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Can I use credible witnesses as ID for a remote notarization?

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Are we able to use credible witnesses identifying the principal for remote online notarizations?E.M., Florida

For online notarial acts, Florida statute does not allow for the use of a credible witness to identify a signer. The only acceptable methods of identification for an online notarization are listed in FS 117.265 (4):

“An online notary public shall confirm the identity of the principal by:

  1. Personal knowledge of each principal; or
  2. All of the following, as such criteria may be modified or supplemented in rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to [FS] s. 117.295:
  • Remote presentation of a government-issued identification credential by each principal.
  • Credential analysis of each government-issued identification credential.
  • Identity proofing of each principal in the form of knowledge-based authentication or another method of identity proofing that conforms to the standards of this chapter.
“If the online notary public is unable to satisfy subparagraphs (b)1.-3., or if the databases consulted for identity proofing do not contain sufficient information to permit authentication, the online notary public may not perform the online notarization” (FS 117.265[4]).

The NNA Knowledge Center has information on remote notarization procedures for other states under the drop-down menu “State RON Instructions.”

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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Add your comment

Carl Fletcher

12 Feb 2024

Is biometrics another way to complete the identification of a signer for RON?

National Notary Association

12 Feb 2024

Hello. If you can please let us know what state you are located in, we can provide you with more information about your state's ID procedures for remote notarization.

Carl Fletcher

12 Feb 2024

I am located in Florida.

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2024

Yes, if the RON platform has the capability to do so.

Ethel Melton

16 Feb 2024

I'm leaving in the state of Illinois more information on ID procedures remote notarization

Denise Schubbe

17 Feb 2024

New Mexico

National Notary Association

22 Feb 2024

Hello. In New Mexico, remote online notarizations involve digital documents and electronic signatures. The signer logs onto a RON platform where they must prove their identity through the system's knowledge-based authentication (KBA) assessment and credential analysis. They then meet the Notary via webcam. For more information on remote notarization in New Mexico, please see here:

Kimberly Parra

22 Mar 2024

In Orange County, California is it possible to use credible witnesses to identify a signer that is out of state requesting a notarization? What would be the best practice in this instance?

National Notary Association

25 Mar 2024

Hello. No, you may not use credible witnesses in the situation you are describing. The type of scenario you are describing is known as "proof of execution by subscribing witness," where a person who saw the original signer sign the document appears before the Notary and swears or affirms the original signer signed the document. However, California does not allow proofs of execution by subscribing witness when notarizing any instrument affecting real property, and also has restrictions on who may serve as a subscribing witness. Please see here for more information:

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