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Remote Notarization: What You Need To Know

New-Webcam-Resized.jpgUpdated 4-1-20.

Editor’s note: Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the NNA is receiving heavy call volume from Notaries asking about Remote Online Notarization. Please refer to this frequently updated article for guidance before calling. If you live in a state that has authorized the practice and has rules in place — or if your state has issued emergency authorization — then you may perform remote notarizations. If your state has not authorized RON — or has authorized it but has not put rules in place — then you are not authorized to perform remote notarizations. However, if you have a signer requesting it refer them to one of the numerous companies that are set to perform them. (see list below).



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?

COVID-19 UPDATE, 3-25-20:

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency, a number of states have issued emergency measures allowing Notaries to perform remote online notarizations during the crisis. For full information and updates, see “States Take Emergency Action On Remote Notarization And Signers’ ID.”

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, 23 states have passed remote notarization laws. Out of those states, 17 have laws that are in effect as of January 1, 2020. Currently 14 of these states 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 (Additional emergency ID rules for Notaries currently in place, see "COVID-19 UPDATE" above)

Nevada, fully implemented

Minnesota, fully implemented

Montana, fully implemented

Ohio, fully implemented

Tennessee, fully implemented

Florida, fully implemented (Additional COVID-19 emergency rules in place, see "COVID-19 UPDATE" above)

Idaho, fully implemented 

Kentucky, fully implemented 

Oklahoma, fully implemented 

Michigan, 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

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. North Dakota issued guidance for remote notarization in March 2020.  

Will other states permit remote notarizations in the near future?

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

  • Wisconsin, effective May 1, 2020 (Currently permitting RON under special emergency rules, see "COVID-19 UPDATE" above)
  • Arizona, effective July 1, 2020
  • Iowa, effective July 1, 2020
  • Maryland, effective October 1, 2020
  • Nebraska, effective July 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?

Currently Florida, Nevada and Ohio have training requirements 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-3-24-20-resized.jpg

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

Additional Resources:

Model eNotarization Act of 2017

60 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.

Roxanna

17 Dec 2019

Are there any videos of mock RON signings?

National Notary Association

17 Dec 2019

There is a demonstration video of a remote notarization in this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/07/webcam-notarizations-redefining-presence-or-fraud

Brandy

30 Dec 2019

I only do notarizations for my employers, but they are currently working a project in another state. Remote Notarization would be ideal for my situation; I am only notarizing for someone I know very well, so identifying them is not at issue, nor am I worried about coercion. I look forward to finding out more about Washington state's law.

Aida Gonzalez

11 Jan 2020

Hi, I'm in Florida, all my closings are in Miami-Dade, and in my opinion is a BAD idea doing Remote Notarizations. not all persons are familiar or have a computer at home, nobody understand how to type in a keyboard, sometimes are seniors borrowers, another concern I have, I keep a journal and signers needs to sign my journal to have proof I did a closing for them. How are they going to sign my journal? Also. If signer are outside my county, how can I have the confirmation they said are in Miami-Dade, they can be in New York and saying are in Miami. Again, NOT a good idea. I have done some hybrid closings, part they sign digitally in my laptop I carry with me and others documents they acknowledge in paper, and I sign and stamp. This is more convenient.

Michelle Turner

02 Mar 2020

will California implement online notary any time soon?

nbkinney51@gmail.com

10 Mar 2020

Will California implement Online notary's anytime soon. I am a license notary public in the state of California, I would like to know where and how I would be become online notary for the state of California.

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2020

Hello. California has not enacted laws authorizing remote notarization at this time. We will continue to run updates on remote notarization developments in different states as they appear, so please continue to follow the Notary Bulletin for news and updates on RON.

Connie Lee

12 Mar 2020

Does anyone know if/when Pennsylvania will enact this?

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2020

Hello. We will continue to report on new remote online notarization developments in the Notary Bulletin.

Evelyn (Eve) Shelton

14 Mar 2020

A couple of things I noted above and didn't see them addressed. First of all, there are stringent requirements for having a document notairzed remotely. Myst be 18, be a U.S. citizen and must have U.S. government-issued IDs, and a social security number in order to have your document notarized remotely. We are allowed to perform notarizations for U.S. citizens abroad but they must have the IDs mentioned above. There are also a number of questions to verify identity that can be tricky. Another question was whether a notary can buy a seat on one of the platforms. DocVerify offers a monthly subscription service where the notary operates independently. I would caution that my experience with this platform is that there is very little tech support. No telephone support although they indicate otherwise. And text message responses are usually incomplete and surly/defensive in tone. I have not used this platform for a while so things may have improved.

