TITLE 29

State Government

State Agencies and Offices Not Created by Constitution

CHAPTER 43. NOTARIES PUBLIC

Subchapter I. Office and Duties


(a) In addition to the notaries public authorized to be appointed under §§ 4302-4306 of this title, the Governor may appoint as many notaries public as the Governor may decide is necessary and proper in each county of the State. The Governor may delegate such duties relative to the appointment of notaries to the Secretary of State as the Governor may decide is necessary and proper. For purposes of this title, "Secretary" shall mean the Secretary of State. Any person who acts as a notary under Delaware law shall register and be commissioned and otherwise be in compliance with the provisions of this title.

(b) Any person who desires to become a notary shall be at least 18 years of age and shall provide such evidence as the Secretary may require to show:

(1) Good character and reputation;

(2) A reasonable need for a notary commission; and

(3) Legal residence including street address of the notary within the State.

(c) The Governor may also appoint, as notaries public for notarial acts other than electronic notarial acts, nonresidents of this State who otherwise meet the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section, provided that such individuals maintain an office or regular place of employment in Delaware. Nonresidents seeking appointments as notaries public shall include in their application a residential address and a Delaware employment address. Those appointed as notaries shall also notify the Secretary of each change of address within 30 days of such change. All addresses required by this subsection shall include a street address.

Service of process, subpoenas and other documents upon nonresident notaries may be made personally or by leaving them with any person of suitable age and discretion at the Delaware place of employment. Substituted service shall be effectual if served upon the Secretary of State, under the guideline of § 376(b) of Title 8 in the event that the office has been closed or such individual ceases to be regularly employed at the filed Delaware employment address. The Secretary of State shall then forward such documents to the filed residential address.

(d) The Governor, or as permitted, the Secretary may revoke any notary commission for cause.

(e) The Secretary may promulgate regulations or establish such additional standards and guidelines governing applications, registrations, appointments, and the conduct of resident and nonresident notaries.

Code 1852, § 661; 23 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 3; Code 1915, § 1006; 36 Del. Laws, c. 107; Code 1935, § 1136; 41 Del. Laws, c. 100; 43 Del. Laws, c. 97; 48 Del. Laws, c. 138; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4301; 50 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 1; 53 Del. Laws, c. 29; 53 Del. Laws, c. 350; 58 Del. Laws, c. 511, § 63; 69 Del. Laws, c. 123, §§ 1-3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 165, §§ 1, 2.;

(a) The Governor may appoint as many electronic notaries as the Governor may decide is necessary and proper. The Governor may delegate such duties relative to the appointment of electronic notaries to the Secretary of State as the Governor may decide is necessary and proper. Any person who acts as an electronic notary under Delaware law shall register and be commissioned and otherwise be in compliance with the provisions of this title.

(b) Any person who desires to become an electronic notary shall be at least 18 years of age and shall provide such evidence as the Secretary may require to show:

(1) Good character and reputation;

(2) A reasonable need for an electronic notary commission; and

(3) Legal residence including street address of the electronic notary within the State.

(c) The Governor may also appoint, as notaries public for electronic notarial acts, nonresidents of this State who otherwise meet the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section provided that such individual shall have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Secretary that:

(1) Such individual maintains an office or regular place of employment in Delaware; or

(2) Such individual is an attorney-at-law in good standing licensed in any state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States or such individual is a legal assistant or paralegal working under the direct supervision of an attorney-at-law in good standing licensed in any state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States and such attorney-at-law is a Delaware electronic notary and has previously submitted to the Secretary and had approved by the Secretary an application containing such information as the Secretary shall deem necessary and proper and demonstrating such attorney-at-law has a reasonable need for permitting 1 or more legal assistants or paralegals under that attorney-at-law's direct supervision to become an electronic notary under Delaware law; or

(3) Such individual is a current employee of a banking, trust, or insurance company organized and regulated under the laws of the United States or any state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States, and such banking, trust, or insurance company shall have previously submitted to the Secretary and had approved by the Secretary an application containing such information as the Secretary shall deem necessary and proper and demonstrating that such banking, trust, or insurance company is in good standing and has a reasonable need for permitting 1 or more of its employees to become an electronic notary under Delaware law; or

(4) Such individual is a current employee of a federal governmental agency or unit of the United States and such agency or unit shall have previously submitted to the Secretary and had approved by the Secretary an application containing such information as the Secretary shall deem necessary and proper and demonstrating that such agency or unit has a reasonable need for permitting one or more of its employees to become an electronic notary under Delaware law. Any such electronic notary, so appointed, shall only perform electronic notarial acts in the performance of their official duties.

