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Congress proposes federal remote notarization bill — what Notaries need to know

Congress building

In February, Congress introduced the SECURE Notarization Act, a bill that could have a major impact on interstate in-person electronic (IPEN) and remote online notarizations (RON) if it becomes law. Here’s what Notaries should know:

What is the SECURE Notarization Act?

How will the Act affect Notaries if it becomes law?

What’s the current status of the Act?

Does the NNA support or oppose the Act?

What is the SECURE Notarization Act?

The “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2023” (SECURE Notarization Act) was introduced in the 2023 Congress in February. It would authorize Notaries nationwide to perform IPENs and RONs if the notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce, even if the Notary’s home state does not have in-person electronic or remote online notarization laws on the books.

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How will the Act affect Notaries if it becomes law?

If the Act becomes law, Notaries in states without in-person electronic or remote online notarization laws would have blanket authorization to perform IPENs and RONs exclusively for transactions involving interstate commerce. Notaries in states that have existing IPEN and RON laws would continue to perform these notarizations under the authority of their state law.

The Act would further set minimum federal standards for performing technology-based notarizations. For in-person electronic notarizations, Notaries would be required to attach or logically associate their electronic signature and all other required information to the electronic record (for example, the Notary’s printed name, commission expiration date, and electronic seal) in a manner that produces evidence of any change after the notarization is performed.

For remote online notarizations, the remotely located signer would have to personally appear at the time of notarization before the Notary Public using communication technology. Notaries must identify a remotely located signer through (1) at least 2 distinct processes or services to verify the identity of the remotely located signer, (2) the oath or affirmation of a credible witness who is either physically present before the Notary or present before the Notary using communication technology, or (3) the Notary’s personal knowledge.

In addition, Notaries would have to create and retain a recording of the notarization and confirm that the signer’s statement and/or signature was made on the same document that was notarized.

If enacted, the SECURE Notarization Act may preempt the in-person electronic or remote online notarization laws of states that do not contain the minimum standards in the Act, affecting how Notaries in preempted states perform these notarizations. Two examples are Alabama and South Dakota. Alabama’s law does not conform to the minimum identification standards under the SECURE Notarization Act. South Dakota’s law does not require the Notary or the Notary’s agent to create and maintain a recording of each remote notarization. In addition, state laws giving greater legal effect to the implementation or application of a specific technology or technical specification would be preempted by the Act. This could require states to rewrite their laws.

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What’s the current status of the Act?

It was introduced on February 17, 2023, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 27, and is currently in the U.S. Senate and assigned to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. If you’d like to read more about the bill, has information on the SECURE Notarization Act’s current text and status.

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Does the NNA support or oppose the SECURE Notarization Act?

The NNA has not taken a position on the SECURE Notarization Act. The NNA believes the interstate recognition provision in the Act could be needed to protect the Notary Public office nationwide if bills seeking to undermine the acceptance of RONs across state lines currently being considered in California and Connecticut are enacted. On the other hand, the NNA does not support Congress in determining who may perform notarizations and how they are conducted. These matters traditionally have been determined individually by each state. The NNA also has questions about how the Act will affect Notary liability. For example, the Act allows a Notary of a state without a remote online notarization law to perform a RON if the notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce. Could a Notary commissioned in a state that does not have a RON law be liable if a court decides later that the transaction wasn’t related to interstate commerce?

The NNA invited industry experts to offer statements about why they support or oppose the bill:

Statement from Renée Hunter, General Counsel of Notarize, supporting the SECURE Notarization Act:

“As RON continues to grow in popularity, the benefits of the SECURE Notarization Act are clear. The legislation will provide greater clarity around remote notarizations and ensure that minimum standards are applied equally across all 50 states. It is important that the Act establish a floor while giving states the flexibility to implement additional standards — a crucial component of a state's role in regulating Notaries Public. SECURE will guarantee that Notaries nationwide can access RON and give the people they serve the confidence they deserve when traveling or doing business between states. While Notarize is committed to working with each state on implementing RON, companion legislation at the federal level is needed to deliver these important protections.”

