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In June 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 409 into law. The law authorized the use of remote online notarization (RON), which has reshaped how notarial acts can be executed in the state. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
But what exactly is a remote online notarization, and how is it different from a traditional or electronic notarization (e-notarization)? Learn more about RON, its benefits and the requirements for becoming an online notary public.
Remote online notarization allows individuals, banks, law firms and other businesses to connect with a notary over the internet. Authorized online notaries in Florida can now notarize electronic documents for clients located anywhere in the United States over a secure audio-video connection.
The entire video chat, including identity verification and the notarization of documents, is recorded in real time and saved for future reference. Documents are signed and stamped digitally and then stored online. The notary's journal of remote online notarizations is also 100% digital.
Our Florida Online Notary package includes everything you need to get started:
You'll also receive an official application form that is pre-filled with your personal information.
Software companies called RON service providers handle all the technology and support you need for online notarizations. They typically offer notaries a secure audio-video platform, advanced identity proofing and credential analysis, and long-term document storage.
RON service providers offer a range of services to online notaries, including:
Some companies provide an all-in-one application that lets clients find an online notary, upload and sign documents, and connect with the notary over video chat.
The online platforms, as well as their services and prices, may differ from provider to provider. So it's wise to research several options and choose the company that best fits your needs.
When you submit your RON application to the state, you must list the RON service provider you will work with. You're free to switch RON service providers at any time, but you must notify the state of the change.
In 2007, Florida notaries were first authorized to perform e-notarizations, in which the notary uses an electronic signature to notarize a digital document. But notaries are required to follow the same procedures for e-notarizations as with paper notarizations.
Now, with remote online notarizations, signers and witnesses are no longer required to be in the same room — or even the same state — as the notary. Due to interstate recognition practices, a remotely notarized document may be used in other states, just as with a traditional notarization.
For example, an online notary located in Florida can connect with a principal in California to notarize a document that will be used in Texas. And the signing of that document can be witnessed by a person in Oregon. However, online notaries in Florida must be physically located in Florida to perform a RON.
Remote online notaries must follow all rules for traditional notaries, along with a few new rules and procedures. If the item to be notarized is a will, trust, health care directive, waiver of spousal rights or power of attorney for financial transactions, the principal must answer a defined series of questions prior to the notarization.
Further, if the document is a will, additional requirements apply regarding how the recorded video session must be stored.
The RON law lists specific requirements and standards for how remote online notarizations must be performed in Florida.
The process typically works as follows:
An online notary that is registered with the Department of State can perform any notarial act over an audio-video connection except solemnizing a marriage.
Online notarizations provide a more modern and convenient option for people who require notary services. The convenience of RON extends to the notary as well.
Scheduling a signing is much simpler when all parties involved do not need to be present in the same room. You can simply agree on a day and time that works best for everyone's schedule regardless of their location.
Other benefits of RON include:
While Florida notaries are not required to become online notaries, RON provides an array of benefits that could help you expand your business.
Any commissioned notary in Florida can apply to become an online notary. To be approved, you must meet some additional requirements.
To become an online notary in Florida, you must:
Once all the requirements are met, you can submit your application to the state. The Department of State will contact you directly once you're approved.
Virginia was the first state to authorize RON in 2014. By January 2020, more than 20 states have authorized RON or are in the process of enacting RON laws.
These states include:
Because interest in RON is rising across the country, it is likely that this list will continue to grow.