The advent of e-signatures has shifted the digital communications landscape, particularly in areas that deal with important legal and financial documents.

These days, rather than traditional notary services, businesses increasingly favor remote online notarization (RON).

This article explores the advantages of RON and explains everything you need to know about the legality and accessibility of these services.

We’ll also introduce you to PandaDoc – a RON service provider that delivers a smooth notary experience and spares everyone from having to meet in person.

Talk to a PandaDoc remote online notary today!

What is remote online notarization?

Remote notarization definition

Remote notarization is the process of notarizing documents when the notary and signer are not in the same physical location.

Typically, this is achieved through digital technology, namely video conferencing and electronic signatures.

How does remote notarization work?

In a remote notarization session, the notary and signer can communicate in real time through a video call while the signer electronically signs the document.

Usually, the RON notary can see both the signer’s webcam and a live stream of what they see on screen.

That means that the remote online notary can legally declare themself a witness to the signature, notarize the document electronically, and affix their digital seal of approval.

As you can see, using a RON service provider is a convenient and efficient way to have documents notarized, particularly when the parties involved are in different parts of the world.

Why is notarization required?

Notary and witness services confirm that documents have been signed in the presence of a ‘public notary’ – someone who is legally qualified to attest to its validity.

Because notaries are authorized by the state to perform these functions, their actions carry legal weight and provide an additional layer of protection against fraud and forgery.

However, this extra step can cause blockages if you don’t have access to a legal expert who can readily notarize your documents.

In what situations would you need to notarize a document?

Document notarization is common for important legal and financial documents – such as contracts, affidavits, and deeds.

With these documents, proof of identity and verification of the signer’s intent may be required before an agreement is considered legally binding and valid.

Let’s explore some specific examples to demonstrate this:

Federal government forms

Notarization is often required when interacting with functions of the US federal government.

A typical example is IRS Form 4506-T (“Request for Transcript of Tax Return”), which authorizes third parties, such as lenders, to obtain historical data of an individual’s tax returns.

This form contains a checkbox next to the following declaration:

“Signatory attests that he/she has read the attestation clause and upon so reading declares that he/she has the authority to sign the Form 4506-T”

The part we’re looking at here is the “attestation clause,” – which signals to us that a witness must be present during the signing of the document.

It’s also clear why it’s required since it involves a third party handling your personal sensitive data – a situation where legal advice and affirmation would prevent mistakes.

So, if you plan to take out a loan package, you’ll need to find a public notary or remote notary solution.

State government forms

Many documents at the state level must also be notarized.

For example, real estate deeds usually require the attestation of a public notary – who is responsible for verifying the identities of both parties and ensuring they sign it voluntarily and knowingly.

In California, if a real estate deed is not notarized, it won’t be validated in the county recorder’s office, and there will be no legal transfer of land ownership.

Another example is a power of attorney document, which grants someone the authority to act on your behalf in legal, financial, or healthcare matters.

States such as New York, Texas, and Ohio all require a power of attorney document to be notarized in order for it to take effect.

This helps to prevent fraud and ensure that the document accurately reflects the wishes of the person granting the power of attorney.

Private enterprise

Thousands of businesses already use online notary services as part of their internal policies and procedures.

Notarization is an especially common process in the following sectors:

  • Estate planning
  • Financial lending
  • Banking
  • Real estate

However, you should note that this list is not exhaustive, and executives will often encounter it when it comes to signing official documentation.

Some companies have even introduced notarization as part of their service offering.

Take, for example, shipping companies that offer notary services as an added convenience for customers who need to sign important documents related to their shipments.

Who else might need to use remote notarization?

An individual might need notarization for several purposes:

  • Immigration paperwork
  • Real estate transfer
  • Power of attorney declarations
  • Wills and trusts
  • Business transactions
  • Medical documents (such as healthcare proxies)
  • Other personal documents, such as name change petitions and certifications

Benefits and advantages of utilizing RON

In recent years, the traditional notarization process has transformed, with Remote Online Notarization (RON) offering numerous advantages over in-person services.

Let’s explore the unique selling points of online notarization vs. electronic notarization:

Benefits of using RON

1. Convenience and accessibility

One of the most significant benefits of utilizing RON is how accessible it is.

With RON, signers can complete the notarization process from anywhere, at any time, using a computer or mobile device.

This eliminates the need for in-person meetings with a notary public, which can be inconvenient when you need a document signed fast.