Nonresidents seeking appointment as a Delaware electronic notary public shall include in their application their primary residential address within any state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States and their employment address in Delaware or within any state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States. Those appointed as electronic notaries public shall also notify the Secretary of each change of address within 30 days of such change. Each nonresident electronic notary not having an employment address in Delaware shall also designate a registered agent in the State of Delaware to receive service of process, subpoenas and other documents. All addresses required by this subsection shall include a street address.

Service of process, subpoenas and other documents upon nonresident electronic notaries may be made personally or by leaving them with any person of suitable age and discretion at the Delaware place of employment or the electronic notary's registered agent, if applicable. Substituted service shall be effectual if served upon the Secretary of State, under the guideline of § 376(b) of Title 8 in the event that the office has been closed or such individual ceases to be regularly employed at the filed Delaware employment address or such registered agent has resigned. The Secretary of State shall then forward such documents to the electronic notary's filed residential address or employment address outside of the State.

(d) An applicant to become an electronic notary shall submit a registration form established by the Secretary for registering and being commissioned as an electronic notary, which shall include:

(1) The applicant's full legal name;

(2) A description of the technology or technologies the registrant will use for electronic identification, electronic signatures and such other aspects involved in performing each electronic notarial transaction;

(3) If the device used to create the registrant's electronic signature is issued or registered through a licensed authority, the name of that authority, the source of the license, the starting and expiration dates of the device's term of registration, and any revocations, annulments, or other premature terminations of any registered device of the registrant that were due to misuse or compromise of the device, with the date, cause, and nature of each termination explained in detail;

(4) The electronic mail address of the registrant;

(5) The electronic signature of the notary which shall be unique to the notary;

(6) Evidence that the electronic notary has taken a course of instruction, whether in the classroom, distance learning or online, in accordance with standards established by the Secretary prior to being commissioned as an electronic notary, and continuing education, whether in the classroom, distance learning or online, in accordance with standards established by the Secretary, during the 2-year term as provided in § 4307 of this title; and

(7) Such other information as the Secretary shall reasonably request.

The registration form shall (i) be signed by the applicant using the electronic signature described in the form; (ii) include any decrypting instructions, codes, keys, or software that allow the registration to be read; and (iii) be transmitted electronically to the Secretary.

Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent an electronic notary from using updated technology or technologies during the term of the commission; however, the electronic notary shall notify the Secretary electronically within 90 days of installation or use of such updated technology or technologies and provide a brief description thereof.

(e) The Governor, or as permitted, the Secretary may revoke any electronic notary commission for cause.

(f) The Secretary may promulgate regulations or establish such additional standards and guidelines governing applications, registrations, appointments, and the conduct of resident and nonresident electronic notaries.

76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 3.;

The Governor shall appoint every person who is appointed to the office of justice of the peace and as Secretary of Finance also as a notary public. The Secretary of Finance shall only act as a notary public in connection with work performed in carrying out the duties of the office. The notary commission of any person appointed a notary public under this section shall terminate at the same time such person's term of office terminates.

Code 1852, § 661; 23 Del. Laws, c. 69, §§ 1-3; Code 1915, § 1006; 32 Del. Laws, c. 61; 33 Del. Laws, c. 64, §§ 1-2; 36 Del. Laws, c. 107; Code 1935, § 1136; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4302; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 14; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

The Governor shall appoint 1 notary public for each trust company, bank, banking association or branch or branches thereof in this State, whether state or national, chartered or organized under the laws of this State or of the United States.

Code 1852, § 661; 23 Del. Laws, c. 69, §§ 1-3; Code 1915, § 1006; 36 Del. Laws, c. 107; Code 1935, § 1136; 48 Del. Laws, c. 176; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4303; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

The Governor may, upon the request of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appoint any of the official court reporters as a notary public.

