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How to Become a Remote Online Notary in Montana

As of October 1, 2019, Montana Notaries can register to perform remote online notarizations (RONs). Follow the steps below if you want to become an MT remote Notary.

  1. Hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public.
  2. Contract with at least one state-approved RON technology provider.
  3. Complete the state-required training course and exam.
  4. Submit your Notary Public Information Update form through the online portal, along with your course and exam proof of completion.

Become a Remote Online Notary

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

Requirements to be a Remote Online Notary in Montana

Before you become a virtual Notary in Montana, you must first hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary in the Treasure State. Traditional Notaries must be at least 18 years old, be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S, and be able to read and write English. You must also reside in the state, or be connected to the state through employment or other circumstances (see the Secretary of State’s criteria for more information). As of October 1, 2019, all Notaries are required to pass the Montana Notary Exam.

Once you have a traditional commission, you can apply to become a remote online Notary. As of December 19, 2019, all applications must be submitted through the Secretary of State's online portal.

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

Yes, online Notaries must complete the training provided by their chosen RON platform or an approved third-party provider. The National Notary Association offers a state-approved RON training course. They must also pass the RON provider's exam after completing the training course.

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

You'll need a computer to access electronic documents, webcam, microphone and secure internet connection. Your computer must support real-time audio and visual communication. Next, you'll need to contract with at least one RON provider approved by the MT Secretary of State.

In addition, you'll need a journal to record the entire communication between you, the Notary, and the signer(s). You must retain sole possession of the recording or transmit it to an approved repository, and create separate journal records for each transaction. You may provide a copy of the recording, and charge additional fees if a copy of your journal entry or recording is requested.

Make sure you get an electronic seal and digital certificate containing your electronic signature that are compliant with your preferred RON provider.

Do I need another surety bond?

Montana requires all Notaries to hold a $25,000 surety bond for their traditional Notary commission. No additional surety bond is required for your remote online Notary registration but check with the company that issued you the bond to ensure your bond covers RONs.

Is an E&O insurance policy required in Montana?

An errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is not required, but it would protect you as a Notary Public. Mistakes happen, and an insurance policy can cover any mishaps that might occur during notarizations.

About Remote Online Notarization (RON) in Montana

Remote online notarization is just one of four types of notarizations in the Treasure State. Learn more about RONs below.

Does Montana allow remote online notarization?

Yes, Montana allows remote online notarization as of October 1, 2019. Under House Bill 370, Notaries can perform online notarizations for signers anywhere as long as the Notaries themselves are physically located within the state.

How do remote online notarizations work in Montana?

In Montana, remote online notarizations involve the signer and Notary to personally appear before each other via communication technology. The signer logs onto a RON platform where they must pass a dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA) assessment and credential analysis.

Once the signer and Notary are connected to each other, the Notary verifies the signer’s identity a third time and confirms the signer is aware and will voluntarily sign the document of their own free will. Then, the signer signs the document using an electronic signature. From there, the Notary checks the document, completes the notarial certificate wording, applies an electronic seal and attaches a digital certificate containing their electronic signature.

The notarization is marked complete when the Notary has created a journal entry and saved an audio-visual recording of the session.

MT Notaries must be physically located in the state to perform remote online notarizations for signers in any location.

What types of notarizations can Montana Notaries perform?

In addition to traditional notarizations, you may also perform signings via the following:

In-Person Electronic Notarization (IPEN), also known as eNotarization, includes:

  • Physical presence of the signer(s) and Notary
  • Electronic document
  • Digital signatures of the signer and Notary
  • Digital Notary seal

Remote Online Notarization (RON):

  • Personal appearance via communication technology of the signer(s) and Notary
  • Electronic document
  • Digital signatures of the signer and Notary
  • Digital Notary seal

Remote Notarization:

  • Personal appearance via communication technology of the signer(s) and Notary
  • Physical paper document that has been signed and delivered to the Notary
  • Wet signatures of the signer and Notary
  • Ink impression of the Notary's seal
  • Only acknowledgments can be performed using this method

You must also use "multi-factor," or two or more types of technology, to identify the signer(s) if not by personal knowledge. The technology vendor(s) you choose should train you to use their identification methods.

What notarial acts can be performed virtually in Montana?

In Montana, the following notarial acts can be performed remotely online:

  • 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
  • Certifying or attesting a transcript of an affidavit or deposition
  • Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument

How long does a remote notarization take vs. traditional notarization?

Remote notarizations take less time than traditional notarizations because they don't require the signer nor the Notary to meet in person. Depending on the technology company you choose, you may be able to receive and complete a notarization request within a few minutes.

Additional RON FAQs

Below, we answer the most common questions regarding remote online notarizations in Montana.

How much does it cost to register as a remote Notary?

The cost of becoming a remote online Notary in Montana ranges from below $100 to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the companies you choose to work with plus a variety of other factors. For example, you'll need to pay any sign-up fees associated with your preferred technology provider and the cost of your digital supplies, including your electronic seal and digital certificate.

You'll also need to factor in the cost to maintain your surety bond and recommended E&O insurance policy. Other expenses may include a computer, webcam, microphone and secure internet access if you don't already have these items.

How much can MT remote Notaries charge for their services?

Montana Notaries may charge up to $10 per signature. You may also charge additional fees for performing notarizations remotely using communication technology. All fees must be displayed on a list in English.

How long does it take to become a virtual Notary in Montana?

It can take up to four weeks to become a remote online Notary in Montana. The first few weeks will be spent on getting your traditional Notary Public commission and allowing the Secretary of State time to process your application.

Once you're commissioned, you'll spend one day choosing a RON technology provider and getting your remote Notary supplies, one day taking the required training provided by your chosen RON provider and the exam, and one day completing your Notary Public Information Update form and sending in your proof of completion for the course and exam.

How long will my virtual Notary commission last?

You can perform remote online notarizations for as long as your traditional Notary Public commission is valid. When your traditional commission expires after four years, you'll need to renew it before you can register as a remote online Notary again.

Will RON services grow my MT Notary business?

Becoming an online Notary and joining a RON platform can help your business grow. Your customer base is no longer limited to in-person notarizations when you're an online Notary. You can also notarize for people outside of the state, as long as you are located in Montana at the time of the notarization.

You may also consider becoming a certified Notary Signing Agent (NSA). Getting your NSA certification can make you eligible to receive more RON assignments and assures RON service providers that you have passed a current background screening.

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Last updated: Apr 19, 2024

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