Some US states have passed the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). The section numbering and exact wording will vary from state to state, but the linked proposed version states in section 2:

(5) “Notarial act” means an act,...The term includes taking an acknowledgment, administering an oath or affirmation, taking a verification on oath or affirmation...."


(a) A notarial officer who takes an acknowledgment of a record shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual, that the individual appearing before the officer and making the acknowledgment has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual.

There is similar language for a verification of a statement on oath or affirmation and witnessing or attesting to a signature, but no language requiring a notary who administers an oath or affirmation.

My reading of this is that, as most Americans are accustomed to, a notary must establish the identity of a person giving an acknowledgement. The long-standing custom in many states (that will come as a shock to many Americans) that a notary need not establish the identity of a person who takes an oath or affirmation is retained. The exception is verification on oath or affirmation, which means swearing or affirming that a certain written statement is true.

Examples of oaths that are not verifications on oath or affirmation, and which would not require identifying the person, would be oaths of office, promises about future behavior, or oaths before oral testimony.

One of the states that adopted RULONA, Oregon, published a notary guide which has a different reading. On page 26 it states "Make a careful identification of the signer." There is no qualification about which notarial acts require identification, and which don't.

My reason for asking is that RULONA has been introduced in the legislature in my state, Vermont, and I have been in contact with the responsible committees about various problems with the way the Vermont version was written.

My question is whether, in RULONA states, oaths and affirmations that are not verifications require the notary to establish the identity of the person taking the oath or affirmation?


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