2. Enhanced security and fraud prevention

RON utilizes advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication and digital identity verification to ensure that only authorized signers can complete the notarization process.

This significantly reduces the risk of fraud or forgery, making RON a more secure option than traditional in-person notarization.

3. Increased efficiency and speed

RON can significantly increase the efficiency and speed of the notarization process.

With RON, documents can be notarized in a matter of minutes, compared to days or even weeks, with traditional notarization methods.

This can be particularly beneficial for time-sensitive transactions, including real estate closings and legal proceedings.

4. Cost-effective

RON can be a cost-effective option compared to traditional notarization methods.

For example, there is no need for travel expenses, postage, or other fees associated with in-person notarization – resulting in significant cost savings for businesses and individuals alike.

5. Environmentally friendly

Finally, RON can be a more environmentally friendly option than traditional notarization methods.

Using RON means there is no need for paper documents to be printed, signed, and mailed, which reduces paper waste and carbon emissions.

This aligns with the sustainability goals that many businesses strive to achieve today.

Yes, remote notaries are legal in the US – plus countries such as Canada, Australia, the UK, and several EU member states.

The adoption of remote online notarization (RON) has been made possible by legislation, allowing notaries to perform notarial acts using audio-visual technology to witness the signing of documents remotely.

Let’s take a look at the relevant statutory background in the US:

  • Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act: This federal law enacted in 2000 recognized electronic signatures as legally binding. It provided a legal framework for the use of electronic records in commerce and established that e-signatures are equivalent to traditional signatures.
  • Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA): UETA is a model law that has been enacted by 47 states in the US. It sets guidelines and regulations for electronic transactions and signatures, including online notarizations.
  • Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA): RULONA is another model law proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). It provides guidelines for notaries to perform notarial acts remotely and allows states to adopt RON legislation.
  • Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act: A bipartisan bill that is currently being read and debated in the Senate. It aims to establish a federal code of standards for interstate notary acts.

These laws, especially ESIGN, have played a crucial role in the use of e-signatures and digital transactions in modern commerce.

That’s not to mention a bedrock of case law that has upheld and lent legal precedence to the concept.

Which states allow online notary services?

Until SECURE is passed into law, US jurisdictions will often have differing rules for how remote notary acts must be carried out and by whom.

And as of May 2023, there remain exceptions to the proposed set of regulations.

The following areas HAVE NOT yet enacted laws to specifically permit online notarization:

Conversely, some state-level frameworks in jurisdictions HAVE allowed online notarization:


Virginia was the first state to allow remote online notarization in 2011.

The state’s RON signing law requires notaries to use tamper-evident technology to secure electronic documents, and notaries must complete a training course before they can perform RON.


Texas enacted its RON law in 2018, allowing notaries to perform online notarizations for state residents and documents that will be recorded in Texas.

The state also requires notaries to complete an additional training course on how to become an online notary.


Florida passed its RON law in 2019, which allows online notarization for residents of the state or documents executed in the state.

The law requires notaries to complete a training course, obtain a $25,000 surety bond, and use an approved technology provider.

Use PandaDoc RON anytime and anywhere without hassle

Remote online notaries are a crucial tool for businesses that need to notarize documents quickly, efficiently, and at a low cost.

Online notarization has made signing and approving documents a breeze by removing barriers such as geographic proximity or steep legal fees.

This allows businesses to move fast in competitive environments without the bottlenecks of legacy notary systems.

Why not make the switch to a RON solution?

With PandaDoc, you can notarize any electronic document remotely in a secure audiovisual session. Make sure to check out our video tutorial, or alternatively, you can follow these steps:

  1. Select the PandaDoc document you wish to notarize.
  2. Add participants you want to invite.
  3. When your session is ready, the participants may join and select their preferred camera/microphone settings.
  4. Each participant now enters their personal information, such as their address and birthdate. You’ll also be asked 5 knowledge-based questions to authenticate your identities.
  5. Upload a verified government ID, like your passport, driving license, or work permit.
  6. Finally, the live session will commence. You’ll now see the other participants alongside the document – with whom you can review, discuss, and e-sign the document.

After the session is over, both the notarized documents and a recording of the session will become available for download from within that document’s e-journal.

Plus, these features don’t come at any extra risk over traditional notary services – all of your information will be safe, with PandaDoc being both SOC 2 and HIPAA-compliant.

So, whether you need to notarize one document every so often or do it regularly – PandaDoc has the most efficient and convenient notary experience for everyone, wherever you’re located!

Talk with a PandaDoc notary expert today!


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