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How to Become a Remote Online Notary in Illinois

New Illinois Notary laws took effect on June 5, 2023, allowing notarization for signatures on electronic documents. The Secretary of State is creating an application process for Electronic Notaries, and approval process for technology providers. Get ahead of the curve and learn how you can become an IL Electronic Notary below:

  1. Be a traditional Notary Public (or apply for the commission simultaneously).
  2. Complete the state-required training and pass the exam (effective 1/1/24).
  3. Contract with state-approved technology system(s).
  4. Take your oath of office.
  5. Increase your surety bond amount to $30,000.
  6. Submit the application form with your oath, course completion certificate, a copy of your electronic seal and signature, and the $25 application fee.
  7. Follow any other steps required by the Secretary of State.

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Requirements to be an Electronic Notary in Illinois

Before you can apply to perform electronic notarizations, you must first meet Illinois' requirement of being a traditional Notary Public or applying to become an IL Notary. Applicants must be a citizen of or lawful permanent resident in the U.S.; be a resident of the state of Illinois, or employed in the state and reside in a qualifying border state, for 30 days; provide your date of birth; and be proficient in English.

Applicants must not be convicted of a felony nor have had a previous Notary commission revoked or suspended in the last 10 years.

Does Illinois require training or an exam to work as an online Notary?

Effective January 1, 2024, anyone applying for an Electronic Notary commission in Illinois is required to take a 3-hour Notary Training Course and pass a 50-question Notary Exam. You'll have three chances to score of 85% or higher. The state provides a list of approved education providers, incuding the NNA's Illinois State-Required Notary Training and Exam.

For more detailed information, please read our blog post: What you need to know about new Illinois Notary training and testing.

What tools and technology do I need to perform electronic notarizations?

Electronic online Notaries need a computer, webcam, microphone and secure internet connection to get started. You'll also need to buy your electronic seal, electronic journal and digital certificate containing your electronic signature. An Electronic Notary seal must look identical to a traditional Notary seal. Your digital certificate must conform to the X.509 standards and be compatible with your chosen vendor.

The Illinois Secretary of State has a list of approved technology providers and does not endorse any one of the third-party vendors over the others.

Do I need a second surety bond?

Yes, remote Notaries must have a $25,000 bond to perform notarizations involving digital documents. This bond amount is in addition to the $5,000 bond required to perform traditional notarial acts. A single bond totaling $30,000 to cover both types of notarizations may suffice.

Is an errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy required?

An E&O insurance policy is not required but is strongly recommended. This type of policy protects you as the Notary when unintentional mistakes occur during a notarization. Being insured can save you from costly legal fees.

About Remote Notarization in Illinois

Remote notarizations involve digital and paper documents in Illinois. Keep reading to learn more.

Does Illinois allow remote notarization?

Yes, Senate Bill 2664 covering electronic and remote notarization along with subsequent rules are enacted. However, the new Electronic Notary commission process and requirements have staggered effective dates.

It's important to note that remote notarization is currently allowed using audio-video technology and paper documents. When Notaries are able to perform remote online notarization, the technology connecting signers with Notaries must have identity verification components in addition to the real-time audio-video connection.

How does remote notarization work in Illinois?

After January 1, 2024, approved Illinois Electrnic Notaries will be able to perform remote notarization on electronic documents. You must use approved audio-visual technology systems that are capable of credential analysis and dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA) assessments for remote online notarizations.

In Illinois, remote notarizations are also done on paper documents, more commonly known as Remote Ink-Signed Notarization (RIN). The signer logs onto a platform to communicate with a Notary in real-time.

Once they're connected through audio-visual technology, the Notary asks the signer if they understand and are willing to sign the document. Then, the signer puts pen to paper and signs the document. On the same day - or no later than the following day - the signer sends a copy of the entire document to the Notary.

The Notary checks the document for blanks, completes the notarial wording, stamps and signs the certificate. The document must be returned to the signer within 24 hours of receipt. The notarization is complete when the Notary records a journal entry of the transaction.

Which notarial acts can be performed remotely in Illinois?

IL Notaries can perform the following notarizations online:

  • Taking an acknowledgment
  • Administering an oath or affirmation
  • Executing a jurat
  • Certifying a printed document is a copy of the electronic document

How long do remote notarizations take vs. traditional notarizations?

Remote notarizations on paper documents can take up to two days to complete. Electronic notarizations take far less time than notarizations involving paper documents. The entire remote online session -- from meeting the signer to when the Notary signs and seals the document -- can happen in a matter of minutes. Electronic notarizations performed in-person can save a significant amount of time when large home loan packages are involved.

What's the difference between electronic and remote notarizations?

Illinois defines these terms differently than many other states. Electronic notarization is done on digital documents when a signer appears in-person (IPEN), or on a notarization platform (RON). Remote notarization involves paper documents and personal appearance happening online in real-time (RIN).

Additional RIN FAQs

Still have questions about remote and electronic notarization in the Prairie State? We've got you covered.

How much does it cost to become an IL Electronic Notary?

Becoming an electronic Notary in Illinois can cost below $100 up to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the companies you choose to work with among other factors. A computer, webcam, microphone and secure internet access are necessary. You'll need to pay application fees and any sign-up fees to get started with a technology provider. You'll need to buy Notary supplies like your seal and journal. Maintaning your surety bond and recommended E&O policy, adds to your overall costs, too. 

How much can IL Notaries charge for electronic services?

The Secretary of State sets $25 as the maximum fee per electronic notarization.

How long does it take to become an Electronic Notary in Illinois?

It will likely take between eight to 10 weeks with the majority of that time spent on getting your traditional Notary Public commission.

You'll spend one day choosing and getting set up with a remote notarization technology provider, up to a week taking the state-required training and passing the exam, and one day registering with the SOS.

How long will my online Notary authorization last?

Your authorization to perform electronic notarizations runs concurrently with your traditional Notary Public commission. After the term of your commission ends, you'll need to renew it before performing notarial acts on digital documents.

Will remote or electronic services grow my IL Notary business?

Yes, providing these notarizations can only boost your business. You have access to signers in all locations, and with the added bonus of not having to commute, you can perform more notarizations in a shorter amount of time.

If you're interested in taking your business further, consider becoming a Notary Signing Agent (NSA). Getting NSA certified demonstrates you've been trained in complex signings and have passed a current background screening, making you eligible for more jobs.

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Last updated: Dec 7, 2023 

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