Many notary publics have made the transition to becoming a remote online notary for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to, reducing costs incurred due to travel and maintenance of paper documents, increasing business with more clients, and the additional safety and security provided by the ability to work remotely.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work in general has exploded in popularity and that applies to notaries as well. A majority of the states in the United States of America have now passed legislation allowing remote online notarizations and getting commissioned to notarize remotely is a simple process in most states. Additionally, the adoption of remote online notarizations increased by over five hundred percent in 2020 – and continues to grow to this day.
Here, we have assembled information you will need to become familiar with in order to become a remote online notary. Included are basic requirements to become a remote online notary, which states allow remote online notarizations, the benefits of remote online notarizations and how long it takes to become a remote online notary.
In addition, we have included information on our remote online notarization solution eNotaryDox that utilizes the SIGNiX digital signature platform where every signature, not just the final document, is cryptographically sealed with the embedded legal evidence in the notarized document.
What are the requirements to be a remote online notary?
Some states have a longer list of requirements to become a remote online notary, but in general, most of them include these basic qualifications:
- You must be at least eighteen years of age
- You must be a legal resident of the state
- You must have no felony convictions
For some states, it is required that you already hold a commission as a traditional notary public before you submit your application to become a remote online notary. There are other states, however, that allow you to apply for a notary commission and apply to perform remote online notarizations at the same time.
Some states like Ohio, Indiana, and Montana require notaries to pass an exam to prove their knowledge of RON technology and procedures and they must adhere to the permanent notarization laws in their respective states.
There are six essential steps to take to become a remote online notary:
- You’ll need to have a current notary public commission in your state.
- Depending on your state, you may need to take a remote online notarization class and pass an exam.
- Select a remote online notarization platform.
- Acquire the necessary supplies which include an electronic seal and a digital certificate.
- Depending on your state, you may have to acquire a surety bond or errors and omissions insurance.
- Submit your state’s application form or notice you intend to offer remote online notarization services. You may need to include proof that you’ve taken all these steps.
What states allow remote online notary?
The list of states that have passed remote online notarization laws continues to grow, and due to COVID-19, many states have issued temporary RON notarizations rules.
There are currently 40 states with permanent RON laws. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
There are currently seven states that have allowed temporary remote online notarization rules with expiration dates including Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.
Notaries in the District of Columbia and California are not currently allowed to perform remote online notarizations. The state of South Carolina has no laws or guidance issued and the temporary authorization for remote online notarizations has expired in Connecticut.
It’s important to note the legality and status of remote online notarizations are subject to change in each state – please check with your state’s authorities for the latest information.
Benefits of becoming a remote online notary
Some traditional notaries may be wary of remote online notarizations because it’s new and unfamiliar to them. The technology involved can be intimidating to those notaries who aren’t the most tech savvy. But the benefits of remote online notarizations greatly outweigh the concerns and potential negative aspects once the notary becomes familiar with the process and the technology used.
The convenience of remote online notarizations for both notaries and their clients over in-person, paper-based notarizations is another factor leading to the increase in popularity. The increased access to notarial services, the security and enforceability of the notarizations and the reduced risk of identity fraud are some of the major benefits of remote online notarizations.
Since COVID-19, many people are more sensitive to in-person meetings, and understandably so. Remote online notarizations allow notaries and their signers to communicate remotely in the safety of their own home or office. Remote online notarizations eliminate the risk of spreading any illness or virus including COVID-19.
Another reason notaries have been including remote online notarizations in their business is because it makes them more efficient and reduces the expenses they would otherwise encounter with traditional in-person notarizations. The expenses include fuel purchases, travel time, and having to print and maintain and organize documents for their signers. With remote online notarizations, notaries and their signers do not have to worry about keeping track of their original paper documents or having electronic copies not be accepted. With remote online notarizations, the document is just as legal as traditional paper documents in an electronic format.
The convenience for notaries and their customers to be able to perform remote online notarizations without leaving their homes is another added benefit. This ability to do the same job from home without all the overhead of travel, traffic and other inconveniences makes remote online notarizations more appealing to both parties involved. Remote online notarizations can be done from a computer or smart phone in just a few minutes.
How long does it take to become a remote online notary?
Depending on your state, it can take up to six weeks to become an online notary. The first four weeks will be spent on the first step, which is becoming a traditional in-person notary. The remaining steps of the process can be accomplished in a timely manner. If required to take a remote online notarization training course by your state, it can be finished in a matter of a few hours. Following the training course, it could take one to two days to get a quote for the surety bond and errors and omissions policy. Then it could take one day to get your application form notarized. After all these steps, you’ll need to submit any additional materials required plus an application filing fee to your state’s notary regulatory official. Once your application has been processed and approved, you will be notified when you can begin performing remote online notarizations.
With over a billion notary transactions occurring each year in the United States, notaries are moving away from the traditional notary process that requires paper documents, rubber stamp notary seals, and pen-and-ink signatures. Performing these notarizations in a remote environment, without the necessity of having the signer to appear physically in person before the notary, saves costs, untimely delays, and other inconveniences.
The SIGNiX solution to remote online notarizations
SIGNiX’s remote online notarization software eNotaryDox provides users an easy to navigate platform at a much lower cost than similar platforms. With the help of audio-visual technology, in concert with SIGNiX’s patented digital signature technology, notaries can perform their duties in a smooth and simple process ensuring their documents integrity and their customer’s satisfaction.
Included in SIGNiX’s eNotaryDox is a highly detailed record of the signature and notary process itself in TotalAudit™. Additionally, SIGNiX enables strong, multi-factor authentication options like knowledge-based authentication to positively verify the identity of the signers involved in the notarization process.
Notaries play a crucial role in performing many important transactions that need to be completed in a trusted environment. SIGNiX’s solution to remote online notarizations give notaries the ability to acquire new business and improve their current business with increased customer satisfaction, cost effectiveness, security, and fraud protection.