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How to Prepare for Remote Online Notarization in 2019

Remote online notarizations allow anyone in any state (except Iowa) to get their documents notarized through a remote notary online, and the number states adopting notary laws is growing faster than we could have ever anticipated.

In 2018, Texas and Nevada began enforcing online notarization laws, and six additional states enacted laws that will allow their notaries to perform remote online notarizations in 2019: Minnesota, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Vermont.

If you're in one of these states, how should you prepare for these changes? As we kick off the new year, we’ve put together a post that will help you get ready for remote online notarization.

What is Remote Online Notarization?

Remote online notarization is when documents are notarized in an electronic form where the signer uses an electronic signature and appears before the notary using online audio-video technology. Simply put, you can connect with a notary anywhere, anytime, without physically needing to meet them.

In 2011, Virginia was the first state to pass a law that allowed any business or consumer to get their documents notarized by someone who was not physically present. Since then, Montana, Texas, and Nevada have enforced remote online legislation, and Minnesota is poised to be the first in the new year, beginning January 1, 2019.

How You Can Prepare

Remote online notarizations allow people to buy a home in Texas, while they’re visiting family in Massachusetts. It allows someone overseas to recover a stolen passport when it would have otherwise taken them weeks to get an appointment at a U.S. Embassy.

As your state prepares for, or enforces laws in favor of this technology, here’s what you should do:

Stay In the Know

When your governor signed the state’s remote online notarization bill into law, it included a critical framework about how RON will operate in your state. Some of these rules are high-level explanations about the business being conducted, and others might be nuanced explanations for how you should conduct yourself as an online notary.

You should review the bill for key dates and definitions.

The initial bill signed into law is a good place to start, but the final rules for remote online notarization lie with your Secretary of State, who will release a final set of regulations in the weeks and months ahead of the enforcement date.

The Office of the Secretary of State will also release information about application acceptance dates, classes, exams - anything related to getting your online notary certification off the ground.

Check in with your Secretary of State often to make sure you:

  • Review the initial law. It typically has information about key definitions, processes, etc.
  • Follow with a refined set of regulations from the Secretary of State.
  • Stay informed about application acceptance dates, classes, exams - all the stuff that will help you become an online notary sooner.

Rally Your Team

In order for remote online notarization to be impactful, you need to get buy-in from each stakeholder in your organization. The process of using technology to notarize documents from anywhere demands a highly collaborative and communicative infrastructure. When everyone supports each other, that’s when you can truly deliver a solution to serve your state.

Evaluate vendors that put customer experience first

There are a handful of vendors whose products support remote online notarizations, but it’s important to find a partner who can help you put the residents of your state first. Notarize, for example, has 24/7 support for users as well as a myriad of resources to help both state and local officials, as well as residents successfully notarize important documents. Partner with someone who cares about your success.

Where is Remote Online Notarization Available?

States will begin allowing remote online notarization by their notaries in 2019, but they are a small sample of the growing popularity.

Follow Notarize

We’ll be putting out content that speaks to what you need to know in the coming months, including more on remote online notarization. Subscribe to our blog at the top of the page, and follow our social handles to stay informed.

become an online notary

You have notarization questions, we have notarization answers. While we at Notarize pride ourselves on providing helpful resources (like this blog!) to demystify notarization, we’re not lawyers and don’t give legal advice. Pro tip: always check with your own attorneys, advisors, or document recipients if you have further questions about notarization or digitally notarized docs.

Lessons learned in closing over 1,000 mortgage transactions online

In the summer of 2017, we made history. On a Friday in July, an Illinois resident bought a home in Texas using a Texas title company, a Michigan lender, and a Virginia notary. The buyer completed their closing online, saving thousands of dollars in travel, hundreds of sheets of paper, and days in shipping.

Notarize has done over 1,000 online mortgage transactions since then, and we’ve learned a few things. The most obvious lesson is that no two stories are alike.

Read more

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