Statement from Timothy Reiniger, Director, Reiniger LLC, opposing the SECURE Notarization Act:

“If enacted in its current form, the SECURE Act will cause serious damage to the notarial profession in the United States. By preventing (or preempting) states from setting technology performance requirements and, in effect, shifting technology determinations to the private sector, Notaries will be subject to using the multiple proprietary technology platforms and fee structures of the banking, land title insurance, and legal services industries. It is far more economical for Notaries to be able to select just one interoperable standards-based state technology that all sectors must recognize.”

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Bill Anderson is the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Notary Association.


Add your comment


29 Mar 2023

I oppose it SECURE fully. The only thing that will be secure is money in the pockets of those in D.C. The federal government's hands in anything spells doom. That's the way I see it. When they step in for this, they will eventually step in for other matters as it relates to the Notary profession. Mock my words. This is only the beginning.

04 Apr 2023

I oppose it because the decision for notaries belongs to the state.


09 Apr 2023

Anything that makes a notary subject to technology is a no-go for me. IF RON is going to be a GO for me there can only be one software that everyone uses and it should be under the regulation of the government. Why should tech be taking away our livelihood? In some states, the fee is only $5 for GNW. So how is a notary to make any money when I'm sure there will likely be fees to use whatever technology is out there? I do not quite understand why the government cares about making things easy for our signers? Tech must be lobbying hard, hard, hard to get into business with the government. It's pretty likely fraud and duress for some signers who need a POA or a will. Fraud will be rampant and the notary will be liable. States should be able to regulate their own laws. I do not support any mandatory RON. It's just one more way to make the notary obsolete. I cannot even get my printer to act right. Why would I want to take on ANOTHER out of pocket expense and learning curve to learn RON?


10 Apr 2023

I have had serious qualms about remote notarization as a practice and after much deliberation decided against doing them. I like the idea of using an electronic journal (but not using one yet). However, I just can't affix my seal to a document where the real flesh-and-blood signer didn't actually appear in front of me. How can I know that the image on the screen in front of me isn't a very well executed CGI? No thanks.


10 Apr 2023

A few years ago I would possibly support this. But the last couple years we have seen how evil and corrupt the federal government is. So, keep the feds out of this.

Irene Abbott

10 Apr 2023

I am not comfortable with this legislation simply because the opportunity for fraudulent activity is introduced when a face to face meeting isn't required. As technology advances, what we see online is not always what is factual. There are some very savvy people who can do some very remarkable things and it's only going to get more advanced. RON is virtually a baby in this technology and documenting should be sound and solid when it comes to recording. Can we really rely on what is on the other end of a computer screen to be actual? I'm not convinced yet

Timothy Willis

10 Apr 2023

I oppose the passage of the federal law. Again the Federal Government has no business sticking it's nose in regulation of Notary's. Those matters are reserved for the state's.


10 Apr 2023

I will oppose this as well this should be left up to the states to regulate.


10 Apr 2023

Notarize is behind this bill. They just want all notaries to build their Notarize platform and not be independent, not set their own rates. They will control the notary market. Oppose this bill, let the states decide what’s best for them.


10 Apr 2023

I agree with BK totally.


10 Apr 2023

The one thing that is not clear to me is that this federal bill only applies to notarizations which "occur in or affects interstate commerce." I'd like specific examples of notarizations affecting interstate commerce. For instance, signing a deed transferring property in one state but one of the signers had a business trip and is in another state, does that qualify for interstate commerce? Or someone selling their property to another within one state, but the seller happens to be in another state when signing; is this an example of interstate commerce?


10 Apr 2023

All this will really accomplish is to put almost all real estate related notarizations in the greedy hands of big tech...and the least expensive notary/most profitable big tech platform big tech can devise. Even the NNA is backing off from its previous support.


