include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) A material false statement on the application.
(b) A complaint found to have merit by the Governor.
(c) Failure to cooperate or respond to an investigation by the Governor’s office or the Department of State regarding a complaint.
(d) Official misconduct as defined in s. 838.022.
(e) False or misleading advertising relating to notary public services.
(f) Unauthorized practice of law.
(g) Failure to report a change in business or home address or telephone number, or failure to submit documentation to request an amended commission after a lawful name change, within the specified period of time.
(h) Commission of fraud, misrepresentation, or any intentional violation of this chapter.
(i) Charging fees in excess of fees authorized by this chapter.
(j) Failure to maintain the bond required by this section.
(5)(a) If a notary public receives notice from the Department of State that his or her office has been declared vacant, the notary shall forthwith mail or deliver to the Secretary of State his or her notary commission.
(b) A notary public who wishes to resign his or her commission, or a notary public who does not maintain legal residence in this state during the entire term of appointment, or a notary public whose resignation is required by the Governor, shall send a signed letter of resignation to the Governor and shall return his or her certificate of notary public commission. The resigning notary public shall destroy his or her official notary public seal of office, unless the Governor requests its return.
(6) No person may be automatically reappointed as a notary public. The application process must be completed regardless of whether an applicant is requesting his or her first notary commission, a renewal of a commission, or any subsequent commission.
(7)(a) A notary public shall, prior to executing the duties of the office and throughout the term of office, give bond, payable to any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the notary public acting in his or her official capacity, in the amount of $7,500, conditioned for the due discharge of the office and shall take an oath that he or she will honestly, diligently, and faithfully discharge the duties of the notary public. The bond shall be approved and filed with the Department of State and executed by a surety company for hire duly authorized to transact business in this state.
(b) Any notary public whose term of appointment extends beyond January 1, 1999, is required to increase the amount of his or her bond to $7,500 only upon reappointment on or after January 1, 1999.
(c) Beginning July 1, 1996, surety companies for hire which process notary public applications, oaths, affidavits of character, and bonds for submission to the Department of State must properly submit these documents in a software and hard copy format approved by the Department of State.
(8) Upon payment to any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the notary public, the entity who has issued the bond for the notary public shall notify the Governor of the payment and the circumstances which led to the claim.
History.s. 1, Sept. 13, 1822; RS 218; s. 1, ch. 4544, 1897; GS 302; RGS 413; CGL 479; s. 1, ch. 21765, 1943; s. 1, ch. 63-138; s. 1, ch. 65-256; ss. 1, 2, ch. 67-54; ss. 10, 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 70, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 75-161; s. 6, ch. 77-121; ss. 5, 6, ch. 81-260; s. 33, ch. 83-217; s. 3, ch. 88-557; s. 1, ch. 91-291; s. 1, ch. 92-209; s. 746, ch. 95-147; s. 18, ch. 95-280; s. 27, ch. 95-312; s. 2, ch. 96-407; s. 1, ch. 98-246; s. 9, ch. 2003-158; s. 7, ch. 2016-151; s. 2, ch. 2019-71.
117.021 Electronic notarization.
(1) Any document requiring notarization may be notarized electronically. The provisions of ss. 117.01, 117.03, 117.04, 117.05(1)-(11), (13), and (14), 117.105, and 117.107 apply to all notarizations under this section.
(2) In performing an electronic notarial act, a notary public shall use an electronic signature that is:
(a) Unique to the notary public;
(b) Capable of independent verification;
(c) Retained under the notary public’s sole control and includes access protection through the use of passwords or codes under control of the notary public; and
(d) Attached to or logically associated with the electronic document in a manner that any subsequent alteration to the electronic document displays evidence of the alteration.
(3) When a signature is required to be accompanied by a notary public seal, the requirement is satisfied when the electronic signature of the notary public contains all of the following seal information:
(a) The full name of the notary public exactly as provided on the notary public’s application for commission;
(b) The words “Notary Public State of Florida”;
(c) The date of expiration of the commission of the notary public; and
(d) The notary public’s commission number.
(4) A person may not require a notary public to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a form of technology that the notary public has not selected to use.
(5) Failure of a notary public to comply with any of the requirements of this section may constitute grounds for suspension of the notary public’s commission by the Executive Office of the Governor.
(6) The Department of State may adopt rules to ensure the security, reliability, and uniformity of signatures and seals authorized in this section.
(7) The Department of State, in collaboration with the 1Agency for State Technology, shall adopt rules establishing standards for tamper-evident technologies that will indicate any alteration or change to an electronic record after completion of an electronic notarial act. All electronic notarizations performed on or after January 1, 2020, must comply with the adopted standards.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-257; s. 3, ch. 2019-71.
1Note.Section 20.61, which created the Agency for State Technology, was repealed by s. 5, ch. 2019-118.
117.03 Administration of oaths.A notary public may administer an oath and make a certificate thereof when it is necessary for the execution of any writing or document to be published under the seal of a notary public. The notary public may not take an acknowledgment of execution in lieu of an oath if an oath is required.
History.s. 1, Sept. 13, 1822; RS 219; GS 304; RGS 415; CGL 481; s. 20, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 80-173; s. 2, ch. 91-291; s. 2, ch. 92-209; s. 2, ch. 93-62; s. 2, ch. 98-246.
117.04 Acknowledgments.A notary public is authorized to take the acknowledgments of deeds and other instruments of writing for record, as fully as other officers of this state.
History.s. 2, ch. 1127, 1860; RS 220; GS 305; RGS 416; CGL 482; s. 20, ch. 73-334; s. 8, ch. 81-260; s. 3, ch. 91-291; s. 3, ch. 93-62; s. 3, ch. 98-246.
117.045 Marriages.A notary public is authorized to solemnize the rites of matrimony. For solemnizing the rites of matrimony, the fee of a notary public may not exceed those provided by law to the clerks of the circuit court for like services.
History.s. 4, ch. 98-246.
117.05 Use of notary commission; unlawful use; notary fee; seal; duties; employer liability; name change; advertising; photocopies; penalties.
(1) A person may not obtain or use a notary public commission in other than his or her legal name, and it is unlawful for a notary public to notarize his or her own signature. Any person applying for a notary public commission must submit proof of identity to the Department of State. Any person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2)(a) The fee of a notary public may not exceed $10 for any one notarial act, except as provided in s. 117.045 or s. 117.275.
(b) A notary public may not charge a fee for witnessing a vote-by-mail ballot in an election, and must witness such a ballot upon the request of an elector, provided the notarial act is in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(3)(a) A notary public seal shall be affixed to all notarized paper documents and shall be of the rubber stamp type and shall include the words “Notary Public-State of Florida.” The seal shall also include the name of the notary public, the date of expiration of the commission of the notary public, and the commission number. The rubber stamp seal must be affixed to the notarized paper document in photographically reproducible black ink. Every notary public shall print, type, or stamp below his or her signature on a paper document his or her name exactly as commissioned. An impression-type seal may be used in addition to the rubber stamp seal, but the rubber stamp seal shall be the official seal for use on a paper document, and the impression-type seal may not be substituted therefor.
