The Commonwealth of Virginia is now allowing specially-commissioned electronic Notaries to perform online electronic notarizations. Under the new law, which took effect July 1, Virginia’s rule for “personal appearance” can now be satisfied by live, two-way audio-video conferencing.
Under the new practice, an electronic Notary must keep a digital recording of the audio and video conference and an electronic journal entry of the e-notarization. The electronic Notary may not rely upon traditional identification documents to identify the signer, but must use one of several methods specifically authorized by statute, such as a digital certificate with a biometric or identification by a trusted third party.
Other states including California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have prohibited the practice for one predominant reason: the lack of a signer physically appearing before a Notary when a notarization is performed could facilitate fraud. This requisite is the law in all other states and is an essential element of the National Notary Association’s Model Notary Act as well as the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.