Remote Notary Law
Remote online notarizations adhere to the same standards that are specific to your state laws, and which must be followed for every notarization. Remote notary services are carried out very similar to in-person notarizations with a few exceptions.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states reverted to providing remote notary services when in-person notarizations slowed down. It was deemed an essential service that needed to continue. Traditional notaries in many states, such as New York state quickly transitioned from providing in-person notary services, to delivering notary service via online options.
In New York State, Remote Online Notarization or RON was rolled out on a temporary basis, however the implementation of a permanent RON process is scheduled to become effective on January 31, 2023. At that time, New York Notaries will also need to register with the state and will be permitted to perform RONs only when they are located in New York, although signers can be outside of the state. Over 36 states have e-notary or remote notary laws in place.
How are remote notarizations performed?
To provide remote notarizations in New York State, the Notary has to be physically located in the state of NY, but the signer or principal can reside anywhere in the US.
Furthermore, the remote Notary must use an audio-visual communication platform to connect with the principal and complete the notarization process. The Notary also needs to have a current commission from New York State as well as Errors and Omissions insurance. In addition, the Notary must adhere to all applicable laws and regulations set forth by New York State. The Notary must also keep a record of all the notarizations performed, including the date, principal’s information, type of document, journal entry and any other applicable details. Finally, if the Notary is performing a remote notarization, they must create an audio-video recording of the session to retain in their records. All of these steps are necessary to ensure that the notarizations are completed accurately, in compliance with New York State laws and regulations.
Remote notarizations are performed electronically and remotely using electronic signatures, electronic identity verification, audio visual and electronic recordkeeping of journal entries. The signing is performed in real time where the signers appear before the Notary through the use of audio-visual technology which allows for two-way communication.
The Notary is required to scan the document to be notarized the same way he/she would if it was an in-person signing. Once the identities of the signers have been verified and the document has been signed by the principal(s), the document should be transmitted to the notary for officiating. The Notary is to confirm that the electronic document is the same as the one signed in front of the Notary’s presence before affixing the notary stamp and signature. The notary can either affix an electronic stamp or perform the notarization by traditional ink on the document.
What type of technology is required to perform remote online notarizations?
The type of technology used for remote notarizations will depend on your specific notary laws. Some states will identify these requirements, and some will not. You most certainly will need to do some research prior to your selection.
For some states that have identified which technologies are acceptable, any of the following may be applicable: audio-video recording software, web-conferencing tools, digital document solutions with embedded electronic signatures, or an electronic notarization platform. Additionally, you will also need to identify if there are specific requirements for authentication and verification of documents (e.g., government identification, digital certificates). Ultimately, the technology selected should provide assurance that the document is authentic and legally binding. Furthermore, it should also be robust enough to ensure that your data is secure during transmission.
One of the most common types of notary software is called E-notary software. E-notary software provides secure electronic functionality for anyone who needs to certify electronic documents. E-notary software offers greater security and convenience for both businesses and consumers who need to deal with notarizations. Other remote notarization software includes DocVerify, LiveNotary, SafeDocs and Notarize to name a few.
How do you identify a signer for remote notarizations?
Verifying the signer’s identity during a remote notarization is still the most important step during the notarization process to prevent fraud. The process of verifying a signer’s identity during remote notarizations can be done in several ways, such as through the use of video chat technology, photo identification documents, and two-way audio verification. Through these methods, the notary is able to view and assess factors such as facial recognition and demeanor to ensure the signer is indeed who they say they are. Additionally, notaries may also use digital tools such as e-signature technology and e-recording systems to help ensure the accuracy of the notarized documents.
How to perform this step will depend on your specific state laws and the technology platform you are using. Proper verification includes either checking a valid government issued picture ID such as a driver’s license or passport, identification through being personally known to the Notary, or being identified by a credible witness.
Recording remote notarizations, is it required?
New York notaries who conduct RONs will need to keep a recording of the recorded session for 10 years. The recording must include the appearance of the principal, confirmation of the identity of the principal or any witnesses that appeared before the notary, and a general description or identity of the documents that were signed. The notary must ensure that the backup recording of the notarization is available and secured.
How do you record a remote notarization in your notary journal?
Depending on your state notary laws, recording remote notarizations may be required. The same holds true for in-person notarizations. Not all states require the use of a journal to record notarizations so be sure to check with your specific state laws when carrying out RON’s. In New York State, when remote notarizations are performed, the following statement must be added to the jurat “This remote notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”
Remote notarizations are becoming an alternate option for performing notarizations all while reaching a broader spectrum of consumers. More states are currently implementing this option for notarization with the changing times and advancements in technology. Remote Online Notarizations not only provide a convenience to the consumers but are also another great opportunity for notaries to successfully build and grow their notary business.
For more reference on Remote Notarization, check our Docusign’s a Guide to Remote Online Notarization.
Notary Roc City Notary Services
Kim Jones is a veteran mobile Notary and Notary Signing Agent with over 15 years of experience. Kim is the Owner and Operator of Roc City Notary Services in upstate NY.
Notary Jane: Kim Jones