10 Apr 2023

This is utterly Ridiculous... This will cause a lot of unnecessary problems In this Profession..( Brace yourself)

Zara Shea

10 Apr 2023

I am thrilled to see the federal government stepping in on this matter. The United States as a whole needs more consistency when it comes to the rules and regulations for the Office of Notary Public, as it stands currently when it comes to rules and regulations of being a Notary, things are very fragmented, and I think that weakens the Office of Notary Public. Federal oversight is a very good thing <3

Sandi Fong

10 Apr 2023

Fraud will increase if this electronic RON passes. I am against this new proposal. I have been in the title insurance industry for 30 years and fraud happens

Roger H Ridley

10 Apr 2023

I oppose SECURE and RON as I do not feel comfortable not having the signor in my presence. I would like any type of remote notarization to give the Notary the option to accept or reject the signor on that basis, or to require the signor to be present when notarizing their document. Also, there should be only one platform to use. Banks, title companies, etc. must all use the same platform.

10 Apr 2023

I'm against this legislation. All it does is take more security of identity, as well as money, out of the hands of the notary. We've already seen how the platforms collect the majority of the fees for notary services. This legislation will only make it worse in all respects.

Michael Harris

10 Apr 2023

If I do a refi in New Jersey for a lender in Nevada, does this affect interstate commerce?

Christopher Sullivan, General Counsel, President and CEO for IntegraNotary

10 Apr 2023

IntegraNotary was formed to bring integrity to remote online notarization (RON), according to Colorado standards, the highest in the nation. This bill undermines the ancient role, dignity, and legal authority of a notary public to serve according to state jurisdiction. A notary public is commissioned, regulated, and held accountable in the state of their residence, because they are under the jurisdiction of the courts to enforce compliance with the laws of their state. The legal force and effect of their acts are already accepted under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution. Federal RON opens up a world of fraud by artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a huge mistake to step outside state laws, regulations, rules, official forms, and the technology standards and protocols to make and keep RON safe, into federal regulation and enforcement. This SECURE Act is an oxymoron, because it is anything but secure, and a race to the bottom to allow the lowest standards. Somehow prompted by interstate commerce concerns that RON is required, but in a framework outside state laws, and this will end badly. Self-certification by RON service providers regarding their technology standards, protocols, and practices, is the current practice, where few understand how Cloud SaaS platforms actually operate beyond the glow of their web browsers. The difficulty to understand how the Cloud and software platforms deliver a secure notarization and PDF record, is yet to be demonstrated with sufficient clarity and transparency to earn the widespread confidence of a notary public. We created IntegraNotary to earn that confidence, and build community around how a Colorado notary public can earn the right to perform a remote notarization on our platform, expected to launch on or before July 4th, 2023. Enforcement on a federal level, of a new federal law, and in the federal courts, destroys the integrity of each state-commissioned notary to authenticate a signer with a government ID from their own state of residence, and to perform their duties under their own state laws. This federal bill is a very bad idea on many levels. It does not improve on prior versions proposed since the pandemic of 2020. Please read the bill. Send your thoughts and your objections to our federal lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, for these reasons and all the others you see that this legislation needs more consideration and deliberation.

Walter Ordonez

10 Apr 2023

I believe that change is coming, and I like many of you know we either adapt to the changes or we are left in the dust. Its too early to really understand how every detail of this job function will impact us, i am confident that someone will take care of solving the problem. I look at it as exciting times are ahead of us and thats what life is all about growing, learning and becoming better for it. I remember when we first heard World Wide Super highway, or Mobil phones, or texting, Apps and ATM cards, Scanning, and WiFi. Our generation has made our lives easier, so lets knock it till we try it? Change = Opportunity

Lorraine Pereverzie

10 Apr 2023

I am totally opposed mainly because I have had situations where a family member or friend is applying undue pressure or influence over my signer and I have had to ask them to leave the room in order to effectively complete the signing. With RONs, who knows what's happening behind the camera lens and what kind of gun is( figuratively or literally) being held against a signer's head??? It truly frightens me to think that people will be forced into signing something they have no free will or volition to do - more so than ever with this technology.

Doug Porter

11 Apr 2023

We as Notaries are expected to record and store each RON or SECURE notarization at our own expense. This can become costly and we don't get paid enough as it is. I oppose this completely. How are we supposed to have a career as a notary if we don't make any money.


11 Apr 2023

Reach out to your U.S. senators to let them know how you feel about the bill.


