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What is remote online or electronic notarization?

Remote online or electronic notarization is the process of working with a notary public to notarize important documents virtually instead of in person.

When signing important documents—such as property deeds, wills, or powers of attorney—a notary public serves as an impartial witness who has been licensed by the state government to perform certain functions. Notaries are authorized to administer oaths and to verify and certify the identities of persons executing documents. Different states require notarization for different types of documents.

Traditionally, if a document needed to be notarized, you needed to find a notary to witness your signature in person. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many states newly introduced remote online notarization, enabling this process to take place virtually.

Remote online or electronic notarization

Remote online notarization enables a notary to meet with you online to verify your signature on an electronic document. States may use different terms or variations of this service, such as “remote online notarization,” “remote electronic notarization,” “electronic/remote notarization,” “e-notarization,” or others. Some states have allowed remote notarization on a temporary basis during the pandemic, but many others have instituted it on a permanent basis.

State laws vary, but in general, remote notarizations include:

  • Allowing notaries to use audio or video communications to witness the signing of important documents
  • Requiring notaries to verify the identity of the person signing the document
  • Requiring notaries to record the audio or video communications between the notary and signer

In order to prevent fraud, the notary may:

  • Ask you to electronically submit a photo of your identification, such as a driver’s license, or show a picture of your identification during the recorded audio/video call
  • Confirm you’re willing to sign the document and whether you understand the document or transaction

Finally, the notary would witness your electronic signature and use their own electronic signature and electronic seal to notarize the document. Your state may require the notary to keep the video recording and any other documentation, such as an entry in their notary journal, for a specific period of time, generally five to 10 years.

How to find a notary

If you need to have a document notarized, you can generally find a licensed notary public in your area by contacting:

If you plan to use remote online notarization, it’s important to be aware of the laws in your state , and you may want to speak to a local attorney to help you understand the requirements.

Find out whether your state allows remote online notarization.