(b) The notary public official seal and the certificate of notary public commission are the exclusive property of the notary public and must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public. The seal and certificate of commission must not be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment, regardless of whether the employer paid for the seal or for the commission.
(c) A notary public whose official seal is lost, stolen, or believed to be in the possession of another person shall immediately notify the Department of State or the Governor in writing.
(d) Any person who unlawfully possesses a notary public official seal or any papers or copies relating to notarial acts is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(4) When notarizing a signature, a notary public shall complete a jurat or notarial certificate in substantially the same form as those found in subsection (13). The jurat or certificate of acknowledgment shall contain the following elements:
(a) The venue stating the location of the notary public at the time of the notarization in the format, “State of Florida, County of    .”
(b) The type of notarial act performed, an oath or an acknowledgment, evidenced by the words “sworn” or “acknowledged.”
(c) Whether the signer personally appeared before the notary public at the time of the notarization by physical presence or by means of audio-video communication technology as authorized under part II of this chapter.
(d) The exact date of the notarial act.
(e) The name of the person whose signature is being notarized. It is presumed, absent such specific notation by the notary public, that notarization is to all signatures.
(f) The specific type of identification the notary public is relying upon in identifying the signer, either based on personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence specified in subsection (5).
(g) The notary public’s official signature.
(h) The notary public’s name, which must be typed, printed, or stamped below the signature.
(i) The notary public’s official seal affixed below or to either side of the notary public’s signature.
(5) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document unless he or she personally knows, or has satisfactory evidence, that the person whose signature is to be notarized is the individual who is described in and who is executing the instrument. A notary public shall certify in the certificate of acknowledgment or jurat the type of identification, either based on personal knowledge or other form of identification, upon which the notary public is relying. In the case of an online notarization, the online notary public shall comply with the requirements set forth in part II of this chapter.
(a) For purposes of this subsection, the term “personally knows” means having an acquaintance, derived from association with the individual, which establishes the individual’s identity with at least a reasonable certainty.
(b) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “satisfactory evidence” means the absence of any information, evidence, or other circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the person whose signature is to be notarized is not the person he or she claims to be and any one of the following:
1. The sworn written statement of one credible witness personally known to the notary public or the sworn written statement of two credible witnesses whose identities are proven to the notary public upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence that each of the following is true:
a. That the person whose signature is to be notarized is the person named in the document;
b. That the person whose signature is to be notarized is personally known to the witnesses;
c. That it is the reasonable belief of the witnesses that the circumstances of the person whose signature is to be notarized are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for that person to obtain another acceptable form of identification;
d. That it is the reasonable belief of the witnesses that the person whose signature is to be notarized does not possess any of the identification documents specified in subparagraph 2.; and
e. That the witnesses do not have a financial interest in nor are parties to the underlying transaction; or
2. Reasonable reliance on the presentation to the notary public of any one of the following forms of identification, if the document is current or has been issued within the past 5 years and bears a serial or other identifying number:
a. A Florida identification card or driver license issued by the public agency authorized to issue driver licenses;
b. A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States;
c. A passport issued by a foreign government if the document is stamped by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services;
d. A driver license or an identification card issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver licenses in a state other than Florida or in a territory of the United States, or Canada or Mexico;
e. An identification card issued by any branch of the armed forces of the United States;
f. A veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs;
g. An inmate identification card issued on or after January 1, 1991, by the Florida Department of Corrections for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
h. An inmate identification card issued by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
i. A sworn, written statement from a sworn law enforcement officer that the forms of identification for an inmate in an institution of confinement were confiscated upon confinement and that the person named in the document is the person whose signature is to be notarized; or
j. An identification card issued by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
(6) The employer of a notary public shall be liable to the persons involved for all damages proximately caused by the notary’s official misconduct, if the notary public was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time the notary engaged in the official misconduct.
(7) Any person who acts as or otherwise willfully impersonates a notary public while not lawfully appointed and commissioned to perform notarial acts is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(8) Any notary public who knowingly acts as a notary public after his or her commission has expired is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(9) Any notary public who lawfully changes his or her name shall, within 60 days after such change, request an amended commission from the Secretary of State and shall send $25, his or her current commission, and a notice of change form, obtained from the Secretary of State, which shall include the new name and contain a specimen of his or her official signature. The Secretary of State shall issue an amended commission to the notary public in the new name. A rider to the notary public’s bond must accompany the notice of change form. After submitting the required notice of change form and rider to the Secretary of State, the notary public may continue to perform notarial acts in his or her former name for 60 days or until receipt of the amended commission, whichever date is earlier.
(10) A notary public who is not an attorney who advertises the services of a notary public in a language other than English, whether by radio, television, signs, pamphlets, newspapers, or other written communication, with the exception of a single desk plaque, shall post or otherwise include with the advertisement a notice in English and in the language used for the advertisement. The notice shall be of a conspicuous size, if in writing, and shall state: “I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, AND I MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE.” If the advertisement is by radio or television, the statement may be modified but must include substantially the same message.
(11) Literal translation of the phrase “Notary Public” into a language other than English is prohibited in an advertisement for notarial services.
(12)(a) A notary public may supervise the making of a copy of a tangible or an electronic record or the printing of an electronic record and attest to the trueness of the copy or of the printout, provided the document is neither a vital record in this state, another state, a territory of the United States, or another country, nor a public record, if a copy can be made by the custodian of the public record.
(b) A notary public must use a certificate in substantially the following form in notarizing an attested copy:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