11 Apr 2023

I oppose and agree with the opposition comments. Also, can someone tell me how RONs are supposed to check ID for RAISED, superimposed photos and other hoodwinkery that goes on in fake IDs???


11 Apr 2023

I oppose this law. The Notary function and laws are a state matter, not the Federal Government! I have my state commission to do RON and IPEN signings, but have not done much training, and I am still uncomfortable with the process of identifying the signer/s. This bill would open it up for major FRAUD! The fees paid by the industry for remote signings are very small and we would have to pay to use the software platform of their choice. I would rather find a new profession.


12 Apr 2023

Me opongo totalmente...nos saldra caro por todos lados...


12 Apr 2023

I can tell that most of you all haven’t used RON. I don’t really have a stance on this either way, but I thought I’d answer some questions: 1. Most states with RON already limit the platforms an eNotary can use because they have to meet the requirements of the state. 2. Notaries make money by charging per seal based on the maximum amount their state allows them to charge; however, fees can also be charged like a technology fee or if you are a nsa then you charge fees for explanation of the docs. Any fees outside of the notary seal are considered taxable income. 3. Verifying ID - in my opinion it’s more effective than in person. Notarize requires the signer to first verify 5 knowledge based info questions. These are the one that are like pick what color 1979 Chevy Silverado you owned. Then the id that the customer uploaded is ran through credential analysis. If it’s blurry or isn’t legit, it will fail the analysis. Last of all the notary is expected to manually review the id EVERY time to make sure it is an id acceptable for their state and make sure that the id matches the person in front of them. If any red flags come up, they can terminate the session. While notarization platforms out there might charge monthly and/or transaction fees (per seal), there’s still an inherent cost to doing business regardless of how it’s conducted. With mobile notary there’s car mileage/depreciation and gas; with traditional notary you have to have a brick and mortar location if you are a business anyway, and with RON you work on a platform. People will and should pay a fee for the convenience of being able to notarize documents from the comfort of their home, so that’s why those fees are passed along to them. The market dictates what it wants: if you don’t want to pay to notarize something go to your local bank or post office. You take the time and the travel cost to do that. Or you can pay someone for the convenience. The signer or business has the power to decide.

Debra Hoover

13 Apr 2023

Fraud will be rampant.


15 Apr 2023

My concern is that a notary public in another state can or will be performing transactions that I may typically care for, thus shrinking the notary public field to a select few who are able to get in on this, probably first come first serve. Additionally, what would happen to our elderly or rural clients who have connectivity issues? Someone above raised the concern about an individual signing under duress. That's a legitimate concern. On the flip side, the notary public will be physically safer, but increase his or her liability with regards to anything unforeseen going on? Will this mean getting rid of the middle man signing platforms? The database of notaries public who will be able to or will even be needed to do this will be relatively small.

Kristi S

15 Apr 2023

I oppose this bill! Those of you who do, please write to your Senators requesting them to vote it down. Since ancient times, our role as a notary is to protect the consumer. The state the notary is commissioned in must remain in control of that notary’s rules.


17 Apr 2023

Let’s go! This is the 21st century. Digitize it all.


17 Apr 2023

What about attorney states? I think this bill may help push the states that are attorney states to atleast start moving towards IPEN or RON, when there has been NO movement at all.

Noemi Gotay

18 Apr 2023

As I read the comments, I see that The opinions given are given without proper knowledge. I am A RON Notary Public and Signing agent In the State of Florida. and I can see that the system needs improvement. However when it comes to Identifications We use KBA / CA. I think It is easier to falsify in person than with this system. Now. If the Notary and the client want to falsify info, It can be done with any system.

Zara Shea

08 May 2023

First, shame on those who make this into a political battle! Whatever happened to notaries remaining neutral? Second, I'm thrilled to see the federal government stepping in and rescuing the Office of Notary Public in the United States, seeing that across our land there are far too many inconsistencies in the standards for the Office of Notary Pubic which really weakens and promotes less trust in notaries. Honest and ethical notaries have no problem with more regulations that promote neutrality and fair treatment to ALL clients regardless of their LGBTQ status.

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