What Is a Remote Notary?

Nov 28, 2016
| Updated
Aug 16, 2023
 | BY
Pat Kinsel

A remote notary is a legally commissioned notary public who is authorized to conduct notarizations over the internet via digital tools and a live audio video call.

All notaries, no matter how they perform their service, must watch as someone signs a document. Historically, this has required that the notary and signer must travel to meet one another in-person where the notary serves as a witness during the signing event.

In 2012, Virginia became the first state to allow its notaries to conduct notarizations online over live audio video calls. Specifically, they clarified that the requirement that the signer physically appear before the notary during the signing event could be satisfied via an audio video call. This law enabled online notarizations and created the concept of a remote notary, but Virginia went further. They specifically empowered their notaries to serve clients nationwide. They also established strict requirements for ID verification, tamper proofing, and document retention that have made remote notarizations safer and more reliable than a standard in-person notarization.

The name "remote notary" is derived from the fact that the notary serves the customer remotely over the internet.

Because remote notaries conduct their notarizations online, they have the benefit of digital tools to assist them during the process. Under the Virginia law, people conducting remote notarizations are held to a much higher ID verification standard. Today, for typical notarizations, nearly half of all states require no ID at all or permit an expired ID. Even in the states that do require IDs, notaries are woefully unequipped to validate identity. Remote notaries have digital tools to assist them. For example, remote notarizations require that a customer answer identity challenge questions, typically called Knowledge Based Authentication, before they may sign a document.  This ensures the customer is who they claim to be. Also, because it is conducted online, a remote notarization can be recorded - allowing anyone to verify the transaction after the fact. These are only a few of many examples of how technology is able to assist remote notaries.

Notarize is the first legal notary service that allows people to instantly connect with a remote notary online. For the first time, you can connect with a notary over live video call no matter where you're located. And, our service is online 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

To understand the laws that allow Notarize's documents to be accepted across the country, view Notarize Availability.

The next time you need a notary, remember: there's an app for that!

To connect with one of our remote notaries, you simply need to Download the Notarize App or Register Online to get started. We've helped countless people across the country and hope to serve you as well.

Pat Kinsel

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