On this   day of   ,   (year)  , I attest that the preceding or attached document is a true, exact, complete, and unaltered photocopy made by me of   (description of document)   presented to me by the document’s custodian,     , and, to the best of my knowledge, that the photocopied document is neither a vital record nor a public record, certified copies of which are available from an official source other than a notary public.

  (Official Notary Signature and Notary Seal)  

  (Name of Notary Typed, Printed or Stamped)  

(c) A notary public must use a certificate in substantially the following form in notarizing a copy of a tangible or an electronic record or a printout of an electronic record:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

On this   day of   ,   (year)  , I attest that the preceding or attached document is a true, exact, complete, and unaltered   (copy of a tangible or an electronic record presented to me by the document’s custodian)   or a   (printout made by me from such record)  . If a printout, I further attest that, at the time of printing, no security features, if any, present on the electronic record, indicated that the record had been altered since execution.

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

(13) The following notarial certificates are sufficient for the purposes indicated, if completed with the information required by this chapter. The specification of forms under this subsection does not preclude the use of other forms.
(a) For an oath or affirmation:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person making statement)  .

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

(b) For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person acknowledging)  .

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

(c) For an acknowledgment in a representative capacity:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person)   as   (type of authority, . . . e.g. officer, trustee, attorney in fact)   for   (name of party on behalf of whom instrument was executed)  .

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

(14) A notary public must make reasonable accommodations to provide notarial services to persons with disabilities.
(a) A notary public may notarize the signature of a person who is blind after the notary public has read the entire instrument to that person.
(b) A notary public may notarize the signature of a person who signs with a mark if:
1. The document signing is witnessed by two disinterested persons;
2. The notary public prints the person’s first name at the beginning of the designated signature line and the person’s last name at the end of the designated signature line; and
3. The notary public prints the words “his (or her) mark” below the person’s signature mark.
(c) The following notarial certificates are sufficient for the purpose of notarizing for a person who signs with a mark:
1. For an oath or affirmation:

  (First Name)    (Last Name)  

  His (or Her) Mark  

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

Sworn to and subscribed before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person making statement)  , who signed with a mark in the presence of these witnesses:

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

2. For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:

  (First Name)    (Last Name)  

  His (or Her) Mark  

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person acknowledging)  , who signed with a mark in the presence of these witnesses:

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

(d) A notary public may sign the name of a person whose signature is to be notarized when that person is physically unable to sign or make a signature mark on a document if:
1. The person with a disability directs the notary public to sign in his or her presence by verbal, written, or other means;
2. The document signing is witnessed by two disinterested persons; and
3. The notary public writes below the signature the following statement: “Signature affixed by notary, pursuant to s. 117.05(14), Florida Statutes,” and states the circumstances and the means by which the notary public was directed to sign the notarial certificate.

The notary public must maintain the proof of direction and authorization to sign on behalf of the person with a disability for 10 years from the date of the notarial act.

(e) The following notarial certificates are sufficient for the purpose of notarizing for a person with a disability who directs the notary public to sign his or her name:
1. For an oath or affirmation:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

Sworn to (or affirmed) before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person making statement)  , and subscribed by   (name of notary)   at the direction of   (name of person making statement)   by   (written, verbal, or other means)  , and in the presence of these witnesses:

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

2. For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF   

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person acknowledging)   and subscribed by   (name of notary)   at the direction of   (name of person acknowledging)  , and in the presence of these witnesses:

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

History.ch. 3874, 1889; RS 221; GS 306; RGS 417; CGL 483; s. 8, ch. 81-260; s. 4, ch. 91-291; s. 3, ch. 92-209; s. 4, ch. 93-62; s. 747, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 97-241; s. 33, ch. 98-129; s. 5, ch. 98-246; s. 46, ch. 99-2; s. 7, ch. 2004-5; s. 19, ch. 2014-17; s. 40, ch. 2016-37; s. 1, ch. 2017-17; s. 4, ch. 2019-71.
117.06 Validity of acts prior to April 1, 1903.Any and all notarial acts that were done by any notary public in the state prior to April 1, 1903, which would have been valid had not the term of office of the notary public expired, are declared to be valid.
History.s. 1, ch. 5217, 1903; GS 307; RGS 418; CGL 484.
117.10 Law enforcement and correctional officers; administration of oaths.
(1) For purposes of this section, the term “reliable electronic means” means the signing and transmission of a document through means compliant with criminal justice information system security measures. Such signing and transmission must be made by an affiant to an officer authorized to administer oaths under subsection (2) under circumstances that indicate that the document was submitted by the affiant.
(2) Law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and correctional probation officers, as defined in s. 943.10, and traffic accident investigation officers and traffic infraction enforcement officers, as described in s. 316.640, are authorized to administer oaths by reliable electronic means or in the physical presence of an affiant when engaged in the performance of official duties. Sections 117.01, 117.04, 117.045, 117.05, and 117.103 do not apply to this section. An officer may not notarize his or her own signature.
(3) An oath administered pursuant to this section is an acceptable method of verification as provided under s. 92.525.
History.s. 4, ch. 84-97; s. 43, ch. 89-526; s. 2, ch. 91-174; s. 9, ch. 91-291; s. 748, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 95-283; s. 6, ch. 98-246; s. 2, ch. 2015-23.
117.103 Certification of notary’s authority by Secretary of State.A notary public is not required to record his or her notary public commission in an office of a clerk of the circuit court. If certification of the notary public’s commission is required, it must be obtained from the Secretary of State. Upon the receipt of a written request and a fee of $10 payable to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State shall issue a certificate of notarial authority, in a form prescribed by the Secretary of State, which shall include a statement explaining the legal qualifications and authority of a notary public in this state.
History.s. 5, ch. 91-291; s. 7, ch. 98-246; s. 73, ch. 99-251.
117.105 False or fraudulent acknowledgments; penalty.A notary public who falsely or fraudulently takes an acknowledgment of an instrument as a notary public or who falsely or fraudulently makes a certificate as a notary public or who falsely takes or receives an acknowledgment of the signature on a written instrument is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 6, ch. 91-291.
117.107 Prohibited acts.
(1) A notary public may not use a name or initial in signing certificates other than that by which the notary public is commissioned.
(2) A notary public may not sign notarial certificates using a facsimile signature stamp unless the notary public has a physical disability that limits or prohibits his or her ability to make a written signature and unless the notary public has first submitted written notice to the Department of State with an exemplar of the facsimile signature stamp. This subsection does not apply to or prohibit the use of an electronic signature and seal by a notary public who is registered as an online notary public to perform an electronic or online notarization in accordance with this chapter.
(3) A notary public may not affix his or her signature to a blank form of affidavit or certificate of acknowledgment and deliver that form to another person with the intent that it be used as an affidavit or acknowledgment.
(4) A notary public may not take the acknowledgment of or administer an oath to a person whom the notary public actually knows to have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated by a court of competent jurisdiction, where the acknowledgment or oath necessitates the exercise of a right that has been removed pursuant to s. 744.3215(2) or (3), and where the person has not been restored to capacity as a matter of record.
(5) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if it appears that the person is mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the document at the time of notarization.
(6) A notary public may not take the acknowledgment of a person who does not speak or understand the English language, unless the nature and effect of the instrument to be notarized is translated into a language which the person does understand.
(7) A notary public may not change anything in a written instrument after it has been signed by anyone.
(8) A notary public may not amend a notarial certificate after the notarization is complete.
(9) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the person whose signature is being notarized does not appear before the notary public either by means of physical presence or by means of audio-video communication technology as authorized under part II of this chapter at the time the signature is notarized. Any notary public who violates this subsection is guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by penalty not exceeding $5,000, and such violation constitutes malfeasance and misfeasance in the conduct of official duties. It is no defense to the civil infraction specified in this subsection that the notary public acted without intent to defraud. A notary public who violates this subsection with the intent to defraud is guilty of violating s. 117.105.
(10) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the document is incomplete or blank. However, an endorsement or assignment in blank of a negotiable or nonnegotiable note and the assignment in blank of any instrument given as security for such note is not deemed incomplete.
(11) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the person whose signature is to be notarized is the spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father of the notary public.
(12) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the notary public has a financial interest in or is a party to the underlying transaction; however, a notary public who is an employee may notarize a signature for his or her employer, and this employment does not constitute a financial interest in the transaction nor make the notary a party to the transaction under this subsection as long as he or she does not receive a benefit other than his or her salary and the fee for services as a notary public authorized by law. For purposes of this subsection, a notary public who is an attorney does not have a financial interest in and is not a party to the underlying transaction evidenced by a notarized document if he or she notarizes a signature on that document for a client for whom he or she serves as an attorney of record and he or she has no interest in the document other than the fee paid to him or her for legal services and the fee authorized by law for services as a notary public.
History.s. 7, ch. 91-291; s. 4, ch. 92-209; s. 749, ch. 95-147; s. 19, ch. 95-280; s. 8, ch. 98-246; s. 33, ch. 2006-178; s. 5, ch. 2019-71.
117.108 Validity of acts, seals, and certificates prior to January 1, 1995.A notarial act performed, a notarial certificate signed, or a notarial seal used by any notary public before January 1, 1995, which would have been valid under the laws in effect in this state on January 1, 1991, is valid.
History.s. 5, ch. 93-62.
PART II
ONLINE NOTARIZATIONS
117.201 Definitions.
117.209 Authority to perform online notarizations.
117.215 Relation to other laws.
117.225 Registration; qualifications.
117.235 Performance of notarial acts.
117.245 Electronic journal of online notarizations.
117.255 Use of electronic journal, signature, and seal.
117.265 Online notarization procedures.
117.275 Fees for online notarization.
117.285 Supervising the witnessing of electronic records.
