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Remote Notarization: What You Need To Know

New-Webcam-Resized.jpgUpdated 11-19-19. As more states pass laws authorizing remote online notarizations, the practice continues to raise questions among Notaries and signers alike. What is remote notarization? Where can it be performed? Who can request it? Can I perform it? What technology is needed?

Here are answers to the most common questions.

What is remote notarization?

With remote notarization, a signer personally appears before the Notary at the time of the notarization using audio-visual technology over the internet instead of being physically present in the same room. Remote online notarization is also called webcam notarization, online notarization or virtual notarization.

Is remote notarization the same as electronic notarization?

Many people confuse electronic notarization with remote notarization, believing they are the same. They are not.

Electronic notarization, or eNotarization, involves documents that are notarized in electronic form, and the Notary and document signer sign with an electronic signature. But all other elements of a traditional, paper notarization apply to electronic notarization, including the requirement for the signer to physically appear before the Notary.

The confusion arises from the fact that Webcam notarizations typically involve digital documents that are signed and notarized electronically. However they go a step further in that the transaction is conducted online rather than in person.

What states allow remote notarization?

Currently, 22 states have passed remote notarization laws. Out of those states, 13 have laws that are in effect, but only 9 have fully implemented their remote notarization procedures, meaning the law has taken effect and Notaries are currently authorized to perform remote online notarizations in those states.

Virginia, fully implemented

Texas, fully implemented

Nevada, fully implemented

Minnesota, fully implemented

Montana, fully implemented

Ohio, fully implemented

Tennessee, fully implemented

Utah, accepting applications to perform remote notarizations, according to the Lt. Governor's website

South Dakota, fully implemented but with limitations (see below)

North Dakota, fully implemented (see below for more details)

Indiana, pending full implementation

Michigan, pending full implementation

Vermont, pending full implementation

Effective October 1, 2019, Montana Notaries are permitted to perform remote notarizations for signers outside the state.

Indiana and Vermont's online notarization laws took effect July 1, 2019. However, these states may require additional time to implement remote notarization rules and technology. Notaries interested in performing remote notarizations in these states should contact their state Notary regulating agency for information when remote notarization procedures and services will be made fully available.

South Dakota currently limits remote notarizations to paper documents only and signers for remote notarizations may only be identified through the Notary's personal knowledge.

North Dakota’s webcam notarization law took effect August 1, 2019. Although the statute permits the Secretary of State to publish rules for remote notarization the Secretary of State is not required to do so.  

Will other states permit remote notarizations in the near future?

States that have enacted remote notarization laws that have not taken effect yet include:

  • Arizona, effective July 1, 2020
  • Florida, effective January 1, 2020
  • Idaho, effective January 1, 2020
  • Iowa, effective July 1, 2020
  • Kentucky, effective January 1, 2020
  • Maryland, effective October 1, 2020
  • Nebraska, effective July 1, 2020
  • Oklahoma, effective January 1, 2020
  • Washington, effective October 1, 2020

How do I prepare for remote notarization?

If you live in a state that has authorized remote notarization, simply follow the requirements of that state. 

To find out what your state requires, visit your Secretary of State’s website or check the NNA’s Notary Law database for details of each of the laws mentioned above. The NNA also will continue to publish information as the states put their remote notarization programs into effect.

What kind of technology will I need to perform remote notarizations?

Each state that authorizes remote notarizations may establish its own technology standards and requirements.

There are a number of technology companies that offer end-to-end remote notarization systems. They include:

In practical terms, signing up with one or more of these companies will provide most online Notaries with the technology they need.

What training do I need to perform remote notarizations?

So far, only Nevada has a training requirement for prospective online Notaries.

To learn how to use remote notarization technology, each online notarization company will provide training for their respective systems.

Will being a remote Notary increase my market value?

If you are a mobile Notary, adding services to your business offerings may increase your value, but it depends on the market and customers you serve.

How will clients know I am a remote Notary?

Some remote notarization system companies market their services directly to the public, so you don’t have to. A couple of the companies also have apps in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. A person who needs to have a document remotely notarized downloads the app, pays the fee and is connected to a remote Notary who can help them.

