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How to Become a Remote Online Notary in Washington

As of March 27, 2020, Notaries in Washington state may apply to perform remote online notarizations (RONs). Becoming a WA remote Notary requires the following five steps:

  1. Hold an existing commission as a traditional Notary Public.
  2. Hold an active electronic records Notary endorsement.
  3. Contract with a RON software provider that meets state requirements.
  4. Email notaries@dol.wa.gov with your name, Notary license number and RON software provider to apply for a remote Notary endorsement.
  5. Receive approval to perform remote notarizations from the Department of Licensing.

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

Requirements to be a Remote Notary in Washington

Before you can request approval to offer remote online notarizations, you must meet Washington’s requirement of holding a traditional Notary Public commission. Notaries must be at least 18 years old, a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S., and a resident of (or have a place of employment or practice in) the state. You must be able to read and write in English, and avoid disqualifiable acts or omissions to receive a commission under RCW 42.45.210.

WA online Notary applicants also need to hold an active electronic records Notary endorsement. The Washington State Department of Licensing provides an electronic records endorsement application on their website. Simply print and complete this form, then mail it to the DOL along with a $15 application fee. Alternatively, you can complete the electronic Notary endorsement application online by logging into your account.

If you have not contracted with an electronic notarization software vendor at the time of your application, you must provide the name of your chosen software to the DOL within 30 days of your endorsement issue date.

Is there an application to become a remote online Notary in Washington state?

Once you’ve received your electronic Notary endorsement, you can apply to be a remote Notary. However, the application process is different in Washington compared to most other states. There is no application document to fill out. Instead, the Department of Licensing instructs that you send an email to notaries@dol.wa.gov with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Notary license number
  • Your chosen RON software provider
  • The date you applied for your electronic Notary endorsement
  • Be sure to include “Remote Online Notary Endorsement Application” in the subject line of your email. Please note that you cannot perform RONs until the Department of Licensing has issued an approval to you.

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

No training or exam is required to become a remote Notary in Washington. However, the Department of Licensing suggests taking an optional Notary course from one of the education providers listed on their website.

What tools and technology do I need to perform RONs?

Remote Notaries need a computer, webcam, microphone and secure connection to the internet to perform online Notary services. Your computer must be able to support a live transmission of a two-way audio-video feed. You’ll also need to choose a RON software that provides dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA), credential analysis and tamper-evident technology. The WA Department of Licensing cannot recommend third-party RON providers, but DocVerify, Nexsys Clear Sign, Notarize, NotaryCam, Pavaso, Safedocs and SIGNiX all meet state requirements.

Additional RON supply requirements include a digital certificate containing your electronic signature, an electronic seal and an electronic journal that are compliant with the RON platform of your choice.

Do I need a second surety bond?

No, you do not need to get a second surety bond in addition to the $10,000 bond required for your traditional WA Notary Public commission.

Why should I get an E&O insurance policy?

While Washington does not require you to get an E&O insurance policy, it may be worth your while to look into. Unlike surety bonds, E&O policies protect you as the Notary. Any unintended mistakes you might make during a notarization can be covered under your insurance policy.

About Remote Online Notarization (RON) in Washington

Below, you will learn about the process of remote notarizations and the notarial acts that are permitted online in the Evergreen State.

Does Washington state allow remote Notary services?

Yes, effective March 27, 2020, Washington Notaries can apply for their remote endorsements. A bill was signed into law on April 26, 2019, allowing Notaries to perform remote online notarizations. This law was set to take effect October 1, 2020, but has been moved up to an earlier date due to the COVID-19 crisis.

How do remote notarizations work in Washington?

Remote notarizations are conducted over audio-video technology and involve digital documents. The signer logs onto a RON platform where they must prove their identity by answering dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions and having their credential document analyzed for fraud. After the signer passes these steps, they meet the Notary on camera.

As a third layer of security, the Notary verifies the signer’s identity using traditional identity proofing methods. Then, the Notary confirms that the signer understands what they are signing and are willing to proceed. The signer signs the document using an electronic signature. From there, the Notary checks the document for blanks, fills out the notarial certificate block, attaches their electronic seal and attaches the digital certificate containing their electronic signature.

Once the notarization is complete, the Notary fills out their electronic journal and saves an audio-visual recording of the transaction.

Note that Washington Notaries with remote endorsements must be physically located within the state when performing virtual notarizations. Your signers, however, can be located anywhere during the remote notarial act.

What types of notarizations are permitted online?

In Washington, the following notarial acts may be performed online:

  • Taking an acknowledgment
  • Taking a verification on oath or affirmation
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature
  • Certifying or attesting a copy
  • Certifying that an event has occurred, or an act has been performed
  • Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument, if the Notary Public is: 1) acting under the authority of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in this state or another state or 2) acting under the authority of a financial institution regulated by this state, another state or the federal government

How long do remote notarizations take vs. traditional notarizations?

Remote notarizations take significantly less time than traditional in-person notarizations because travel is no longer a factor. From the time a signer logs onto a RON platform to when payment is distributed, the Notary can complete their assignment within a few 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 WA online Notary?

There is no fee required to apply for your remote Notary endorsement in Washington state, but there are technology and supply costs to consider. These expenses may cost you less than $100 up to a few hundred dollars, depending on the companies you choose to work with along with other factors. For example, you will need to pay fees to sign up with a RON technology provider as well as the cost of digital supplies like the eSeal and digital certificate.

The cost of maintaining your $10,000 surety bond for your traditional commission and recommended E&O insurance policy will also need to be factored in. If you don’t already have a computer, webcam, microphone and secure internet access, you will need to add these tools into your startup costs.

How much can remote Notaries charge in Washington?

Washington allows remote Notaries to charge a maximum fee of $25 per remote notarial act.

How long does it take to become a remote Notary?

It can take 6 weeks to become an online Notary in Washington, but up to 4 of those weeks will be spent becoming a traditional Notary Public with an electronic records Notary endorsement. The rest of the process is fairly quick.

After receiving your commission as a traditional Notary with the electronic records endorsement, you will spend 1 day choosing a RON technology provider and getting your supplies. Then, you will email the Department of Licensing to request your remote online Notary endorsement. You cannot start performing remote notarizations until you’ve received approval from the DOL.

How long will my remote Notary endorsement last?

Your WA remote Notary endorsement will last until the day your current traditional Notary commission expires.

Will RON services grow my Notary business?

Yes, becoming a remote online Notary and signing up with a RON platform can help your business grow. With a remote Notary endorsement, your customer base extends beyond signers within your state to include signers in any location. Keep in mind that, as the Notary, you’re required to be physically located in Washington when performing all virtual notarizations.

If you want to further your business even more, consider becoming a Notary Signing Agent (NSA). Getting your NSA certification qualifies you to take on remote loan signing assignments. NSA certification also lets RON providers know you’ve passed a current background screening, which can make you eligible to offer your Notary services to more people.

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