29 Del. C. 1953, § 4303A; 55 Del. Laws, c. 383; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

(a) The Governor may, upon the request of the department commander of a State-recognized veterans' organization, appoint 1 notary public for each requesting organization for a term of 4 years, without charge to any appointee, commander or organization. Any such notary, so appointed, shall have no authority to perform any duties with respect to such office or to take affidavits or acknowledgements, except on documents and papers in connection with and for the benefit of any veteran, their families or dependents. The notaries public, so appointed, shall make no charge for any service rendered.

(b) The Governor may, upon the request of any administrative head of any volunteer fire company or volunteer ambulance and rescue company, appoint 1 notary public for each requesting organization for a term of 4 years, without charge to any appointee, chief or organization. Any such notary, so appointed, shall have no authority to perform any duties with respect to such office or to take affidavits or acknowledgements, except on documents and papers in connection with and for the benefit of any members of the organizations listed herein to include their families or dependents. The notaries public, so appointed, shall make no charge for any service rendered.

(c) Upon the request of the administrative head of any state, county, municipal, or local governmental agency or unit of this State whose personnel include full-time police officers who are statutorily responsible for the prevention or investigation of crime involving injury to persons or property and who are authorized to execute search warrants and to make arrests (hereinafter called a "qualified police agency"), the Governor shall appoint a sufficient number of electronic notaries public as may be requested by the administrative head to facilitate the law-enforcement responsibilities of the agency or unit. The appointments shall be for a term of 2 years, without charge to the appointee, administrative head, or police agency, except for costs not waived by the Secretary which are established under § 4307(b) of this title for special identification cards, hardware, or other related materials and technologies or training. Any such notary, so appointed, shall have no authority to perform any duties with respect to such office or to take affidavits or acknowledgements, except on documents and papers in connection with, and for the benefit of, their respective police agency. The notaries public so appointed shall make no charge for any service rendered and the Secretary may waive the fees established pursuant to the schedule authorized under § 4307(c) of this title for electronic notarial acts or services performed by such electronic notaries public.

(d) The Governor may appoint as limited governmental notaries public who otherwise meet the requirements of § 4301(b) or (c) of this title provided:

(1) The individual is an employee of a state governmental agency or unit; or

(2) The individual is an employee of a qualified police agency as defined in subsection (c) of this section above; and

(3) The individual submits the following forms to be established by the Secretary:

a. An application form completed by the applicant; and

b. An employer request and approval form.

Such appointments shall expire upon the end of the notary's employment with the State or qualified police agency and shall be made without charge to the appointee or the agency or unit. Any such notary, so appointed shall have no authority to perform any duties with respect to such office or to take affidavits or acknowledgements, except for those duties established by their respective agency or unit. The notaries public so appointed shall make no charge for any service rendered. The engraving of the notary seal shall comply with § 4310(a) of this title except that the Commission expiration date statement required by such subsection shall be satisfied by the phrase "My Commission expires upon office." A notary public appointed under this subsection that transfers employment to another state governmental agency or unit or qualified police agency shall notify the Secretary of such change within 30 days. The notary may only retain the appointment upon receipt of an employer request and approval form from the agency or unit to which the notary transferred.

Code 1935, § 1136; 41 Del. Laws, c. 99; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4304; 50 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 1; 51 Del. Laws, c. 361; 56 Del. Laws, c. 174; 58 Del. Laws, c. 10; 66 Del. Laws, c. 139, § 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 349, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 3, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 4.;

(a) Notaries public shall be initially commissioned for the term of 2 years. Any notary public who wishes to renew that notary public's own commission may request a 2-year reappointment or a 4-year reappointment. A notary applicant must pay a nonrefundable application fee of $60 for a 2-year term or $90 for a 4-year term.

(b) Electronic notaries public shall be commissioned for the term of 2 years. An electronic notary applicant must pay a nonrefundable application fee of $60. The Secretary may establish such other fees to cover the actual costs incurred by the State to issue or provide any special identification cards, hardware or other related materials, technologies or training to electronic notaries public.

(c) The Secretary may establish a schedule of fees for each electronic notarial act or service, not to exceed $10 per notarial act or service.

(d) Every notary who wishes to resign from office or who no longer meets the qualifications for a commission during their term of office shall immediately mail or deliver the official commission to the Secretary, who shall cancel the same.