In these cases, companies function like signing services. Customers come to them for a notarization, and they schedule a remote Notary through their system. Typically, when you sign up, they will ask you when you are available to perform remote notarizations. You’ll be paid a portion of the maximum fee for the remote notarization that the company collects from the signer through the app.

If you use a technology company that doesn’t market directly to the public, you will need to market yourself to potential clients just like you do today for paper notarizations.

Can I list that I perform remote notarizations on my SigningAgent.com profile?

Yes. Every profile has an “Additional Information” section where you can put other qualifications and services. Go ahead and list it there.

RON-Map-OctV2.jpg

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Model eNotarization Act of 2017

27 Comments

Add your comment

Brenda Stone

28 Jun 2018

To my knowledge, none of these companies provide an opportunity for a "single" independent notary to rent a seat on their platform. If I am wrong, please correct me. Thanks for your efforts in this article.

sidney j. turner, sr

02 Jul 2018

what is this about?

Dav Brown

25 Aug 2018

I would like from Maryland to be also allowed to do video notary

Julie

14 Jan 2019

Wouldn't the laws for the state where the signer is apply instead of where the notary is?

gracie

16 Jan 2019

is this gonna have some cost for the notary,and higher cost for client?

gracie

19 Jan 2019

is this gonna have some cost for the notary,and higher cost for client?

SUSAN PETRIE

22 Jan 2019

HOW DO YOU CONFIRM ID WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING ID IN HAND?

National Notary Association

22 Jan 2019

Hello. Virginia uses a system known as "KBA" or "knowledge-based authentication" where a signer must answer a series of personal questions within a time limit to help confirm identity. For more details, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/07/webcam-notarizations-redefining-presence-or-fraud

Rosalind

04 Mar 2019

It seems like a bad idea. How do you comply with keeping a sequential journal, obtaining thumb prints required for certain documents, and checking IDs. If I read this correctly a remote notary will be a separate certification and training, so as long as a notary can opt out of becoming a remote notary to limit exposure and having more technology, then we'll see how it shakes out.

support@apostillenearme.com

04 Apr 2019

This is senseless. Aren't you guys suppose to protect us?

Chirag H Patel

22 Apr 2019

There is also OnlineNotary.net, based out of Virginia which you guys missed putting here.

Craig Schauer

01 Jul 2019

Obviously you can't stamp remotely... what takes the stamp's place?

.Geneva wilkerson

03 Jul 2019

Need to know the answer to Craig's question

Michael W Blackburn

29 Jul 2019

Our responsibilities to verify I.D., to determine if the signer is mentally capable, and more dangerously under coercion, is significantly hampered. This of course increases the opportunity for fraud and the notaries liability goes through the roof. Why would anyone consider this a good idea??

Matt

29 Jul 2019

Turns out RON is very bad news. All you have to do is read the analysis that the CA Asm. Judicial Committee issued this year on AB 199, the now dead CA online notary act of 2019. Also, the TX SoS is now having second thoughts about the lack of biometrics being collected during notarial acts AND the TN SoS has issued Emergency Guidance. 22 states may have passed RON laws but 28 states, including the largest in the nation, has said no thanks, and for good reason.

Cindy

29 Jul 2019

I guess I am a little confused as to how this will work. How would we stamp the document with our seal?

