Many businesses have closed in support of social distancing to help combat the spread of the virus. What does this mean for notaries? According to the Notary Bulletin, numerous notaries have faced closure, reduced hours, and limited services. The lack of in-person meetings pushes notaries to find other solutions to keep their business running during this pandemic. States such as Alabama, Rhode Island, and others have issued emergency actions concerning notarization.
Transitioning to Online Services
A popular solution for notaries has been transitioning to remote online notarization (RON). In 2011 the first bill to pass RON was signed in Virginia. Since then, 23 States have followed suit, and with the spread of COVID-19, the rest of the states have pushed for the passing of the bill. Some states have even declared emergency actions to authorize notaries to practice RON during this epidemic. However, most of these emergency orders do not comply with notarization certificates like RULONA, MISMO, and ALTA-MBA, making each state vary with their rules on RON.
What About States Without RON Authorization?
Not all states have processed or authorized notaries to practice remotely. Notaries in states that have yet to pass the bill for RON have transitioned to e-Notarization signing. Although e-Notarization signing still requires in-person meetings, the switch to using electronic signatures decreases the amount of physical contact, in comparison to physically signing documents and mailing them.
In the states that are still processing RON authorization, notaries have been exercising social distancing by implementing boundaries and using barriers between employees and clients. Application of barriers such as “window-separated signing,” allow notaries to complete signage in person with the ability to view and communicate with clients while being distanced.
Consumers in states without RON authorization can still utilize RON platforms established in other states. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the constitution, allows consumers to get their documents notarized with RON platforms, situated in other states, and still be considered valid.
How to become a RON Notary
In order to have the ability to perform RON, there are a few certain steps one must take. First, each state has unique requirements. It’s important to check the appropriate state’s requirements to ensure that the proper application process gets followed. Requirements might include mandatory online training classes, registering with the state, and increased bond requirements. With the unpredictability of the world’s current situation, the laws and requirements may change.
Some states will require selecting a RON provider such as eNotaryLog. However, it is crucial to make sure that the RON provider complies with the requirements of the notary’s state. Once a notary has followed the appropriate requirements, they will be able to perform their duties and stay safe during this difficult time.