Remote Online Notarization (RON) in Texas

May 14, 2020 / RON

Texas was one of the first states to authorize remote online notarization, also known as RON. This process lets commissioned notaries connect with clients online and notarize documents over a live audio-video call. Texas law has permitted online notarizations since July 1, 2018.

Getting authorized to perform online notarizations in Texas is a simple process. The first step is to become a commissioned Texas notary.

Once you have a traditional Texas notary commission, you can visit the Texas secretary of state’s website and apply for your online notary commission. To be approved, you’ll need to meet some basic requirements.

Benefits of RON for Texas Notaries

With the help of modern technology, the notary industry has evolved. Real-time video conferences over the internet allow people to access notary services without physically meeting a notary in person. This makes the notarization process more convenient and efficient for both notaries and their clients.

One of the greatest benefits of RON is how it simplifies scheduling. You can connect with clients anywhere in the country and schedule online notarizations anytime day or night.

Other benefits of RON include:

  • Perform notarizations from the comfort of your home
  • Online notarizations are more flexible and efficient
  • RON saves time and money by eliminating the need for travel
  • Digital identity proofing and credential analysis reduces the risk of fraud
  • Digital documents eliminate paperwork and provide an added layer of security

RON speeds up the process for a wide range of notarial acts, including oaths, affirmations and routine real estate and banking transactions.

Requirements for Online Notaries in Texas

Before you can apply to perform online notarizations, you must first become a state approved traditional notary. Notaries.com makes this process simple, but first you need to meet the state requirements.

Traditional notaries in Texas must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a legal resident of Texas
  • Have no criminal convictions or felonies
  • Purchase a $10,000 notary bond

Remote online notaries in Texas must:

  • Hold an active Texas notary commission
  • Have no convictions for felonies or crimes of moral turpitude
  • Have a Digital Certificate with an electronic signature
  • Ensure the Digital Certificate meets state requirements
    • Be issued by a third-party provider
    • Use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology
    • Be X.509 compliant
    • Renders any subsequent changes to the document evident
  • Have an electronic seal that meets state requirements

In addition to the requirements above, you need to have access to a third-party company called a RON service provider that can perform identity proofing and credential analysis for your clients. These processes confirm the identity of your clients and confirm their documentation is valid.

RON service providers typically provide a platform that you and your clients connect to for the live video conference. They also record and document your video conferences, which helps you meet the state requirement to maintain electronic records of your online notarizations.

How to Apply to Become a Texas Online Notary

You can apply to become a remote online notary 100% online. You will submit your form using the secretary of state’s electronic commissioning system.

The steps to getting your online notary commission are listed below. Before you apply, you need to have an active traditional notary commission in the state of Texas.

Step 1: Provide Your Information

You need to have the following information handy for your application:

  • Your notary identification number
  • Your date of birth
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number
  • Your last name
  • A valid email address

This information must exactly match the info on your active notary commission.

Step 2: Acknowledge State Requirements

All applicants must agree that they:

  • Will comply with identity proofing and credential analysis requirements outlined in Texas Administrative Code Chapter 87
  • Will use a third-party provider that can prove it uses PKI technology from a X.509-compliant PKI service provider
  • Can promptly provide the secretary of state any necessary instructions or techniques supplied for a vendor that allow your digital certificate and seal to be read and authenticated
  • Meet all eligibility requirements for traditional notaries

On the application, you need to check a box next to each statement above to confirm that you agree.

Step 3: Sign and Submit the Statement of Officer Form

For this step, you must download the Statement of Officer form and sign it using your digital certificate. Notaries and other elected officials are required to fill out this form, which includes an oath of office and anti-bribery statement.

After you fill out the form, save the file to your computer and upload it to the secretary of state’s online notary application system.

Step 4: Upload Your Digital Seal

Texas requires you to upload an electronic seal to the online notary application system. The seal must be provided in one of the following file formats: JPEG, BPM, JPEG, PNG or TIF.

To be valid, your electronic seal must also:

  • Contain the words "Notary Public, State of Texas" around a star with five points
  • State your name
  • State your notary identifying number
  • Include the date your commission expires
  • Be a circular form no more than one inch in width and 2 ½ inches in length
  • Have a serrated or milled edge border

Once you upload your seal, it will appear on the screen.

Step 5: Pay the State Application Fee

Texas charges an application fee of $50 plus a 2.7% convenience fee. You’re required to pay using a credit card.

Step 6: Review and Submit Your Application

After you enter your credit card number, you’ll see a summary of all the information you’ve entered so far. Before you click "Submit My Application," review your information and confirm that everything is accurate.

Once you submit the application, you’ll receive a notary application number for future reference. You will also receive a confirmation email.

It typically takes three business days to receive a response from the state about your online notary application. If you do not receive a response in this time, you can contact the Texas secretary of state’s office at 512-463-5705.

What Is a RON Service Provider?

A RON service provider is a third-party provider that handles the support and technology side of remote online notarizations. These software companies typically provide a variety of important services to online notaries, including:

  • Desktop or smartphone applications that connect the notary and clients
  • Advanced identity proofing and credential analysis
  • Technology that launches, captures and stores audio-video recordings
  • Long-term storage for audio-video recordings and digital documents
  • A platform for collecting payment from the client

Every provider is different when it comes to services and prices. But, with a little research, you can find the one that best fits your specific needs. Texas requires online notaries to provide the name of the RON service provider they use.

You are free to change your provider at any time, but you need to update the state as soon as you make the switch.

Procedures for Remote Online Notarizations in Texas

State-registered online notaries can legally perform online notarizations over audio-video conferences, but they must follow specific procedures for RON outlined in Texas law. First, you must be in Texas when you perform an online notarization. But your client can be located anywhere.

The notary cannot revise any part of the document other than the section containing the notarial certificate. An online notarization might require you to return a document to the client to fix incorrect information or make other modifications.

According to Texas law, online notaries must ensure that their electronic signature remains valid and up to date. And they must use the electronic signature only to perform online notarizations. Traditional face-to-face notarizations require a handwritten signature on the notarial certificate.

Online notaries in Texas must also keep a record of every RON they perform. This includes a video recording of the entire online notarization and a notation showing the type of identification used to confirm the signer’s identity.

Notaries.com makes it simple to get your Texas notary commission and take the first step toward becoming an online notary. Get started today and experience the convenience and efficiency that RON provides.

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