More than four million notaries are certified to work throughout the United States. You might need a notary if you need an impartial witness to your signature on a legal document. For example, notaries might help sign real estate deeds, living wills, or power of attorney paperwork.
Usually, this signature has to be done in person because a notary must be able to confirm your identity before applying their signature and seal. However, some states have legalized online remote notarization.
Online remote notarization allows you to have a notary sign and seal a document from the comfort of your own home. The rise of these remote notary services has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing. However, not every state allows this service to be done remotely.
Which states allow online remote notarization? Where might it be made legal in the near future? Continue reading to learn the answers to these essential questions.
How Does Online Remote Notarization Work?
Before knowing where the process is legal, it’s essential to understand how to get a notarized document remotely online. The process is similar to what you’d expect for getting something notarized online. However, there are a few key differences.
First, you’ll meet with a licensed notary online. Typically, this will be done over live video. Live video is used (and usually one of the legal stipulations for remote notarization) because it helps prevent fraud.
Once you’ve found your notary and been invited to a Remote Online session, you’ll present your documents and prove your identity. Documents are usually delivered by sending files through a secure file transfer or an alternative route.
You may only need to present one form of identification to prove your identity. However, certain states require two or more forms of identification. Perfect examples of identification include state ID cards, a driver’s license, or a passport.
Once the notary has verified your identity, you’ll sign the documents. Then the notary will verify your identity, sign, and digitally apply their seal. Once this is done, the notarization process is complete, and you can move forward with your day.
Who Was the First State To Legalize It?
The first state to fully legalize remote online notarization services was Virginia, with the passing of VA House Bill 2064. The bill was signed into effect in 2011, and implementation began in 2012. The bill was amended in 2021.
In What Other States Is It Fully Legalized?
As of 2021, 30 total states have fully legalized online remote notarization. Technically, 31 states allow notarization remotely, but the South Dakota legislature leverages several strict limitations. Those are talked about in the following section. Online remote notarization laws are constantly being updated, please consult your state law for current information and updates,
Besides Virginia, the following states allow notarization to be done remotely online:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
Where Have Bills Been Introduced but Not Yet Passed?
A handful of states have introduced legislation that would legalize remote notarization, but these bills haven’t yet passed. That means that using a remote notary could be legal soon. However, it’s not a guarantee yet.
The states with bills currently pending include:
- South Carolina
- New York
In Which States Is Remote Notarization Illegal?
In the 14 remaining states, remote notarization is illegal, and there are no bills currently pending that would make it legal. Keep in mind, this doesn’t necessarily mean that using a remote notary service will always be illegal. Instead, it simply means that it won’t be made legal in the near future, but bills could be introduced in the following months or years to change this.
The 14 states where remote notarization is illegal in 2021 include:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
What if Using a Remote Notary Is Illegal in Your State?
If using a remote notary is illegal in your state (or legislation hasn’t yet been passed), you’ll have to have your documents notarized in person. The process of doing so is similar to the one described above for online purposes. The primary difference is you’ll need to complete the process in person, at a physical location.
If you aren’t sure where to get notarized in your area, your local court may be able to help. Local court systems often keep records of where notarization services are available. The court may have notaries available in some cases, but this isn’t always the case.
Do You Need To Find a Remote Notary in Idaho?
Remote notarization is when you get a document signed and sealed by a notary certified to work in your area from the comfort of your own home. Although these remote services have been available in some places for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for them.
Remote notary services are legal in many states, including Idaho. Schedule your appointment with us online today if you have need of online remote notarization services in Idaho.