Traditionally, notarization has required a face-to-face meeting with a notary public to verify document authenticity and signatories’ identities. However, the advent of RON is a game-changer in the world of notarization, bringing convenience and accessibility to a whole new level.
Here’s everything you need to know about the basics of RON – from what it is to how it differs from traditional notarization and how to perform remote notarizations in each state.
What is a notary?
Before we dive into RON, let’s start with the basics.
A notary public is a commissioned official authorized to verify the identity of a person signing a document and to witness the signing. Notaries also certify that the signer is aware of the document’s contents, confirm the accuracy of the information in the documents, and ensure the signer is signing willingly.
In short, the notary’s stamp and signature give documents extra credibility. Notaries play a crucial role in preventing fraud and maintaining the integrity of legal documents.
What is remote online notarization (RON)?
Now, let’s get to the star of the show: remote online notarization (or RON for short). This is where technology meets notarization, allowing documents to become notarized without the notary or the signatory stepping foot outside their homes.
Remote online notarization (RON) is notarizing a document electronically. It allows individuals to have their documents notarized by a notary public via a secure online platform, eliminating the need for an in-person meeting. RON involves using audiovisual technology, such as video calls, to complete the notarization process remotely.
Remote Notarization vs. Traditional Notarization
Traditionally, you’d have to meet a notary in person for them to verify your identity and witness your signature. RON turns this process on its head, allowing you to complete notarization from your living room or wherever you have an internet connection. It’s a game-changer for long-distance transactions or when signatories are unable to meet in person.
Remote Notarization vs. Electronic Notarization
RON is often confused with electronic notarization (E-notarization). But there are some fundamental differences:
- Remote Notarization: The notary and signee are in separate locations, and the notarization occurs through a live video call.
- Electronic Notarization: E-notarization involves the notary using electronic tools and software to notarize documents in person. The documents may be in electronic format (e.g., PDFs), but the parties must be physically present with the notary during the process.
What states allow remote online notarization?
Many U.S. states have adopted remote online notarization, albeit with varying regulations and requirements. Here’s an overview of each state where RON is currently legal.
To become a remote notary in Alaska, you need to have a current commission as a traditional notary public. You’ll also need a contract with a state-approved RON technology provider and to notify the Lieutenant Governor.
Current Arizona notaries can register to perform RONs. Before applying, read the AZ Remote Online Notary Rules, contract with a state-approved RON technology platform, request an application from the Secretary of State, and apply.
In Florida, you must already be a notary, complete a RON training course, pass an exam, get a surety bond and insurance policy, choose a RON technology provider, and complete a registration form.
To become a RON in Idaho, you must qualify for a commission as a traditional notary. Create an account on the state’s SOSbiz portal, sign up for a RON software provider, complete some forms, and submit an application and filing fee to the Secretary.
Kansas notaries must hold an existing commission, take a training course, pass an exam, and sign a contract with a state-approved RON technology provider to become RON-certified. They must also pay a fee and notify the Secretary of State.
Prospective RONs in Maryland need to hold an existing commission as a traditional notary, contract with a RON technology provider, complete a form, and send the form to the Secretary of State.
In Missouri, you can hold an existing commission or apply for one to become RON-certified. Complete a training course, pass the exam, contract with a RON technology provider, and complete the remote notary application.
You must hold an existing commission as a traditional notary in Nebraska to apply to be a remote notary. Complete the required RON training, take an exam, and contract with a technology provider. You must also complete an online registration form and pay a $100 fee.
To become an online notary, you must have a traditional commission, register for an eNotary training course, pay a $45 fee, submit an application with a $50 fee, pass an exam, and choose a state-approved RON technology provider.
North Dakota notaries may apply to perform remote notarizations simply by contracting with a RON technology provider and notifying the Secretary of State.
The State of Ohio requires you to hold an existing commission, take a two-hour course, pass an exam, contract with a RON technology provider, complete an application, and pay a $20 filing fee.
To perform RONs in Oklahoma, you must hold an existing commission as a traditional notary. Choose a RON technology vendor, file an application, and pay a $25 fee.
In Oregon, traditional notaries may perform remote notarizations after they complete an online course, submit the Remote Notarization Notice form, contract with a technology provider, and wait for approval from the SOS.
Current notaries may apply to perform remote notarizations. They must submit the required application to the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections and Notaries, wait for approval via email, and choose a provider from the Department of State’s website.
Tennessee notaries may apply to perform RONs after reviewing the TN statute and rules, contracting with a RON technology provider, completing an application with the Secretary of State, and paying a $75 fee.
Existing notaries in Texas may apply to perform online notarizations by choosing a RON vendor, purchasing a digital certificate and eseal, completing a form, and paying $50.
In Utah, you must hold an existing commission as a traditional notary and increase your surety bond coverage to $10,000. Choose a RON technology vendor, obtain digital supplies (electronic seal and signature), access your Utah.gov account to submit a certification form, pass a criminal background check, and pay $50.
Virginian notaries must hold an existing commission, get an electronic seal/stamp, choose a RON technology vendor, complete an application, and pay a $45 fee online.
Remember that regulations can change quickly, so it’s wise to verify the current status of RON in your state.
Can I become an online notary?
The requirements for becoming an online notary vary from state to state. Here’s an overview of the general process:
- Eligibility: You must typically (though not always) already be a commissioned notary public in your state.
- Training: Many states require specialized training or certification in RON.
- Approved platform: You must choose a trusted RON platform to perform online notarizations, like Notary Hub.
- State registration: Register with your state’s notary authority and comply with their specific rules.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can notarize a wide range of documents using RON, including:
- Real estate documents
- Powers of attorney
- Various types of contracts
- Loan documents
- And more
The specific list can vary by state. Check your state’s rules and restrictions on the types of documents that can be remotely notarized.
You must contact the notary public commission in your state. They will provide you with the necessary information and requirements. This usually involves training, platform selection, and registration with the relevant authorities.
Using remote online notarization offers several advantages, including:
- Convenience: You can notarize documents without meeting signatories in person.
- Speed: It’s generally much faster than traditional notarization, reducing the need for in-person meetings and commute time.
- Security: RON is a secure process that uses the latest technology to protect information.
- Accessibility: It provides access to notary services for individuals in remote areas.
- Accuracy: RON creates a digital record of the notarization process.
Becoming an online notary is easy.
If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in becoming a remote online notary, the process is generally straightforward. And many resources are available to guide you. Embracing RON can benefit your career and enhance the convenience and efficiency of notarization for your clients.
If you’re interested in signing up to become an online notary with Notary Hub – a MISMO-certified, secure, and trusted platform – ZipBonds offers a 20% discount.