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How to Become a Remote Electronic Notary in Virginia

In 2013, Virginia became the first state to allow remote online notarization (RON). Before a Notary Public can offer RON services, he or she must be commissioned as an electronic Notary (eNotary) by the Commonwealth. The following steps are required to become a remote eNotary in Virginia:

  1. Hold and existing commission as a traditional Notary Public.
  2. Get an electronic seal/stamp from an approved Notary provider.
  3. Select the RON technology vendor(s) you will use to create your electronic signature for online notarizations and eNotarizations.
  4. Complete the Virginia eNotary Application and sign the form using your electronic signature and seal.
  5. Pay the $45 application fee online to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  6. Receive email confirmation from the Secretary of the Commonwealth if your application is approved.

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

Requirements to be a Remote Notary in Virginia

Before applying to become a remote electronic Notary in Virginia, you must first have an existing commission as a traditional Notary. Traditional Notaries have to be at least 18 years old, be a legal resident of the United States, live or work in the Commonwealth of Virginia, read and write the English language and have no convictions of a felony, unless their rights have been restored.

Virginia eNotary applicants must also have an electronic seal/stamp in order to submit their application to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Because the application form requires a general description of the technology vendor chosen to create the Notary’s electronic signature for official notarial acts, the Notary should select a software/hardware provider prior to filling out their application.

Is training or an exam required to become a VA online Notary?

No, Virginia does not require a training course or exam to apply for your online eNotary commission.

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

You will need an electronic signature, an electronic seal and an electronic register—similar to a physical Notary journal. The notary’s official signature and seal consist of both the digital signature and an image or text on the electronic document that includes the following information:

  • The electronic Notary’s name (as shown on their commission)
  • The electronic Notary’s registration number
  • The words “Electronic Notary Public”
  • The words “Commonwealth of Virginia”
  • The electronic Notary’s commission expiration date

VA remote Notaries also need to have a computer, webcam, microphone and a secure internet connection. Your computer should support two-way audio and visual communication.

Choose a remote online notarization technology vendor that meets Virginia’s requirements. Other equipment may be needed depending on the vendor or platform you choose to work with, such as a signature pad and the capability to scan documents.

Do I need to get a surety bond?

No, a surety bond is not required for remote electronic Notaries in Virginia.

Is an E&O insurance policy required for Virginia?

An errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy is not required, but it would protect you as a Notary Public. Unlike surety bonds, which protect signers, an insurance policy covers Notaries if any mishaps occur during notarizations.

About Remote Online Notarization (RON) in Virginia

If you are not familiar with online notarization or how it works in Virginia, the information below will help you understand the services VA eNotaries can provide remotely.

Does Virginia allow remote notarization?

Yes, Virginia was the first state to enact remote online notarization. House Bill 2318/Senate Bill 827 was signed on March 26, 2011 and allowed electronic Notaries to meet with signers over videoconference. On January 21, 2013, the Secretary of the Commonwealth published electronic notarization standards to provide further instructions for eNotaries and remote online Notaries.

How do remote online notarizations work in Virginia?

In remote online notarizations, the signer and Notary personally appear before each other through a real-time videoconference with both audio and video communication feeds. Before they meet on camera, the signer's identity is verified through the RON platform. This is done using knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions that only the signer could accurately answer. The signer's credential document is also scanned for evidence of fraud.

After the verification process, the signer appears before the Notary on camera. The Notary asks if the signer understands the document and is signing it willingly, and then as an added security measure, checks the signer's credentials. From there, the Notary checks the document for blanks, completes the notarial certificate, adds their electronic signature and attaches their electronic seal. They also record the act into an electronic journal and save a video recording of the transaction.

Virginia eNotaries must be in the state while performing RONs, but signers can be located anywhere.

What notarial acts can be performed virtually?

You can perform the following acts virtually:

  • Taking acknowledgments
  • Administering oaths and affirmations (e.g., jurats)
  • Certifying affidavits and depositions
  • Certifying “true copies” of documents
  • Performing a verification of fact

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 or the Notary to meet in person. Depending on the RON technology company you choose, you may be able to receive and complete a notarization request within a few minutes.

What’s the difference between electronic notarizations vs. remote online notarizations?

Electronic notarizations are in-person notarizations, but involve digital documents and signatures. The signer and Notary must physically appear before each other as with traditional notarizations.

Remote online notarizations are online notarizations that involve digital documents and signatures. In remote notarizations, the signer and Notary personally appear before each other over a webcam using a platform specifically designed for RON.

Additional RON FAQs

Get answers to popular questions about working as an electronic Notary and providing online notarization services in Virginia.

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

The cost of becoming a remote online Notary in Virginia ranges from under $100 to a few hundred dollars, depending on the companies you choose to work with, and a variety of other factors. For example, you will need to pay the state’s $45 application fee and any sign-up fees associated with your preferred RON technology provider, plus the cost of your digital supplies.

You may already have a computer, webcam, and secure internet access set up at home, but if you don’t, you will need to factor that into your startup costs. Also account for the annual premiums if you choose to purchase an Errors & Omissions insurance policy.

How much can remote Notaries charge for their services?

Virginia eNotaries may charge up to $25 per notarial act.

How long does it take to become an eNotary in Virginia?

It may take up to 6 weeks to become an electronic Notary in Virginia, and about 4 of those weeks will be spent obtaining your traditional commission. The rest of the process is fairly quick.

Once you become a traditional Notary Public, you will spend approximately 1 hour reading the Virginia Electronic Notarization Assurance Standard, 1 day selecting a RON technology provider and obtaining your digital supplies, and 1 day getting a quote for the recommended E&O insurance policy. Once you have your digital supplies and vendor, you will spend less than an hour completing and submitting your eNotary Application.

How long will my remote Notary commission last?

Your electronic Notary commission expires on the same day as your traditional commission expires. You can renew both commissions at the same time.

Do you have to be a certified NSA to work as an online Notary Public?

No, you do not have to be a certified Notary Signing Agent to become an electronic Notary in Virginia. However, getting your NSA certification makes you eligible to receive more assignments and assures RON technology providers that you’ve passed a current background screening. Notaries conducting real property signings must have an escrow license if they but once handle monies for closing costs.

Will RON services grow my VA Notary business?

Becoming a remote 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 signers located outside the state, as long as you are physically located in Virginia at the time of the notarization.

You may consider becoming a certified Notary Signing Agent (NSA) to further expand your Notary business. As mentioned above, this certification can help you get more assignments.

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