117.295 Standards for electronic and online notarization; rulemaking authority.
117.305 Relation to federal law.
117.201 Definitions.As used in this part, the term:
(1) “Appear before,” “before,” or “in the presence of” means:
(a) In the physical presence of another person; or
(b) Outside of the physical presence of another person, but able to see, hear, and communicate with the person by means of audio-video communication technology.
(2) “Audio-video communication technology” means technology in compliance with applicable law which enables real-time, two-way communication using electronic means in which participants are able to see, hear, and communicate with one another.
(3) “Credential analysis” means a process or service, in compliance with applicable law, in which a third party aids a notary public in affirming the validity of a government-issued identification credential and data thereon through review of public or proprietary data sources.
(4) “Electronic,” “electronic record,” or “electronic signature” has the same meaning as provided in s. 668.50.
(5) “Errors and omissions insurance” means a type of insurance that provides coverage for potential errors or omissions in or relating to the notarial act and is maintained, as applicable, by the online notary public or his or her employer, or a Remote Online Notarization service provider.
(6) “Government-issued identification credential” means any approved credential for verifying identity under s. 117.05(5)(b)2.
(7) “Identity proofing” means a process or service in compliance with applicable law in which a third party affirms the identity of an individual through use of public or proprietary data sources, which may include by means of knowledge-based authentication or biometric verification.
(8) “Knowledge-based authentication” means a form of identity proofing based on a set of questions which pertain to an individual and are formulated from public or proprietary data sources.
(9) “Online notarization” means the performance of a notarial act using electronic means in which the principal appears before the notary public by means of audio-video communication technology.
(10) “Online notary public” means a notary public commissioned under part I of this chapter, a civil-law notary appointed under chapter 118, or a commissioner of deeds appointed under part IV of chapter 721, who has registered with the Department of State to perform online notarizations under this part.
(11) “Physical presence” means being in the same physical location as another person and close enough to see, hear, communicate with, and exchange credentials with that person.
(12) “Principal” means an individual whose electronic signature is acknowledged, witnessed, or attested to in an online notarization or who takes an oath or affirmation administered by the online notary public.
(13) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form, including public records as defined in s. 119.011.
(14) “Remote Online Notarization service provider” or “RON service provider” means a person that provides audio-video communication technology and related processes, services, software, data storage, or other services to online notaries public for the purpose of directly facilitating their performance of online notarizations in compliance with this chapter and any rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to s. 117.295.
(15) “Remote presentation” means transmission of an image of a government-issued identification credential that is of sufficient quality to enable the online notary public to identify the individual seeking the notary’s services and to perform credential analysis through audio-video communication technology.
History.s. 6, ch. 2019-71.
117.209 Authority to perform online notarizations.
(1) An online notary public may perform any of the functions authorized under part I of this chapter as an online notarization by complying with the requirements of this part and any rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to s. 117.295, excluding solemnizing the rites of matrimony.
(2) If a notarial act requires a principal to appear before or in the presence of the online notary public, the principal may appear before the online notary public by means of audio-video communication technology that meets the requirements of this part and any rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to s. 117.295.
(3) An online notary public physically located in this state may perform an online notarization as authorized under this part, regardless of whether the principal or any witnesses are physically located in this state at the time of the online notarization. A commissioner of deeds registered as an online notary public may perform an online notarization while physically located within or outside the state in accordance with the territorial limits of its jurisdiction and other limitations and requirements otherwise applicable to notarial acts by commissioners of deeds.
(4) The validity of an online notarization performed by an online notary public registered in this state shall be determined by applicable laws of this state regardless of the physical location of the principal or any witnesses at the time of the notarial act.
History.s. 7, ch. 2019-71.
117.215 Relation to other laws.
(1) If a provision of law requires a notary public or other authorized official of this state to notarize a signature or a statement, to take an acknowledgment of an instrument, or to administer an oath or affirmation so that a document may be sworn, affirmed, made under oath, or subject to penalty of perjury, an online notarization performed in accordance with the provisions of this part and any rules adopted hereunder satisfies such requirement.
(2) If a provision of law requires a signature or an act to be witnessed, compliance with the online electronic witnessing standards prescribed in s. 117.285 and any rules adopted thereunder satisfies that requirement.
History.s. 8, ch. 2019-71.
117.225 Registration; qualifications.A notary public, a civil-law notary appointed under chapter 118, or a commissioner of deeds appointed under part IV of chapter 721 may complete registration as an online notary public with the Department of State by:
(1) Holding a current commission as a notary public under part I of this chapter, an appointment as a civil-law notary under chapter 118, or an appointment as a commissioner of deeds under part IV of chapter 721, and submitting a copy of such commission or proof of such appointment with his or her registration.
(2) Certifying that the notary public, civil-law notary, or commissioner of deeds registering as an online notary public has completed a classroom or online course covering the duties, obligations, and technology requirements for serving as an online notary public.
(3) Paying a notary public registration fee as required by s. 113.01.
(4) Submitting a registration as an online notary public to the Department of State, signed and sworn to by the registrant.
(5) Identifying the RON service provider whose audio-video communication technology and processes for credential analysis and identity-proofing technologies the registrant intends to use for online notarizations, and confirming that such technology and processes satisfy the requirements of this chapter and any rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to s. 117.295.
(6) Providing evidence satisfactory to the Department of State that the registrant has obtained a bond in the amount of $25,000, payable to any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the registrant acting in his or her official capacity as an online notary public, conditioned for the due discharge of the office, and on such terms as are specified in rule by the Department of State as reasonably necessary to protect the public. The bond shall be approved and filed with the Department of State and executed by a surety company duly authorized to transact business in this state. Compliance by an online notary public with this requirement shall satisfy the requirement of obtaining a bond under s. 117.01(7).
(7) Providing evidence satisfactory to the Department of State that the registrant acting in his or her capacity as an online notary public is covered by an errors and omissions insurance policy from an insurer authorized to transact business in this state, in the minimum amount of $25,000 and on such terms as are specified by rule by the Department of State as reasonably necessary to protect the public.