Jay Vance

02 Aug 2019

I am a commissioned Texas notary public and have recently branched out into remote notarization. Here are a few things to know. First, in order to perform remote notarizations in Texas, one must first be a commissioned NP, then go through an additional application process and pay a $50 fee in order to legally perform remote notarizations. There currently is no training requirement in TX for either traditional or remote NPs. Becoming an authorized remote NP is actually the least complicated part of the process. There are several additional requirements which must be met in order to perform remote notarizations. These include the use of an online audio/video platform which digitally records the audio and video interaction between the NP and the signer(s), provides the ability for all parties to digitally sign documents (more on digital signatures in a moment), and record and store the digitally signed document(s) along with the audio/video recording for a period of 5 years. While someone with a lot of tech savvy could conceivably cobble together such a system from “off the shelf” software and hardware, for all practical purposes the remote NP will need to subscribe to one of a number of online services specifically designed for this purpose. These services typically offer both desktop and mobile applications for the NP and signer to use to complete the signing process, record and store the A/V and digital documentation elements, and provide an integrated electronic payment system so the NP can collect the appropriate fees. The remote notarization platform should also integrate with a third-party provider of identification confirmation services. In Texas, the relevant state statutes explicitly require that identity confirmation be performed by an entity which is not associated in any way with either the NP or the remote notarization platform provider. Typically the fees charged by the platform provider include the cost of using the third-party ID authentication service. It is worth mentioning that the inclusion of a third-party identification service in this process actually provides a higher level of identification confirmation than a traditional face-to-face notarization utilizing only a picture ID. This is because not only must the signer provide an acceptable ID artifact which can be digitally scanned and recorded by the remote notarization platform—either by holding the ID up to a webcam or taking a photo of it with a mobile device—but the signer must also answer a number of personal questions the signer should know the answers to. This process, known as Knowledge-Based Authentication, or KBA, incorporates information available from various data sources into the confirmation questions: places of residence, vehicle information, even names of relatives. The signer must correctly answer a high percentage of the questions in a relatively short period of time in order to complete the verification process; this information is also saved along with the A/V recording and the digital signed documentation. With regard to digital signing, the remote NP must also obtain from a recognized third-party provider something called a “digital certificate.” In a nutshell, this is an electronic file consisting of an encrypted pair of digital “keys.” The private key is stored on the remote NP’s computer, while the public key is saved in the remote notarization platform. Every time a remote notarization transaction is initiated, the two keys are electronically compared in order to both digitally authenticate the remote NP and ensure the integrity of the entire transaction. The cost of obtaining a digital certificate is relatively modest, approximately $40-$50. It should be noted that the remote notarization platform meets the record-keeping requirement by virtue of recording, storing, and time-stamping all aspects of the transaction. Thus it is not necessary for remote notarizations to be manually recorded as with traditional in-person notarizations. I hope this information is useful. If you would like further information about specific remote notarization platforms, digital certificate providers, etc., please feel free to contact me at remoteprofessionalservices@outlook.com.

Jay Vance

02 Aug 2019

I forgot to mention that Texas remote notarizations must include a digital, visible representations of the NP’s signature and notary stamp/seal, both of which are electronically added to the document by the remote notarization platform.

Wil

06 Aug 2019

How do we verify their identity over the internet? How do we notarize a document we watch them sign over the internet? Wouldn’t that mean we have to use electronic notary stamps only? How do you keep the original paper they acknowledge signing?

Maria Alejandra Castillo

03 Sep 2019

Does a non-us person may have access to the remote notarization? I am in Spain and we usually need to notarized POA for IP matters for LATAM countries, but here notarization takes to much time and are very complicated

National Notary Association

03 Sep 2019

Hello. Currently, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia authorize remote online notarizations for signers located outside of the state and country. However, please be aware that Notaries in the United States are not attorneys and may not be authorized to perform some types of notarizations that Spanish Notaries are authorized to perform.

Joshua Curry

11 Nov 2019

For anyone interested in eNotarization, and how to add enotary software to your own business, please contact me and I'd be happy to discuss with you. jcurry@signix.com

Tim Anderson

18 Nov 2019

Pavaso does

Daniel Silva

08 Dec 2019

I have a question I’ve been a mobile notary for two months how do you go about renting a space at Lawyer’s or title company to do signings for cash out refi in Texas which is required in Texas

National Notary Association

11 Dec 2019

Hello. Law offices do not typically rent out space to Notaries. You would have to contact the individual businesses in question to make this request.

Judy A Belaen

11 Dec 2019

What companies hire notary public to do remote notarizationd

National Notary Association

11 Dec 2019

Hello. Please see the list of remote notarization technology providers listed above. By clicking on the links to their sites, you can find information on their hiring qualifications for Notaries if available.

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