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What is an Online Notary?

July 1st, 2012

It is now legal to have documents notarized online with an online notary. On July 1, 2012, Virginia became the first state to authorize a signer to be in a remote location and have a document notarized electronically by an e-notary using audio-visual conference technology. The bills SB 827 and HB 2318 were passed with bipartisan support, which also included support from consumer groups and banks who hope looking to increase fraud prevention, like robosigning, from continuing.

People from anywhere can notarize online with their computer via webcam under Virginia law, similar to how corporations around the US use Delaware law, but the online notary must be a Virginia notary located in Virginia. SignNow is one of the first companies to offer services using online notaries. They strictly use only Virginia notaries that offer Virginia notarizations. There must be a video record of the online notarization, plus audio between the customer and online notary talking, and the user must be identified using one of several methods authorized by the state. To initially verify the customer and prevent fraud, SignNow uses Experian, who is a leading global information services company.

People wonder whether the Virginia notarizations will be accepted everywhere and yes, documents notarized in Virginia by an online notary are legally valid in all 50 states. Recognition of out of state notarizations and electronic notarizations are also legal and valid in all 50 states. Actually, this has been the case for hundreds of years, and has been tested in courts. All states and the federal government have passed laws enabling electronic, out of state notarization. The National Association of Secretaries of State has published that all states recognize the validity of an acknowledgment prepared by an out-of-state notary. Read more on the NASS Report on State Notarization Policies and Practices.

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