October 18, 2021 | Reading time: 3 min
Beginning around 2000, state and federal laws authorized notaries to use an electronic signature. In response, the National E-Notarization Commission, endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), was formed to develop technology standards for secure implementation of electronic notarization. After the national e-notarization standards were developed, a number of states enacted laws authorizing e-notarization. Many of these laws had a provision where physical presence before the notary was required.
In 2011 Virginia became the 1st state to authorize Remote Online Notarization (RON), followed by Montana in 2015 and Nevada and Texas in 2017. Under these new laws, the personal appearance requirement for notarial acts could be met through the use of audio/video technology (webcam), with the notary and signer in different geographic locations.
In Florida, House Bill 409 “Electronic Legal Documents” was signed into law on June 7, 2019. This law is in effect as of January 1, 2020. Additionally, 1N-7001, Florida Administrative Code outlines the duties and responsibilities of online notaries as well as the procedures for applying. This law authorizes Florida notaries to perform online remote notarizations after the completion of an application and training requirements.
Is remote notarization the same as electronic notarization?
Many people confuse electronic notarization with remote notarization, believing they are the same. They are not.
In-Person Electronic Notarization.
During electronic notarization, or eNotarization, a signer must physically appear before the notary. The document however is notarized in electronic form, where the notary and signer sign with electronic signature. All other elements of a traditional, paper notarization apply to eNotarization.
Remote Online Notarization.
With remote online notarization (RON), a signer personally appears before the Notary at the time of the notarization using audio-visual technology over the internet instead of being physically present in the same room. Remote online notarization is also called webcam notarization, online notarization or virtual notarization.