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How to Become a Remote Online Notary in Iowa

Starting July 1, 2020, Iowa Notaries can register to perform remote online notarizations (RONs). Follow the steps below if you want to become a remote Notary in Iowa.

  1. Hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public.
  2. Contract with a state-approved RON technology provider.
  3. Take the state-required RON training and get proof of completion.
  4. Complete a Remote Notarization form online.
  5. Submit the form along with proof that you completed the training to the Secretary of State.

In This Guide: Iowa RON Requirements | About RON in Iowa | Additional FAQs

Requirements to be a Remote Notary in Iowa

Before you can register to become an IA remote Notary, you must first meet the state’s requirement of holding a traditional Notary Public commission in the Hawkeye State. Notaries must be at least 18 years old, a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S., known of good character, integrity and abilities, and able to read and write English.

You must also live or work in the state of Iowa—if you’re an out-of-state applicant, you must live in a bordering state. In addition, you must not have been convicted of a felony involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit.

Does Iowa require training or an exam to become a remote Notary?

After July 1, 2020, Notaries are required to complete a RON training course as part of the registration process. The course must be approved by the Secretary of State, and cover the basics of performing remote notarizations. You must submit proof of completion to the SOS with your application. However, there is no exam required.

What tools and technology do I need to perform remote online notarizations?

For remote notarizations, you must have a computer, webcam, microphone and secure connection to the internet. Next, you’ll need to choose from one of the Secretary of State’s approved RON platforms, which include DocVerify, LenderClose, Notarize, Pavaso and SIGNiX.

You’ll also need to get an electronic seal, electronic journal and a digital certificate containing your electronic signature. Make sure these are compatible with the RON platform of your choice.

Do I need a surety bond?

No, you do not need a surety bond to perform online notarizations.

Is an E&O insurance policy required in Iowa?

Getting an errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is not required in the state, but strongly recommended. E&O policies can limit your financial exposure should you make a mistake during a notarial act. They protect you as a remote Notary whereas surety bonds protect the public.

About Remote Online Notarization (RON) in Iowa

Performing remote online notarizations can be a much more convenient option for Notaries. Learn how RONs work and how they compare with traditional notarizations below.

Does Iowa allow remote notarizations?

Yes, Iowa will allow commissioned Notaries to register to perform remote online notarizations starting July 1, 2020. Virtual Notaries can perform RONs for signers in any location as long as they’re physically located within the state border at the time of notarization.

How do remote notarizations work in Iowa?

Remote notarizations replace the physical presence requirement with two-way audio-visual communication and involve digital documents instead of paper ones. A signer logs onto a RON platform where they first complete a dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA) assessment and submit to a credential analysis. Once the signer passes these steps, the signer is connected with the Notary on camera.

The Notary verifies the signer’s identity a third time and asks them to confirm they understand and are willing to sign the document. The signer signs the document with an electronic signature. From there, the Notary checks the document, completes the notarial certificate, attaches an electronic seal and attaches a digital certificate containing their electronic signature.

When the notarization is done, the Notary saves a journal entry and an audio-visual recording of the transaction.

Notaries must be physically present in Iowa at the time of the remote notarization, although the signer can be anywhere.

What types of notarizations can be performed online?

Iowa does not specify the notarial acts an online Notary can perform, but common types of notarizations include:

  • Taking an acknowledgment
  • Administering an oath or affirmation
  • Taking a verification on oath or affirmation
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature
  • Certifying or attesting a copy
  • Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument

How long do remote notarizations take vs. traditional notarizations?

Remote notarizations take less time than traditional notarizations because you don’t need to travel to meet the signer in person. In remote notarizations, the process from meeting the signer on camera to attaching your electronic seal and digital certificate can be done within a few minutes.

Additional RON FAQs

Have more questions about how remote Notary registrations work? Find your answers here.

How much does it cost to register as an IA online Notary?

The cost of becoming an online Notary in Iowa ranges from under $100 to a few hundred dollars. Your total expenses will largely depend on the tools and technology you need to get. Iowa does not require an additional registration fee, but you will need to consider the sign-up costs associated with joining a RON platform and get digital supplies like your eSeal and digital certificate.

If you have a surety bond and/or E&O insurance policy, you’ll need to factor in the cost of maintaining those. Plus, you’ll need to add in the cost of a computer, webcam, microphone and secure internet access if you don’t already have these items.

How much can online Notaries charge in Iowa?

Iowa authorizes remote Notaries to charge a reasonable fee.

How long does it take to become a virtual Notary?

It can take up to 6 weeks to become an IA remote Notary. The first 4 weeks will be spent on getting your traditional Notary Public commission. After you receive your commission, you’ll need to spend time choosing your RON technology provider, getting your supplies, taking the state-required RON training and completing the Remote Notarization application online. These steps can take you 1 to 2 days, depending on your availability.

How long will my remote Notary approval last?

Your remote Notary approval runs concurrently with your traditional commission, meaning both will expire the day your traditional commission ends. You can renew both your traditional commission and approval to perform RONs at the same time.

Will RON services grow my IA Notary business?

Yes, becoming a remote Notary and joining a RON platform can have a positive impact on the growth of your business. As a remote Notary, you can perform notarizations for signers in any location as long as you’re physically located within Iowa at the time of the notarial act.

Getting your Notary Signing Agent (NSA) certification can also help boost your business. When you’re NSA certified, RON providers will know you’ve passed a current background screening, which can make you eligible to receive more assignments.

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