If you are not already a commissioned electronic notary public in the Commonwealth of Virginia, follow the steps outlined on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website to become one at https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/notary-commissions/enotary/. We have detailed these steps below to help facilitate your application.
To become a Virginia electronic notary, you must first: 1. Be a “traditional” commissioned notary in Virginia
2. Purchase a digital certificate
3. Obtain an electronic seal
4. Upload your digital certificate and electronic seal to the Secretary of Commonwealth’s website and complete your electronic notary application
Become a “traditional” commissioned notary in Virginia
This can be done online by completing the notary application through the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/notary-commissions/notary-application-process/ and submitting a $45 payment. To be eligible to apply for a Virginia Notary Public Commission, you must be:
(1) at least eighteen years old,
(2) able to read and write the English language,
(3) be a legal resident of the United States,
(4) live or work in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and
(5) have not been convicted of a felony (unless you have had your rights restored).
You will receive an email from the Secretary of the Commonwealth after your application has been approved. Once you receive notice, schedule an appointment with the nearest Circuit Court to claim your commission and take the oath of office. At that time, you will be required to pay a fee of $10 to the Clerk.
Purchase a digital certificate
A digital certificate (also known as a digital signature) is a way to prove your identity online and digitally sign documents in a legally binding manner. Each agent in the Commonwealth is required by law to obtain a digital certificate from an approved vendor to notarize documents electronically. No two digital certificates are the same and your digital certificate contains unique identifiers for you that can be used to validate your signature on a document. You will use your digital certificate, along with your electronic seal, to ‘sign’ each electronic document notarized on our platform.
The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that each digital certificate issued to an electronic notary must be provided by an approved vendor who is in compliance with security standards set by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for the issuance of digital certificates. Notarize is partnered with IdenTrust, a global leader in secure electronic commerce and an approved certificate vendor, to provide digital certificates for our agents at discounted rates.
Once your application has been approved by Notarize, we will provide instructions on how to purchase your discounted digital certificate
Obtain a unique electronic seal
Virginia law requires each agent to obtain an electronic seal and use this seal, along with their digital certificate, to notarize all documents electronically. The electronic seal is similar to a physical notary ‘stamp’ or seal. It must contain your name exactly as it is written on your notary commission with Virginia, the words “Electronic Notary Public” and “Commonwealth of Virginia,” your commission expiration date, and your notary registration. Electronic seals retail for $15 or more, but once your application with Notarize has been approved, we will provide this seal for you for free.
Purchase errors and omissions insurance and complete a background check
If you have not already done so, you must complete a background check that is compliant with the Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) Screening Standard and purchase and maintain a minimum of $25,000 errors & omissions (E&O) coverage. Many lenders, title companies, and other financial institutions require E&O coverage and background checks for notary agents to sign complex transactions like loan signings. Notarize may require our agents to undergo additional training in the future, such as training to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule or additional insurance coverage to act as a signing agent for certain transactions. By completing this background check and purchasing insurance you will be on your way to notarizing higher paying transactions on our platform.
There are a variety of vendors who offer SPW-compliant background screenings, E&O coverage, as well as TRID training, such as Notary2Pro, Virginia Notary Public Classes, and the National Notary Association, among others. Because we believe in investing in our agents, we will compensate you for the cost of your background check after you complete your first 50 notarizations on our platform.
Register and complete a Notarize training course
Notarize offers monthly in-person trainings at predetermined sites across the Commonwealth of Virginia. These trainings help prepare our agents to conduct electronic notarizations on our platform and facilitate the onboarding process.
We will post information on upcoming trainings on our website at www.notarize.com. We are also actively working to develop online trainings and will have updates to share soon. To follow our progress, please read our blog or follow us on Twitter @Notarize.
Upload your digital certificate and electronic seal
To upgrade your status from a traditional notary agent in Virginia to an electronic notary agent, upload your digital certificate and electronic seal to the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website (https://solutions.virginia.gov/Notary/ENotary/Edit) and complete the electronic notary application. During the application, you will be asked for a general description of the technology that will be used to create an electronic signature in performing official acts as an electronic notary. Notarize will provide instructions to answer this question correctly.