We get many questions about implementing remote online notarization (RON) and what can and can’t be done. Here’s one of the most asked questions to help you better understand RON. Email your questions to marketing@enotarylog.com, and we’ll highlight the topic in a future blog post.

Do a signer and a notary need to be in the same state for a remote online notarization?

No. The signer and notary do not need to be in the same state. The notary must be in the state they are certified/commissioned in to notarize a document. The signer does NOT have to be in that state for the remote online notarization (RON).

What is remote online notarization?

Remote online notarization (RON) is the online notarization of an electronic document. The process includes using secure audio-video technology as part of an online notarization platform such as eNotaryLog. During a RON meeting, the customer and notary meet in a secure online notary room, not in person.  The signing, verification, and act of notarization all occur through communication technology.

Where does the notary need to be located for a RON transaction?

Nearly all RON-enacting states have followed the legal framework first established by the Virginia Electronic Notaries Act of 2011. RON has six-core legal principles, and one of those core principles reads: The Notary Must be Physically Located in the State of Commissioning When Performing an Online Notarization. This means notaries must be in their state of commissioning when performing an online notarial act. This is legally important for two main reasons:

  1. A notarial act performed by a notary while physically outside of the notary’s territorial jurisdiction is void of any legal effect.
  2. It ensures that the current interstate recognition statutes with respect to notarial acts throughout the United States will apply to online notarizations in the same manner as applied to traditional paper notarizations.

Where does the signer need to be physically located for RON transactions?

Another core legal principle of RON is that the signer can be outside the notary’s commissioning state by using audio-visual technology. This principle reads: Signer May Be Physically Located Outside of the Notary’s Commissioning State.

Thus, a notary may perform an online notarization with a signer outside the notary’s physical presence, regardless if the signer is in the same state, a different state or territory, or even a different country.

This is what makes remote online notarization transactions so convenient – signers no longer have to drive long distances or through rush hour traffic to be physically with the notary. Instead, signers can be on a beach, on vacation, at home, at a hospital, or wherever they want or need to be at the time of the signing. They don’t have to schedule their day around an appointment and worry about how they will get there or who is going to watch the kids. With RON, a signer needs only access to a computer or mobile phone to complete the audio-visual meeting.

Because notary acts are recognized as taking place in the state where the notary is, the validity of the act is governed by the law of the notary’s commissioning state. For example, if an Ohio online notary notarizes a document in Ohio, then the document is governed by the notarial laws of Ohio.

Do states ever make the signer be in the same room as the notary?

No. Every RON state requires that only the notary be physically present within the borders of the commissioning state. For example, if a document is approved to be remotely notarized electronically in Virginia, the notary public must be physically in Virginia to notarize the document. However, the signer can access the online Virginia notary utilizing audio-video communication technology anywhere.

What is Remote Ink-Signed Notarization (RIN)?

A few states have authorized Remote Ink-Signed Notarization (RIN) – a process in which the signer remotely appears before the notary using communication technology. However, the documents are still in paper form and physically executed by the signer and the notary.

RON is still evolving and changing the digital notary landscape. However, with nearly every state having a RON law, usage of RON will continue to increase as consumers and businesses realize the benefits. Notaries, signers, and corporate customers are all experiencing the convenience, speed and cost savings of RON platforms like eNotaryLog.

What is the future of RON?

The global move toward digital documentation, convenience, and automated workflows for transactions has accelerated RON and electronic signature adoption. And this move to digital processes was further spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, RON adoption increased dramatically. It provided a secure means to execute important documents, verify identities, and keep business moving.

RON gives notaries an enhanced ability to prove the authenticity of electronic signatures and digital identities, and eNotaryLog is leading the charge as a customer-first remote online notarization and electronic signature service provider. The eNotaryLog platform offers business customers and consumers the flexibility and customization to serve their clients online anywhere, anytime.

Connect with us to learn more about remote online notarization and start simplifying digital across your organization.

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