(e) Every notary who is registered to perform electronic notarizations who wishes to resign or who no longer meets the qualifications for a commission or whose term of office shall have expired shall immediately erase, delete or destroy the coding, disk, certificate, card, software or password that enables the electronic affixation of the notary's official electronic signature or seal and shall so certify to the Secretary. The failure of an electronic notary to comply with this subsection may result in the Secretary imposing a civil penalty on the notary of $500.

(f) If any person shall knowingly or wilfully make any false or fraudulent statement or misrepresentation in or with reference to any application for a notary commission or any other document required by this chapter, such person shall be guilty of perjury.

Code 1852, § 663; 21 Del. Laws, c. 59, § 1; 23 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 3; Code 1915, § 1008; 28 Del. Laws, c. 70; Code 1935, § 1139; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4305; 59 Del. Laws, c. 440, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 186, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 165, §§ 5, 6.;

The notaries and resident electronic notaries shall severally take and subscribe the oath or affirmation prescribed by article XIV of the Constitution of this State. The nonresident electronic notaries shall severally take and subscribe the oath or affirmation on a commission issued by the Secretary before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths. Notaries and electronic notaries shall be exempt from the recordation of the oath of office prescribed by § 9605(a) of Title 9. Notaries and electronic notaries shall not be permitted to perform notarial acts until a copy of the fully executed oath is received by the Secretary in an electronic or paper document format deemed acceptable by the Secretary.

Code 1852, §§ 666, 667; 21 Del. Laws, c. 59, § 2; Code 1915, § 1011; 28 Del. Laws, c. 70; Code 1935, § 1142; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4306; 50 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 2; 59 Del. Laws, c. 440, § 2; 66 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 3; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 7.;

(a) The notary shall have a seal and shall exercise the powers and perform the duties belonging to that office. The notary shall also have power to take the acknowledgement of deeds and other instruments. The notary public must ensure, either from personal knowledge of identity or from satisfactory evidence of identity as defined in § 4321 of this title, that the individual whose presence and signature is being certified is in fact the person he or she claims to be.

(b) A notary who has registered with the Secretary to perform electronic notarizations as required by § 4302 of this title shall have an electronic seal and may perform a notarial act by electronic means. The electronic notary must ensure, either from personal knowledge of identity or from satisfactory evidence of identity as defined in § 4321 of this title, that the individual whose presence and signature is being certified is in fact the person he or she claims to be.

(c) A notary public or electronic notary public shall not notarize a document without the person signing the document being personally present.

Code 1852, § 662; Code 1915, § 1007; Code 1935, § 1138; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4307; 63 Del. Laws, c. 85; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

(a) The seal required by § 4309 of this title shall be used in the transaction of official business by notaries public. Each notary public shall provide, keep and use a seal that is either an engraved embossed seal or a black-inked rubber stamp seal to be used on the paper document being notarized. The seal shall contain the notary's name exactly as it appears on the commission, the words "My Commission expires on" and the commission expiration date and the words "Notary Public" and "State of Delaware."

(b) If the official seal of any notary public is not engraved in conformity with this section, it shall not invalidate an official act, but such act shall be as valid as though the seal had been engraved in conformity with the requirements of this section.

(c) The electronic seal required by § 4309 of this title shall be used in the transaction of all official electronic notarial acts and shall contain the notary's name exactly as it appears on the commission, the words "My Commission expires on" and the commission expiration date and the words "Notary Public" and "State of Delaware."

(d) In acting as a notary public, a notary shall sign the notary's name exactly and only as it appears on the commission, or otherwise execute the notary's electronic signature in a manner that attributes such signature to the notary public identified on the commission.

(e) The notary's official electronic seal and signature shall be attached to an electronic document in a manner that is capable of independent verification and prevents any subsequent changes or modifications to the electronic document.

(f) A notary performing electronic notarial acts shall:

(1) Use an electronic seal and signature that conform to generally accepted standards for secure electronic notarization;

(2) Use the notary's electronic seal and signature only for the purpose of performing electronic notarial acts;

(3) Take reasonable steps to ensure that any registered device used to create an electronic signature is current and has not been revoked or terminated by its issuing or registering authority;

(4) Keep the electronic seal and signature secure under the notary's exclusive control and shall not allow them to be used by any other person; and

(5) Take reasonable steps to ensure the integrity, security and authenticity of electronic notarizations.