History.s. 9, ch. 2019-71.
117.235 Performance of notarial acts.
(1) An online notary public is subject to part I of this chapter to the same extent as a notary public appointed and commissioned only under that part, including the provisions of s. 117.021 relating to electronic notarizations.
(2) An online notary public may perform notarial acts as provided by part I of this chapter in addition to performing online notarizations as authorized and pursuant to the provisions of this part.
History.s. 10, ch. 2019-71.
117.245 Electronic journal of online notarizations.
(1) An online notary public shall keep one or more secure electronic journals of online notarizations performed by the online notary public. For each online notarization, the electronic journal entry must contain all of the following:
(a) The date and time of the notarization.
(b) The type of notarial act.
(c) The type, the title, or a description of the electronic record or proceeding.
(d) The name and address of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding.
(e) Evidence of identity of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding in any of the following forms:
1. A statement that the person is personally known to the online notary public.
2. A notation of the type of government-issued identification credential provided to the online notary public.
(f) An indication that the principal satisfactorily passed the identity proofing.
(g) An indication that the government-issued identification credential satisfied the credential analysis.
(h) The fee, if any, charged for the notarization.
(2) The online notary public shall retain an uninterrupted and unedited copy of the recording of the audio-video communication in which an online notarization is performed. The recording must include all of the following:
(a) Appearance by the principal and any witness before the online notary public.
(b) Confirmation of the identity of the principal and any witness.
(c) A general description or identification of the records to be signed.
(d) At the commencement of the recording, recitation by the online notary public of information sufficient to identify the notarial act.
(e) A declaration by the principal that his or her signature on the record is knowingly and voluntarily made.
(f) All of the actions and spoken words of the principal, notary public, and any required witness during the entire online notarization, including the signing of any records before the online notary public.
(3) The online notary public shall take reasonable steps to:
(a) Ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of online notarizations.
(b) Maintain a backup record of the electronic journal required by subsection (1).
(c) Protect the electronic journal, the backup record, and any other records received by the online notary public from unauthorized access or use.
(4) The electronic journal required under subsection (1) and the recordings of audio-video communications required under subsection (2) shall be maintained for at least 10 years after the date of the notarial act. However, a full copy of the recording of the audio-video communication required under subsection (2) relating to an online notarization session that involves the signing of an electronic will must be maintained by a qualified custodian in accordance with chapters 731 and 732. The Department of State maintains jurisdiction over the electronic journal and audio-video communication recordings to investigate notarial misconduct for a period of 10 years after the date of the notarial act. The online notary public, a guardian of an incapacitated online notary public, or the personal representative of a deceased online notary public may, by contract with a secure repository in accordance with any rules established under this chapter, delegate to the repository the online notary public’s duty to retain the electronic journal and the required recordings of audio-video communications, provided that the Department of State is notified of such delegation of retention duties to the repository within 30 days thereafter, including the address and contact information for the repository. If an online notary public delegates to a secure repository under this section, the online notary public shall make an entry in his or her electronic journal identifying such repository, and provide notice to the Department of State as required in this subsection.
(5) An omitted or incomplete entry in the electronic journal does not impair the validity of the notarial act or of the electronic record which was notarized, but may be introduced as evidence to establish violations of this chapter; as evidence of possible fraud, forgery, impersonation, duress, incapacity, undue influence, minority, illegality, 1or unconscionability; or for other evidentiary purposes. However, if the recording of the audio-video communication required under subsection (2) relating to the online notarization of the execution of an electronic will cannot be produced by the online notary public or the qualified custodian, the electronic will shall be treated as a lost or destroyed will subject to s. 733.207.
History.s. 11, ch. 2019-71.
1Note.The word “or” was inserted by the editors to improve clarity.
117.255 Use of electronic journal, signature, and seal.An online notary public shall:
(1) Take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered device used to create an electronic seal is current and has not been revoked or terminated by the issuing or registering authority of the device.
(2) Keep the electronic journal and electronic seal secure and under his or her sole control, which includes access protection using passwords or codes under control of the online notary public. The online notary public may not allow another person to use the online notary public’s electronic journal, electronic signature, or electronic seal, other than a RON service provider or other authorized person providing services to an online notary public to facilitate performance of online notarizations.
(3) Attach or logically associate the electronic signature and seal to the electronic notarial certificate of an electronic record in a manner that is capable of independent verification using tamper-evident technology that renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic record evident.
(4) Notify an appropriate law enforcement agency and the Department of State of any unauthorized use of or compromise to the security of the electronic journal, official electronic signature, or electronic seal within 7 days after discovery of such unauthorized use or compromise to security.
(5) Make electronic copies, upon request, of the pertinent entries in the electronic journal and provide access to the related audio-video communication recordings to the following persons:
(a) The parties to an electronic record notarized by the online notary public;
(b) The qualified custodian of an electronic will notarized by the online notary public;
(c) The title agent, settlement agent, or title insurer who insured the electronic record or engaged the online notary public with regard to a real estate transaction;
(d) The online notary public’s RON service provider whose services were used by the online notary public to notarize the electronic record;
(e) Any person who is asked to accept a power of attorney that was notarized by the online notary public;
(f) The Department of State pursuant to a notary misconduct investigation; and
(g) Any other persons pursuant to a subpoena, court order, law enforcement investigation, or other lawful inspection demand.
(6) The online notary public may charge a fee not to exceed $20 per transaction record for making and delivering electronic copies of a given series of related electronic records, except if requested by:
(a) A party to the electronic record;
(b) In a real estate transaction, the title agent, settlement agent, or title insurer who insured the electronic record or engaged the online notary public with regard to such transaction; or
(c) The Department of State pursuant to an investigation relating to the official misconduct of an online notary public.