National Notary Association

16 Mar 2020

Hello. Additional information on remote notarization can be found in this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2019/11/the-state-of-remote-online-notarization

Dawn Holman

24 Mar 2020

Is Missouri allowing Remote Online Notary??

National Notary Association

24 Mar 2020

Hello. No, not at this time.

Sharon Hoffman

24 Mar 2020

Are there any changes to RON based on the CoViD19 shelter-at-home mandates? I am particularly interested in California rules and based on this article, I thought RON would be allowed even before the current crisis: https://asmdc.org/press-releases/california-online-notary-act-approved-assembly-committee-business-and-professions

Laura Price

24 Mar 2020

Here's the latest article I've seen on RON as a reaction to COVID-19: https://www.housingwire.com/articles/bipartisan-push-begins-in-congress-to-allow-remote-online-notarizations-nationwide/?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingBallot&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=85144144&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9SW-82ayE7nSD8vqjlDpdAxk67v3dKkXxgFyqh0pWtg3eGqydQi5YFHeaax7VoJakYdTa8Tn9r89OyQo9gxXjMppybJg&_hsmi=85144144

Silvia Aguilera

25 Mar 2020

Do you see California getting approved in the near future?

National Notary Association

25 Mar 2020

Hi Silvia. California has not authorized remote notarizations at this time. However, several other states have issued emergency orders permitting RON or other alternative options for Notaries during the duration of the health crisis. We have a list of states and information here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization and will continue to update this article with new information as we receive it.

Donna Morris

25 Mar 2020

with COVID-19 emergency; I called NNA about remote notarization asking about my state, NJ and was directed to IdenTrust.com - I placed my application; paid for one year and then this article comes out to see that NJ is not a remote state . . . I would like to see that the individuals answering the NNA customer service line are made aware of this article. Customer Service for NNA should be informed. NJ requested that I seek the advice of NNA.

Tamira Thayne

25 Mar 2020

I've been looking into this, but it seems like it's made entirely too difficult for a single notary to get work that justifies all the expense we are put through in order to do it. It's very disappointing...

Katrina Higgins

26 Mar 2020

Please don't forget about the District of Columbia (WDC)

genuinenotaryservices2017@gmail.com

27 Mar 2020

Hello, is Wisconsin allowing Online Remote Notary?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2020

Hello. Yes, Wisconsin has issued emergency guidance immediately authorizing remote notarization. For details and how to proceed, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Bev Lazarus

30 Mar 2020

There are six companies that provide platform for remote signing, should I assume that since NNA have referenced all, they would all be recommended

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. The list above is not all-inclusive and does not indicate special endorsement by the NNA or any other agency.

Karen Tarrant

30 Mar 2020

Where is the list of companies that do remote notarizations?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. Please see the article above for a list of RON platforms.

Teresa

30 Mar 2020

I cannot find any information on what the RON notaries are being paid for a Buyers Package or Sellers Package...Can you choose to do only Loan Signing Agent work and not General Notary Work when signing up with RON platforms? Are the companies just paying you an hourly rate? If so what is that rate?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2020

Hello. You would need to contact either companies you accept loan signings from or individual RON platforms that sign up Notaries for assignments for information on pay rates or specializing in loan signing RONs only.

Brenda Scarborough

01 Apr 2020

I am a Realtor/Notary who also works as a bookkeeper for a law firm. My concern is the cost of the software or licensing for use of the platform when we are mandated to only be able to charge $4.00 per item notarized. Not cost effective at all when a good amount of us do not charge our clients for notarial services.

National Notary Association

01 Apr 2020

Hello. You may wish to contact different RON platforms for price quotes to determine if there is a platform that would be appropriate for your budget.

Christine Carr

01 Apr 2020

I'm surprised DocuSign is not on the approved list of technology providers. I'd also like to know if Adobe Sign is an approved tamper evident eNotary application.

ALGIERS HOLMES

02 Apr 2020

After researching New Jersey Assembly Bill, No. 3864 it appears that New Jersey has approved RON introduced March 16, 2020. Please advise

National Notary Association

02 Apr 2020

Hello. We are monitoring the bills moving through the New Jersey Legislature and will update our coverage if and when new Notary rules are formally enacted and implemented by the state. Please keep checking our Bulletin articles for updates, as state rules are being implemented and updated on a constant basis.

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