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COVID-19 Social Distance Guidelines for Notarization

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

The physical presence of the signer is a must in the procedure of the traditional notarization, which means the notary and the signer should be face to face in the same location. The following Social Distancing With Physically Present Principals is suggested by the American Society of Notaries.

When notarizing for a physically present principal:

1. Wear protective items such as a mask and gloves.

2. Ensure that you and the principal signer each have your own pen; avoid sharing a single pen.

3. Maintain the recommended distance of at least 6 feet away from the principal at ​all times.

4. While maintaining distance, ensure you have a direct line of sight with the principal at all times and can clearly communicate verbally with him or her. Examples include being at opposite ends of a long table or porch; or being separated by a see-through panel (glass or other clear material). The setup must allow the document(s) and identification credentials to be passed back and forth without hampering full and clear visual observation of the principal signer and clear verbal communication.

5. When passing documents and ID credentials back and forth, each person should place the document or credential at a central exchange point and step back to allow the other to retrieve the item(s) while maintaining the recommended 6-foot distance. For every necessary action on the document (for example, your review of the document to observe the required notarial act and document completeness), the entire document should be passed back-and-forth between you and the principal, every time.

6. Remember the requirements for acknowledgments and oaths/affirmations (jurats, verifications):

  • If the notarial act is an acknowledgment, the document may be signed in the Notary's presence or sometime before. In both circumstances, the signer must verbally acknowledge his or her signature to the Notary.

  • If the notarial act is an oath/affirmation (jurat, verification), the Notary must witness the principal's signature. The Notary will then administer the oath/affirmation verbally to the principal.

  • When witnessing the principal's signature, always ensure that your view is clear and unobstructed.

7. Complete the notarial certificate while in line-of-sight with the principal. Maintain possession of the document until the journal entry is signed (next).

8. Complete the journal entry while in line-of-sight with the principal, then place the journal at the central exchange point. The principal will sign the journal and leave it at the central exchange point for you to retrieve. When retrieving the journal, place the document at the central exchange point for the principal to retrieve.

9. Try to avoid paying notarization fees in cash. American Notary Service Center adopts "pay online in advance" or a contactless payment method to ensure to minimize the back and forth contact of cash or checks.


American Notary Service Center Inc. provides fair, fast, confidential, and professional document notarization and certification services for our clients. We also provide various assistance services to small businesses led by socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Our service helps small businesses obtain federal government contracts, gain a foothold in the market, and boost their sales. For more information, please visit our website at, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at


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