If the online notary public does charge a fee, the online notary public shall disclose the amount of such fee to the requester before making the electronic copies.

History.s. 12, ch. 2019-71.
117.265 Online notarization procedures.
(1) An online notary public physically located in this state may perform an online notarization that meets the requirements of this part regardless of whether the principal or any witnesses are physically located in this state at the time of the online notarization. A commissioner of deeds registered as an online notary public may perform an online notarization while physically located within or outside of this state in accordance with the territorial limits of its jurisdiction and other limitations and requirements otherwise applicable to notarial acts by commissioners of deeds. An online notarization performed in accordance with this chapter is deemed to have been performed within this state and is governed by the applicable laws of this state.
(2) In performing an online notarization, an online notary public shall confirm the identity of a principal and any witness appearing online, at the time that the signature is taken, by using audio-video communication technology and processes that meet the requirements of this part and of any rules adopted hereunder and record the two-way audio-video conference session between the notary public and the principal and any witnesses. A principal may not act in the capacity of a witness for his or her own signature in an online notarization.
(3) In performing an online notarization of a principal not located within this state, an online notary public must confirm, either verbally or through the principal’s written consent, that the principal desires for the notarial act to be performed by a Florida notary public and under the general law of this state.
(4) An online notary public shall confirm the identity of the principal by:
(a) Personal knowledge of each principal; or
(b) All of the following, as such criteria may be modified or supplemented in rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to s. 117.295:
1. Remote presentation of a government-issued identification credential by each principal.
2. Credential analysis of each government-issued identification credential.
3. Identity proofing of each principal in the form of knowledge-based authentication or another method of identity proofing that conforms to the standards of this chapter.

If the online notary public is unable to satisfy subparagraphs 1.-3., or if the databases consulted for identity proofing do not contain sufficient information to permit authentication, the online notary public may not perform the online notarization.

(5) An online notary public may change his or her RON service provider or providers from time to time, but shall notify the Department of State of such change within 30 days thereafter.
(6) The online notary public or his or her RON service provider shall take reasonable steps to ensure that the audio-video communication technology used in an online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception.
(7) The electronic notarial certificate for an online notarization must include a notation that the notarization is an online notarization which may be satisfied by placing the term “online notary” in or adjacent to the online notary public’s seal.
(8) Except where otherwise expressly provided in this part, the provisions of part I of this chapter apply to an online notarization and an online notary public.
(9) Any failure to comply with the online notarization procedures set forth in this section does not impair the validity of the notarial act or the electronic record that was notarized, but may be introduced as evidence to establish violations of this chapter or as an indication of possible fraud, forgery, impersonation, duress, incapacity, undue influence, minority, illegality, 1or unconscionability, or for other evidentiary purposes. This subsection may not be construed to alter the duty of an online notary public to comply with this chapter and any rules adopted hereunder.
History.s. 13, ch. 2019-71.
1Note.The word “or” was inserted by the editors to improve clarity.
117.275 Fees for online notarization.An online notary public or the employer of such online notary public may charge a fee, not to exceed $25, for performing an online notarization under this part. Fees for services other than notarial acts are not governed by this section.
History.s. 14, ch. 2019-71.
117.285 Supervising the witnessing of electronic records.An online notary public may supervise the witnessing of electronic records by the same audio-video communication technology used for online notarization, as follows:
(1) The witness may be in the physical presence of the principal or remote from the principal provided the witness and principal are using audio-video communication technology.
(2) If the witness is remote from the principal and viewing and communicating with the principal by means of audio-video communication technology, the witness’s identity must be verified in accordance with the procedures for identifying a principal as set forth in s. 117.265(4). If the witness is in the physical presence of the principal, the witness must confirm his or her identity by stating his or her name and current address on the audio-video recording as part of the act of witnessing.
(3) The act of witnessing an electronic signature means the witness is either in the physical presence of the principal or present through audio-video communication technology at the time the principal affixes the electronic signature and the witness hears the principal make a statement to the effect that the principal has signed the electronic record.
(4) A witness remote from the principal and appearing through audio-video communication technology must verbally confirm that he or she is a resident of and physically located within the United States or a territory of the United States at the time of witnessing.
(5) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3), if an electronic record to be signed is a will under chapter 732, a trust with testamentary aspects under chapter 736, a health care advance directive, a waiver of spousal rights under s. 732.701 or s. 732.702, or a power of attorney authorizing any of the transactions enumerated in s. 709.2208, the following shall apply:
(a) Prior to facilitating witnessing of an instrument by means of audio-video communication technology, a RON service provider shall require the principal to answer the following questions in substantially the following form:

1. Are you under the influence of any drug or alcohol today that impairs your ability to make decisions?

2. Do you have any physical or mental condition or long-term disability that impairs your ability to perform the normal activities of daily living?

3. Do you require assistance with daily care?

(b) If any question required under paragraph (a) is answered in the affirmative, the principal’s signature on the instrument may only be validly witnessed by witnesses in the physical presence of the principal at the time of signing.
(c) Subsequent to submission of the answers required under paragraph (a), the RON service provider shall give the principal written notice in substantially the following form:

NOTICE: If you are a vulnerable adult as defined in s. 415.102, Florida Statutes, the documents you are about to sign are not valid if witnessed by means of audio-video communication technology. If you suspect you may be a vulnerable adult, you should have witnesses physically present with you before signing.

