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Becoming RON Certified: The Basics

Everywhere you look more states are approving remote online notarization. For notaries already approved to do traditional notarizations, it’s a great opportunity to provide customers with another option. Before you begin the process of becoming a remote notary, there are few things to keep in mind. 

While every state that allows for RON may have slightly different requirements, here are the basics:

  1. Know your state’s requirements to become a traditional notary
  2. Get the correct amount surety bond and additional E&O insurance
  3. Sign up for a RON course approved by your state
  4. Designate which RON platform/platforms you’ll be using
  5. Fill out your application and submit it to your Department of State or Secretary of State

 

Requirements for Remote Online Notaries

In order to do remote online notarizations, you’ll first need to become a traditional notary. Some states allow you to submit your application for both simultaneously, while others may require you to obtain your traditional Notary Public commission first and then proceed to become RON certified. 

To qualify as a commissioned notary, most states require that you are:

  • At least 18 years old 
  • A resident of the state you are seeking a notary commission 
  • A United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Have no felony convictions 

 

To determine what other qualifications may apply to you, visit your Department of State or Secretary of State’s website. 

Protect yourself with the right insurance

Public notaries are required to have a surety bond by their commissioning state, and each state’s minimum amount may vary. Some states make Errors & Omission coverage mandatory as well. 

Do I need a second surety bond for RON? 

You may be required to purchase another surety bond in order to do remote notarizations or you may purchase one in the minimum amount to cover both traditional and remote notarizations. 

Do I need to get an E&O policy for RON?

Most states don’t require Public Notaries to carry Errors & Omission coverage, but it’s strongly recommended to do so. A surety bond will not protect you from financial liability if you make a mistake during a notarial ceremony. These bonds are issued specifically to cover the financial interests of the public. Unlike a surety bond, this type of insurance will usually cover legal fees and court costs up to the limit of the policy coverage amount on your behalf. 


Find a state-approved RON course

Some states require specific training before you begin work as an Online Notary Public. Even if you’re not required to take a course, it’s a good idea to sign up for some sort of training in order to better understand the technology requirements, ensure you don’t make a mistake that could cost you money or your commission, and ultimately provide your clients with the best possible experience.


Is there a required exam to become a remote notary? 

Not always. Currently, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, and Ohio all have remote notarization laws requiring notaries to take an exam to demonstrate their knowledge of RON-specific technology and procedures.

 

Designate your Remote Online Notarization Platform

In general, RON laws are “technology-neutral.” This means that states don’t require online Public Notaries to transact with any particular software in order to complete a remote online notarization. As long as the process is compliant with your state’s technology requirements, Public Notaries can use any software solution. 

Whatever solution you choose, to complete remote online notarizations, you’ll need: 

🔗 A reliable internet connection – In order to perform a notarial ceremony via online video, laws require the signer or principal to be able to see, hear, and communicate clearly with the notary. A strong internet connection is needed to achieve this. For the best experience, both parties should connect their devices to an ethernet cable if possible. 

🎥 Secure Audio/Video Communication – state laws require the full remote notarization session to be recorded and archived or saved. The resolution must be sufficient so that all participants clearly see each other and can simultaneously communicate in real-time. The video sessions should also provide security measures to prevent unauthorized parties from accessing the live stream or archived recording.

🕵️‍♂️ Identity Proofing and Knowledge-Based Authentication – During a traditional notarial ceremony, the notary carefully examines the signer’s government-issued identification to determine if it’s authentic. For remote online notarization, laws require the use of technology to scan and authenticate IDs. Additionally, the signer must pass a credential analysis to confirm their identity. Lastly, the signer must present their ID during the video session. 

📝 eNotary Journal – RON laws require notaries to maintain a secured electronic journal of all notarial acts performed using this method.

🔐 eSeal and Digital Certificates – Some states may also require you to obtain an eSeal and .X509 digital certificate. Most RON vendors will require the purchase and upload of both. ProperSign doesn’t require notaries to upload a digital certificate or eSeal. Instead, our system authenticates your identity, attaches the eSeal, and issues the digital certificate to documents as you sign and notarize.

🗂 Backup and Storage – Recordings of audio/video sessions and electronic journal entries must be retained according to your state’s law. The typical time period is between 5-10 years. ProperSign provides closing agents, loan signing agents, and notaries backup support for all notarial ceremonies conducted with the software.

Be sure to check with your Secretary of State on specific guidelines that RON technology must meet in order to be compliant. You may need to either choose from an approved list of vendors or direct get approval for the platform you choose. 

Can you use more than one RON platform?

Most states allow notaries to use more than one platform. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll need to use multiple platforms in order to meet your clients’ needs and requests. However, there may be some state-specific caveats that you should be aware of. For instance, in Texas, you may use more than one platform, but you must use the same digital certificate approved by and registered with the Secretary of State. 

 

Final Step: Submit your application

Follow your state’s application rules and provide all the required information. While there are many similarities in each state’s legal framework of RON, some states’ approval process may be more strict and laborious than others. Avoid rejection by doing your research before signing up for a course and sending in your application.

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Amanda Farrell

Amanda Farrell is a digital media strategist at PropLogix. She enjoys being a part of a team that gives peace of mind to consumers while making one of the biggest purchases of their lives. She lives in Sarasota with her bunny, Buster, and enjoys painting, playing guitar and mandolin, and yoga.