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How to Become a Remote Online Notary in Tennessee

As of July 1, 2019, Tennessee Notaries may register to perform remote online notarizations (RONs). To become an online Notary in TN, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public.
  2. Review the applicable TN statute and rules.
  3. Contract with a RON technology provider that meets state requirements.
  4. Get the required information and documentation from your RON vendor.
  5. Complete the Online Notary Application on the Secretary of State website.
  6. Attach the vendor materials to your application and pay the $75 fee.
  7. Receive your online Notary commission from the Secretary of State.

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

Requirements to be a Remote Notary in Tennessee

Before you can register to become an online Notary, you must hold a traditional Notary Public commission in Tennessee. Notaries must be at least 18 years old, reside or maintain a principal place of business in Tennessee, and be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. You must also be able to read and write in English. Not be convicted of bribery, larceny or certain other offenses unless your rights of citizenship have been restored.

You will need to contract with a RON technology provider before applying for your virtual Notary commission in TN. The online application asks for various materials, including copies of:

  • Your electronic seal
  • Your electronic certificate (also called a digital certificate)
  • Instructions for reading and verifying your electronic certificate (provided by your RON vendor)
  • Instructions for the vendor's credential analysis and identity proofing system

Applicants should also be prepared to describe the technologies used by their RON vendor and explain the method that will be used to keep an electronic journal.

Is training or an exam required to become a TN remote Notary?

Tennessee does not require a training course or an exam to apply for your online Notary commission.

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

Remote Notaries must be able to communicate with their clients using real-time, two-way audio and video technology. This requires a computer and webcam, and possibly a microphone for better audio quality. Your internet connection must be secure.

The Tennessee Secretary of State does not endorse any specific third-party RON providers. But BlueNotary, Cyberize It, DocuSign, DocVerify, Notarize, NotaryCam, Pavaso, Safedocs and SIGNiX all meet state requirements for virtual notarization technology. Whatever platform you choose should provide identity proofing, credential analysis and storage for your video recordings of notarial acts. It should also be capable of attaching your electronic seal, signature and certificate to an electronic document.

Do I need another surety bond?

No. Tennessee does not require remote Notaries to get a second surety bond. However, you must have a $10,000 bond for your traditional commission before becoming a remote Notary.

Why should I get an E&O insurance policy?

While not required by the state, errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies can protect you from costly mistakes that might arise during notarizations. E&O policies are designed to cover expenses you might accrue should you make an error or omission on a notarized document that negatively impacts the signer. A surety bond only protects the signer and not the Notary.

About Remote Online Notarization (RON) in Tennessee

Below, you will learn when RON became legal in the Volunteer State and which notarial acts are permitted online.

Does Tennessee allow online notarization?

Yes, Tennessee became the fifth state to authorize online notarizations when it passed the "Online Notary Public Act" in April 2018. The new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2019, allows TN Notaries to register for their remote commissions in just a few short steps.

How do remote online notarizations work in Tennessee?

In remote notarizations, the signer and Notary personally appear before each other over a live two-way audio and video communication feed. At the beginning of the notarization, the RON platform has the signer verify their identity by asking knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions only the signer would know how to answer. The platform's technology also scans the signer's credential document for fraud.

Once the signer’s identity is verified through the system, they meet the remote Notary over audio-visual technology. For signers not personally known to the Notary, the signer must present a government-issued ID as a third method of identity verification. Then, the Notary asks the signer to confirm they understand the document and are willing to sign it. Next, they check the document for blanks and the signer adds their electronic signature. The Notary then completes the notarial certificate block, adds their electronic signature, and attaches their electronic seal and digital certificate. The Notary records the notarial act in an electronic journal, and a video recording of the transaction is saved.

While signers participating in remote notarizations can be located anywhere inside or outside the state border, Tennessee online Notaries must be physically located within the state at the time of the notarial act.

What types of notarizations are permitted online?

The following notarial acts may be performed remotely in Tennessee:

  • Taking acknowledgments
  • Administering oaths
  • Taking depositions
  • Qualifying parties to bills in chancery
  • Taking affidavits

How long do remote notarizations take vs. traditional notarizations?

Remote notarizations take less time than traditional notarizations for several reasons. The biggest advantage is that a RON doesn't require travel time for either the signer or the Notary. Since these notarial acts are done online, it's possible for a Notary to receive and complete a notarization request in minutes.

Additional RON FAQs

Check out the information below for answers to commonly-asked questions about working as a remote Notary.

How much does it cost to become a TN online Notary?

It costs from under $100 to a few hundred dollars to become a remote online Notary in Tennessee. You will need to pay any sign-up fees to contract with a RON technology provider and the cost of your digital supplies like the eSeal and digital certificate. You also need to add in the cost for you to maintain a $10,000 surety bond and recommended E&O insurance policy. A computer, webcam, microphone and secure internet access will need to be factored into your initial costs as well.

How much can online Notaries charge in Tennessee?

According to the Tennessee Secretary of State's website, remote Notaries may charge up to $25 per online notarization.

How long does it take to become a Virtual Notary?

It may take as long as six weeks to become an online Notary in Tennessee. Up to four of those weeks will be spent becoming a traditional Notary Public in the state. The rest of the process can be done relatively quickly.

After receiving your commission as a traditional Notary, you will spend an estimated one hour reading the applicable statute, one day choosing a RON technology provider and getting your supplies, one day getting copies of the required materials from your vendor, and one hour completing the online registration form.

How long will my remote Notary commission last?

Your remote online Notary commission expires on the same day as your traditional commission in Tennessee. To renew your remote Notary commission, you must first renew your commission as a traditional Notary Public, then reapply to perform RONs on the Secretary of State website.

Will RON services grow my TN Notary business?

Yes, becoming a remote online Notary and joining a RON platform can significantly increase your business. As a remote Notary, your customer base includes signers both within and outside of the state border, as long as you’re physically located in Tennessee at the time of notarization.

To take your business to the next level, you may want to consider becoming a certified Notary Signing Agent (NSA). NSAs can receive more assignments from their RON providers because this certification makes them eligible to notarize loan documents remotely. NSA certification also demonstrates that you have passed a current background screening.

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Last updated: June 21, 2023

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