OH eNotarization and Online Notarization Standards


State: Ohio

Effective: September 30, 2017


The Ohio Secretary of State has published standards for electronic and online notarization to implement HB 49 enacted in 2017.


Creates Ohio Electronic Notarization Standards.



  1. Defines “credential analysis” as a process or service that complies with any rules or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State through which a third party affirms the validity of a government-issued identification credential or any data thereon through the review of data sources.  
  2. Defines “electronic journal” as a chronological record of notarizations maintained by a notary public in an electronic format.
  3. Defines “electronic notarial act” as a notarial act performed using an official electronic signature and seal on an electronic document, by an individual registered as an electronic notary public pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 147.543(A).  
  4. Defines “electronic notarization system” as a set of applications, programs, hardware, software, or technology designed to enable an electronic notary to perform electronic notarial acts. This term includes an electronic communications device authorized by Ohio Revised Code Section 147.542(A).
  5. Defines “exclusive control” as accessible by and attributable solely to the electronic notary to the exclusion of all other persons and entities, either through being in the direct physical custody of the electronic notary or through being secured with one or more biometric password, token or other authentication technologies.  
  6. Defines “online notarization” as the performance of an electronic notarial act by means of an electronic communications device that includes two-way live audio and video conference technology and meets the requirements of these Standards. 
  7. Defines “real time” as the actual span of uninterrupted time during which all parts of an electronic notarial act occur. 
  8. Defines “remote presentation” as the transmission of a quality image of a government-issued identification credential to an electronic notary public through communication technology for the purpose of enabling the electronic notary public to identify the person appearing before the electronic notary public and to perform a credential analysis. 

Electronic Signature and Seal

  1. Provides that an electronic Notary shall sign each electronic document requiring notarization with an electronic signature. (Note: the standard does not prescribe a specific technology for creating an electronic signature, but adopts a “technology-neutral” approach.)
    Provides that a Notary’s electronic signature must meet the following performance standards: (a) It must be attributed or uniquely linked to the electronic notary; (b) it must be capable of independent verification; (c) it must be retained under the electronic notary’s exclusive control; and (d) it must be linked to the electronic document to which it relates in such a manner that any subsequent change of the electronic document is detectable.
    Provides that an electronic Notary’s official seal must appear either as text in the electronic document near the electronic Notary’s signature or as a graphic image attached to or logically associated with the signature.
    Requires the electronic Notary’s official seal to contain: (a) the electronic notary’s name as shown on the notary’s electronic Notary commission; (b) the electronic notary’s commission number; (c) the words “Electronic Notary Public”; (d) the words “State of Ohio”; and (e) the electronic Notary’s commission expiration date.  

Online Notarial Acts

  1. Provides that online notarizations must occur with the use of an electronic communications device that has two-way live audio and video conference technology and that meets the requirements of the Ohio Electronic Notarization Standards. 
  2. Provides that an electronic Notary must use at least one of the following methods to identify the signer for an online notarization: (a) personal knowledge of the signer; (b) a signer’s successful completion of a dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment and the performance of at least one of the following actions by the notarial officer: (1) credential analysis by remote presentation of the signer’s valid and unexpired form of government-issued identification bearing the signer’s photograph; or (2) comparing the information displayed on a high-resolution image of a credential described above with information provided to the notarial officer by the signer or by the signer’s completion of a dynamic knowledge-based authentication assessment. 
  3. Requires an electronic notarization system used for an online notarization to meet the following criteria for establishing personal appearance: (a) the persons communicating must simultaneously see and speak to one another; (b) he signal transmission must be live, real time; (c) the signal transmission must be secure from interception or access by anyone other than the persons communicating; and   (4) the technology must provide sufficient audio clarity and video resolution to enable the notary to communicate with the signer and utilize the signer identification methods described in Section III(b) of the Standards.  

Electronic Journal

  1. Requires an electronic Notary to keep, maintain, and protect an electronic journal of all electronic notarial acts for a period of at least five years from the date of the transaction. 
  2. Provides that the electronic journal must include the following: (a) the date and time of the notarial act; (b) the type of notarial act; (c) the type, title, or a description of the document or proceeding; (d) the printed name and address of each person seeking an electronic notarization; (e) the type of identification used to establish the identity of each person seeking electronic notarization; and (f) the fee, if any, charged for the notarial act. 
  3. Provides that any system used to store the electronic journal must: (a) allow entries to be made, viewed, printed out and copied by an electronic Notary only after access is obtained by at least one factor of authentication such as a password, biometric verification, token, or other form of authentication; (b) not allow a record to be deleted or altered in content or sequence by the electronic notary or any other person after a record of the electronic notarization is entered and stored; and (c) have a backup system in place to provide a duplicate electronic journal of notarial acts as a precaution in the event of loss of the original record. 
  4. Provides that when not in use, the electronic journal shall be kept under the exclusive control of the electronic Notary, and shall not be used by any other electronic notary nor surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment. 
  5. Provides that an electronic journal may be examined and copied without restriction by a law enforcement officer in the course of an official investigation or subpoenaed by court order.
  6. Provides that any electronic notarization system used to perform an online notarization must store a video of the notarization session, showing both the notary and the signer as the document is notarized. 
  7. Stipulates that the video of the online notarization session may be released if subpoenaed by court order.

With the enactment of HB 49 in 2017, Ohio authorized Notaries to take acknowledgments using an “electronic communications device” approved by the Secretary of State. The new law also required the Secretary to adopt standards to implement the new law. On September 29, 2017, the date the new law took effect, the Secretary published its Electronic and Online Notarization Standards. The Standard borrows heavily from existing models for online notarization now in place. It’s identification standards for online notarizations mirror new laws enacted by Texas and Nevada. Its requirement that an electronic Notary keep an electronic journal that includes a video of the entire online notarization session follows Virginia, Montana, Texas, and Nevada, as well as the Uniform Law Commission’s amendment to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts for online notarizations performed for signers located outside of the United States. Its electronic signature and seal performance standards track closely to the National Association of Secretaries of State’s Electronic Notarization Standards.

To read the Standards, click Download PDF.