Frequently Asked Questions About Online Notary

What is remote online notarization?

Remote Online Notarization (RON) is a process where documents are notarized in an electronic form by a notary public using a secure online platform. This technology enables the notary to verify a signer’s identity, witness their signature, and notarize documents remotely through video conferencing. RON provides a convenient and efficient solution for document notarization, accessible from anywhere with a stable internet connection.

Click HERE to watch a short video about remote online notarization.

Does a signer “personally appear” in the presence of an online notary public?

With traditional notary, signers have to personally appear in the physical presence of the notary public. In a remote online notary session, the signer and the notary do not have to be physically present with one another for the notarial act to be considered valid and legal. Instead, the signer can be considered to be legally “appearing” by audio-video conference. Because the signer can appear by videoconference, they can be located anywhere in the world during the notary session. And the notarial act will be legally valid under state law. Needless to say, this aspect of online notary makes the process dramatically faster, easier, and safer than an in-person traditional or mobile notary service.

Is online notary legally recognized?

Almost all U.S. states now permit their notaries to perform Remote Online Notarization (RON), providing broad access to notarial services. If a local notary isn’t available, you can use a notary from another state where RON is authorized, thanks to the interstate recognition of notarial acts. While this opens up convenient options for individuals and businesses, it’s important to confirm with the intended document recipient or consult legal experts to ensure RON is appropriate for your specific needs. This step ensures your notarized documents will be valid and accepted for their intended purpose

Will my state recognize a document notarized online?

Every US state recognizes the legal effect and validity of a document that has been notarized online as long as the notarization was performed in compliance with the laws of the notary’s commissioning state. The notary public must be commissioned and approved in a state that authorizes remote online notary under statute.

What type of documents can be notarized online?

Almost any document that would typically be notarized in person can also be notarized online, offering great flexibility and convenience. However, there are some notable exceptions to keep in mind.  

  • Last will & testament documents – including wills, codicils, will amendments, and testamentary trusts. (Please note that we can notarize living wills.)
  • Documents to be apostilled or that are intended for use outside the United States
  • I-9 Forms Certifying copies of certain official documents
  • Automobile titles
  • Marriage certificates

It’s important to verify with the recipient of your document, or consult with your attorney or advisor, to ensure that online notarization is suitable and accepted for your specific document type or legal scenario. This extra step helps guarantee that your notarized document will meet all necessary legal and procedural requirements.

How does the notary verify a signer’s identity?

Except if the online notary has personal knowledge of the signer, the notary must confirm the signer’s identity two ways: first, by validation of the signer’s photo ID; and second, presenting the signer with security questions. 

“Credential analysis” is where the signer’s photo identification card (such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card) is validated. This process uses artificial intelligence to confirm the ID’s security features and that the ID document is not fraudulent or altered. The technology also checks available information from the authority that issued the ID or from another authoritative source that the ID is current and duly issued. 

“Identity proofing” is the second step in confirming the signer’s identity.  Here the notary can affirm the signer’s identity with dynamically-generated questions about the signer based on public records and other proprietary data sources. The signer must answer a sufficient number of knowledge-based authentication questions within a prescribed amount of time. Examples of these types of questions (with multiple-choice answers) include the following:

  • “Which of these email addresses is yours?”
  • “What is the ZIP code for your home on Brookfield Avenue?”
  • “In which city did you attend college?

An increasing number of states allow their notaries to use biometric analysis instead of identity proofing questions to satisfy the identity proofing requirements.

What is the process of signing a document in an online notary session?

Once the signer’s identity has been confirmed, the document to be signed is displayed on the screens of the notary public and the signer. The signer applies their electronically-created signature to the document, while the notary applies their digital seal, digital signature, and completes the notary certificate. The digital document contains the unique digital signing certificate of the notary public. This digital certificate is a modern-day version of the rubber notary stamp and makes the final electronic document “tamper-evident” once it is applied. So any attempts to alter the tamper-evident document’s contents will be evident to any party accessing that document and its digital record.

How does an online notary keep their records?

The records of each notarial act of an online notary public are in electronic form and saved in a secure environment and backed up. The system used by the notary also creates a digital recording of the online notary session. The recording is saved with the electronic record of the notary session. Records are required under law to be saved for a legally prescribed number of years.

What is the difference between eNotary and remote online notary?

Both eNotary and remote online notary involve the electronic signing and sealing of a digital document, in contrast to wet ink and paper signatures and seals. But with eNotary, the signer still must be in the physical presence of the notary public. With remote online notary signers can legally appear by remote Internet video camera.

Is online notary safer than traditional in-person notary services?

There are several reasons why online notary is far safer. Because the online notary session is recorded, any indications of coercion, duress, or other wrongdoing can be reviewed well after the session’s completion. With remote online notary, the signer’s identity is confirmed using a two-step process of identity-proofing questions and a technology-driven analysis of the signer’s identification card. uses technology that can instantly analyze any state’s driver’s license, state-issued ID, or U.S. Passport. This level of ID verification is all but impossible for an in-person notary to perform. Therefore, the likelihood of identity fraud is dramatically reduced. Each signed document in an online notary session is sealed with a tamper-evident digital signing certificate that allows for easy detection of any unauthorized changes to the document.