Remote Online Notary: What It Is and How to Become One

April 9, 2024 / RON

Remote online notarization (RON) allows individuals, banks, law firms and other organizations to connect with a notary over the internet. Authorized online notaries work in a virtual setting to notarize electronic documents for clients located anywhere in the United States over a secure audio-video connection.

The entire process, including identity verification and the document notarization, is recorded live 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.

Becoming a Remote Notary

Currently, online notarization is legal in 47 states*. To perform notarial acts electronically, you must meet your state's requirements for becoming a notary public. Common requirements for notary applicants include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Being a legal resident of the state
  • No felony convictions

If you live in a state that requires you to become a notary public first, our complete online notary packages include state-required notary bonds, supplies and an opportunity to purchase errors and omissions Insurance. You'll also receive an official application form that is pre-filled with your personal information.

RON regulations are different in each state. States like Florida require additional training. Other states allow commissioned notaries to perform RONs with no additional requirements. For states that require training, our online RON training courses are coming soon!

Once you get your commission, you need a digital notary certificate, an electronic version of your seal, and a RON service provider.

Digital notary certificates are applied to a notarized document for security purposes. They verify your identity as the notary and make it obvious to document viewers if your electronic signature and seal were tampered with after notarization.

*Upcoming legalizations:

  • Massachusetts: While RON is technically allowed as of January 1, 2024, notaries cannot perform remote notarizations until the required training and application method become available.
  • California: RONs are not permitted until 2030.
  • North Carolina: A law permanently allowing RONs starts on July 1, 2024.
  • District of Columbia: RONs are currently not allowed. A RON law was passed, but it has not been implemented yet.

What Is a RON Service Provider

RON service providers are software companies that develop the technology required for online notarizations. They typically offer notaries a secure audio-video platform, advanced identity proofing and credential analysis, and long-term document storage.

Some providers offer extra features like a dedicated mobile app with a way to collect payments from signers.

These are a few popular options to consider:

When you submit your RON application to the state, you must list the 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. Additionally, your state may only allow RONs through certain providers.

Differences Between RON and Other Types of Notarizations

RON is not the same as electronic notarization (e-notarization). Notaries who can perform e-notarizations use an electronic signature to notarize a digital document. However, signers still need to appear in person for identity verification.

With remote online notarizations, signers and witnesses are not 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 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, some states like Florida require online notaries to be physically located in their home state to perform a RON.

Remote online notaries must follow the same rules as traditional notaries, along with 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.

Remote Online Notarization Steps

States and service providers can have their own specific requirements and standards for how to perform RONs.

Generally, after a customer requests a RON, the process works like this:

  1. The signer uploads the documents requiring notarization using the service provider.
  2. The online notary identifies and authenticates the signer using various methods such as remote ID presentation, credential analysis or knowledge-based authentication.
  3. The online notary starts a recorded video session with the signer and any witnesses.
  4. The signer digitally signs the documents, and the notary performs an electronic notarization.
  5. The signer and/or business entity receive copies of the notarized documents.
  6. A copy of the audio-video recording, including the authentication process and details about the signer, witnesses and documents, is uploaded to the notary's digital journal.

Benefits of RON for Notaries and Their Clients

Online notarizations provide a more modern and convenient option for people who require notary services. That convenience also extends to the notary.

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 location.

Other RON benefits:

  • Allows you to perform remote notarizations without having to travel
  • Simplifies the signing process and improves efficiency
  • Reduces fraud risk with robust identity proofing and credential analysis
  • Connects you with clients who prefer to do business online
  • Eliminates paperwork
  • Offers added security; digital documents are less likely to be lost, stolen or damaged
  • Provides fully digital records of your notarizations

Ready to offer your notary services in the digital world? Florida residents can start with our all-in-one remote notary package. Other states are coming soon. Keep an eye on the RON course page for updates!