(g) Immediately upon discovering that the notary's physical or electronic seal, electronic signature or official journal required under § 4314 of this title has been lost, stolen or may be otherwise used by a person other than the notary, the notary shall immediately notify the Secretary who shall disable use of the missing technology on any electronic system of the Secretary. Upon request of the electronic notary and completion of a new registration form:

(1) Signed by the applicant using the electronic signature described in the form; and

(2) Including any decrypting instructions, codes, keys, or software that allow the registration to be read;

the Secretary may reinstate the electronic notary. The electronic notary may notify appropriate law-enforcement agency in the case of theft or vandalism.

(h) Any notary public failing to comply with the requirements of this section may be removed by the Governor for neglect.

16 Del. Laws, c. 17; Code 1915, § 1012; Code 1935, § 1143; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4308; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

(a) The maximum fee a notary public can charge for any paper notarial act is $5.

(b) The maximum fee a notary public can charge for any electronic notarial act is $25.

(c) The fees prescribed in this section shall be the maximum fees to be charged by any notary public and, upon violation hereof, the Secretary may revoke the commission of such notary, and such notary shall not be reappointed within a period of 2 years.

(d) A notary public may choose to waive any fee for any notarial act; provided, however, that a notary public may not waive any fee or fees for an electronic notarial act or service assessed pursuant to § 4307(c) of this title.

Code 1852, §§ 666, 667, 2830, 2833, 2834, 2836; Code 1915, §§ 1011, 4883, 4886, 4887, 4889; 28 Del. Laws, c. 70; 33 Del. Laws, c. 65; 34 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 4; Code 1935, §§ 1142, 1146, 5371, 5374, 5375, 5377; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4309; 72 Del. Laws, c. 65, §§ 3-6; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

(a) No notary public or other person who is authorized by law to take the acknowledgment of instruments or to administer oaths or affirmations shall charge any person serving in the armed forces of the United States, or a veteran of any war, or the widow or children of a soldier, or soldier's parents, or widower or other relative of any person in the armed services the fee provided by law when an acknowledgment, oath or affirmation is taken in connection with any paper or papers required to be executed by the Veterans Administration or in support of any claim or other papers connected with or referring to the service of any male or female now serving or who hereafter may serve or who, in the past, has served in the armed forces of the United States.

(b) Whoever violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $25 and, in default of the payment of such fine, shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 days.

(c) Justices of the peace shall have jurisdiction of offenses under this section.

Code 1935, § 1138A; 45 Del. Laws, c. 259; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 4311; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;

(a) The commission appointing a notary public or electronic notary public shall be in such form as the Secretary of State shall designate and shall be executed by the Governor and the Secretary of State. The signatures required by this subsection shall be satisfied by an electronic or a facsimile signature which may be engraved, printed or stamped thereon.

(b) The commission shall have placed thereon the impression of the Great Seal of the State, or a facsimile of the Great Seal shall be engraved or printed thereon.

29 Del. C. 1953, § 4312; 55 Del. Laws, c. 66; 76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 8.;

(a) A notary performing electronic notarial acts shall keep, maintain, protect and provide for lawful inspection an electronic journal of notarial acts. The Secretary shall establish standards for the maintenance of electronic journals.

(b) For every electronic notarial act, the notary shall record in the journal at the time of notarization the following:

(1) The date and time of day of the notarial act;

(2) The type of notarial act;

(3) The type, title or a description of the document or proceeding;

(4) The printed name and address of each person whose signature is notarized or who requests a notarial act;

(5) The evidence of identity of each principal, in the form of either: a statement that the person is "personally known" to the notary; a notation of the type of identification document and the identification number on such identification document; or the printed name and address of the credible witness swearing or affirming to the person's identity;

(6) The fee, if any, charged for the notarial act; and,

(7) Such other information as the notary may deem to be necessary and appropriate.

(c) A notary shall not record a Social Security or credit card number in the journal.

(d) A notary shall keep the official journal secure under the notary's exclusive control and shall not allow it to be used by any other person.

(e) A notary shall maintain a backup record of an electronic journal and ensure protection of such backup record from unauthorized use. The Secretary shall establish standards for backup records.

76 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 1.;