(d) The act of witnessing an electronic signature through the witness’s presence by audio-video communication technology is valid only if, during the audio-video communication, the principal provides verbal answers to all of the following questions, each of which must be asked by the online notary public in substantially the following form:

1. Are you currently married? If so, name your spouse.

2. Please state the names of anyone who assisted you in accessing this video conference today.

3. Please state the names of anyone who assisted you in preparing the documents you are signing today.

4. Where are you currently located?

5. Who is in the room with you?

(e) An online notary public shall consider the responses to the questions specified in paragraph (d) in carrying out of the duties of a notary public as set forth in s. 117.107(5).
(f) A principal’s responses to the questions in paragraphs (a) and (d) may be offered as evidence regarding the validity of the instrument, but an incorrect answer may not serve as the sole basis to invalidate an instrument.
(g) The presence of a witness with the principal at the time of signing by means of audio-video communication technology is not effective for witnessing the signature of a principal who is a vulnerable adult as defined in s. 415.102. The contestant of an electronic record has the burden of proving that the principal was a vulnerable adult at the time of executing the electronic record.
(h) Nothing in this subsection shall preclude a power of attorney, which includes banking or investment powers enumerated in s. 709.2208, from being effective with respect to any other authority granted therein or with respect to the agent’s authority in connection with a real property, commercial, or consumer transaction or loan, to exercise any power specified therein or to execute and deliver instruments obligating the principal or to draw upon the proceeds of such transaction or loan.
(i) The electronic record containing an instrument signed by witnesses who were present with the principal by means of audio-video communication technology shall contain a perceptible indication of their presence by such means.
(j) Nothing in this subsection shall affect the application of s. 709.2119.
(6) Pursuant to subpoena, court order, an authorized law enforcement inquiry, or other lawful request, a RON service provider or online notary public shall provide:
(a) The last known address of each witness who witnessed the signing of an electronic record using audio-video communication technology under this section.
(b) A principal’s responses to the questions in paragraph (5)(a) or paragraph (5)(b), as applicable.
(c) An uninterrupted and unedited copy of the recording of the audio-video communication in which an online notarization is performed.
(7) Except as set forth in s. 709.2202, an act of witnessing performed pursuant to this section satisfies any requirement that the witness must be a subscribing or attesting witness or must be in the presence of the principal at the time of signing.
(8) The law of this state governs the validity of witnessing supervised by an online notary public pursuant to this section, regardless of the physical location of the witness at the time of witnessing. State and federal courts in this state have subject matter jurisdiction over any dispute arising out of an act of witnessing pursuant to this section, and may issue subpoenas for records or to require the appearance of witnesses in relation thereto in accordance with applicable law.
History.s. 15, ch. 2019-71.
117.295 Standards for electronic and online notarization; rulemaking authority.
(1) For purposes of this part, the Department of State may adopt rules necessary to implement the requirements of this chapter and to set standards for online notarization which include, but are not limited to:
(a) Improvements in technology and methods of assuring the identity of principals and the security of an electronic record, including tamper-evident technologies in compliance with the standards adopted pursuant to s. 117.021 which apply to online notarizations.
(b) Education requirements for online notaries public and the required terms of bonds and errors and omissions insurance, but not including the amounts of such bonds and insurance policies.
(c) Identity proofing, credential analysis, unauthorized interception, remote presentation, audio-video communication technology, and retention of electronic journals and copies of audio-video communications recordings in a secure repository.
(2) By January 1, 2020, the Department of State shall adopt forms, processes, and interim or emergency rules necessary to accept applications from and register online notaries public pursuant to s. 117.225.
(3) Until such time as the Department of State adopts rules setting standards that are equally or more protective, the following minimum standards shall apply to any online notarization performed by an online notary public of this state or his or her RON service provider:
(a) Use of identity proofing by means of knowledge-based authentication which must have, at a minimum, the following security characteristics:
1. The principal must be presented with five or more questions with a minimum of five possible answer choices per question.
2. Each question must be drawn from a third-party provider of public and proprietary data sources and be identifiable to the principal’s social security number or other identification information, or the principal’s identity and historical events records.
3. Responses to all questions must be made within a 2-minute time constraint.
4. The principal must answer a minimum of 80 percent of the questions correctly.
5. The principal may be offered one additional attempt in the event of a failed attempt.
6. During the second attempt, the principal may not be presented with more than three questions from the prior attempt.
(b) Use of credential analysis using one or more commercially available automated software or hardware processes that are consistent with sound commercial practices; that aid the notary public in verifying the authenticity of the credential by analyzing the integrity of visual, physical, or cryptographic security features to indicate that the credential is not fraudulent or inappropriately modified; and that use information held or published by the issuing source or authoritative source, as available, to confirm the validity of credential details. The output of the credential analysis process must be provided to the online notary public performing the notarial act.
(c) Use of audio-video communication technology in completing online notarizations that must meet the following requirements:
1. The signal transmission must be reasonably secure from interception, access, or viewing by anyone other than the participants communicating.
2. The technology must provide sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the notary to communicate with the principal and any witness, and to confirm the identity of the principal and any witness, as required, using the identification methods described in s. 117.265.
(4) A RON service provider is deemed to have satisfied tamper-evident technology requirements by use of technology that renders any subsequent change or modification to the electronic record evident.
(5) In addition to any coverage it elects to provide for individual online notaries public, maintenance of errors and omissions insurance coverage by a RON service provider in a total amount of at least $250,000 in the annual aggregate with respect to potential errors or omissions in or relating to the technology or processes provided by the RON service provider. An online notary public is not responsible for the security of the systems used by the principal or others to access the online notarization session.
(6) A 2-hour in-person or online course addressing the duties, obligations, and technology requirements for serving as an online notary public offered by the Florida Land Title Association; the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar; the Florida Legal Education Association, Inc.; the Department of State; or a vendor approved by the Department of State shall satisfy the education requirements of s. 117.225(2). Each such provider shall make the in-person or online course generally available to all applicants. Regardless of membership in the provider’s organization, the provider shall charge each attendee the same cost for the course unless the course is provided in conjunction with a regularly scheduled meeting of the provider’s membership.
(7) The rulemaking required under this section is exempt from s. 120.541(3).
History.s. 16, ch. 2019-71.
117.305 Relation to federal law.This part supersedes the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act as authorized under 15 U.S.C. ss. 7001 et seq., but does not modify, limit, or supersede s. 101(c) of that act, 15 U.S.C. s. 7001(c), or authorize the electronic delivery of the notices described in 15 U.S.C. s. 7003(b).
History.s. 17, ch. 2019-71.