In 2012, Virginia became the first state to make it legal for a document to be notarized by a commissioned notary public online. This happens by scanning the document, electronically sending it to the notary, appearing before the notary by webcam, confirming your identity, and having the notary imprint a legal, digital signature on the document.
Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different answer to this question. According to Commonwealth of Virginia Senate Bill 827 and House Bill 2318, registered Virginia notary publics who are commissioned e-notaries are legally permitted to notarize documents from any state in the U.S. as well as any country for anyone. While notaries in every state are allowed to notarize documents from any other state, most states don’t have specific statutes that address whether e-notaries from other states can notarize documents from any other state. Because of this, much of the online notary industry is currently a legal gray area, although trends indicate that it will become the norm in the coming years. While it’s not explicitly forbidden in any state’s laws, a few states have put out press releases stating they don’t recognize the validity of Virginia online notarizations.
The most popular online notary companies claim to have legally notarized documents in all 50 states and a handful of states’ legislatures currently have bills allowing electronic notarizations to be done. Using an online notary is not something to avoid, especially if you are overseas or unable to see a notary in person.
To see what your state says about online notaries, view our state-by-state information page.
Currently, the only state that allows its e-notaries to notarize documents out-of-state is Virginia. A few other states allow their notaries to become e-notaries and notarize documents within their home state. These states are California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
For more information on how to become a Virginia e-notary, click here.
The typical charge to notarize a document online is $25.
Any document can be notarized online, but check with the online notary if it’s one of the documents below.
· Wills, codicils or testamentary trusts
· Motor vehicle title transfer documents and odometer disclosure statements
· Documents for use in Iowa
· I-9 Forms
· Certified true copies of birth, marriage, death certificates, court-issued documents
Yes, Virginia online notaries can and have notarized documents for non-American citizens for use in another country, although it’s recommended you check the laws of the country in question.
Convenience. It allows you get a document notarized any time from anywhere in the world.
Record-keeping. All online notaries are required to keep a video record of your webcam notarization session, providing you with clear, comprehensive proof of notarization.
At an average of $25 per notarization, it’s a little more expensive than an in-person notarization, but the convenience and time-saving aspect of it is worth the extra money for some.
Yes. Online notary companies take extensive measures to protect the information that goes through their site.
Yes, online notaries must be certified and commissioned notary publics before they can register as electronic notaries.