Remote Online Notarization (RON) is permanent in Rhode Island. They are the 42nd state to enact RON legislation. Gov. Daniel McKee signed S 2705 and H 7363 and immediately made RON available to Ocean State’s notaries.

Statement from the Secretary of State’s Office

Gov. McKee, along with Sen. Cynthia Coyne and Rep. Julie Casimiro, were the primary sponsors of the legislation. The Rhode Island General Assembly saw the need for RON in their state and delivered it to commissioned notaries in Rhode Island.

In a statement from Johnathan Berard, the Deputy Director of Communications and Strategy at the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office, “Since entering office seven years ago, Secretary Gorbea has been committed to making government work for the people it serves. The Department of State submitted legislation earlier this year to codify the Remote Online Notarization services that had been temporarily enabled during the coronavirus pandemic. Secretary Gorbea is pleased that these measures are now permanent and that notarization services will continue to be accessible and convenient for Rhode Islanders that need them.  Rhode Island currently has 134 remote online notaries on record with the Department of State.”

Rules of Rhode Island’s RON law

Rhode Island notaries can now serve remote signers physically located anywhere in the state as well as outside of the state. Signers just need secure and reliable internet access. eNotaryLog enables Rhode Island notaries to perform RON on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Rhode Island updated its existing Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts to allow The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (2018) for the performance of remote online notarial acts with respect to both tangible and electronic records. In performing RON, the notary must create and retain an audio-visual recording of each . This is easy when notaries use the eNotaryLog platform which provides everything for the session.

In addition to the new law enactment, the Secretary of State the Standards of Conduct For Notaries Public In The State of Rhode Island And Providence Plantations. The Standards now address the acceptable means by which notaries may authenticate the identity of signers online:

  1. personal knowledge
  2. one credible witness
  3. two forms of identity proofing

What don’t notaries need to do for Rhode Island’s RON

However, the document doesn’t prescribe any particular technology for identity proofing. This provides maximum flexibility for notaries and providers, but due to the immediate action, this can change. Visit the Rhode Island Department of State’s website for more information.

The law does not require Rhode Island notaries to keep a journal for paper notarial acts. Also, the law does not require notaries to keep a journal of electronic notarial acts. Nevertheless, the Standards of Conduct recommend that notaries keep a journal.

A notary public choosing to perform RON in Rhode Island must complete the application process. Also, they must comply with the updated Standards of Conduct and the requirements of R.I. Gen. Laws Chapter 42-30.1. A notary must also notify the Secretary of State of Rhode Island prior to performing RON.

Practice tip. A Rhode Island notary is required to use an official seal and, when notarizing electronic documents, use a means of e-signing that renders the documents tamper-evident. eNotaryLog recommends Rhode Island notaries:

  • Obtain an eSeal
  • Use an electronic journal for all online notarizations and in-person electronic notarizations, and
  • Obtain a digital certificate by which to securely e-sign all electronic records and to fulfill the tamper-evidence requirements

eNotaryLog notaries look forward to working with Rhode Island on remote online notarization. The platform provides everything a notary and a signer need to perform a notarial act correctly.

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