On January 1, 2020, Florida law HB 409 went into effect. This law allows Florida notaries to perform notarizations online. The timing of this law was perfect for the “Sunshine State”. Just a month after it took effect, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the United States, causing the need for social distancing and a reduction in unnecessary face-to-face interactions.
If you’re already a practicing notary, or considering becoming one, you should investigate online notarization. Many brick-and-mortar notaries have experienced a drop in in-person business since the beginning of the pandemic. Moving part of your notarization business online could not only bring back customers, but expand your practice to a whole new client-base. If you’re considering becoming a notary, adopting online notarizations will allow you to supplement your income from the comfort of your own home.
Let’s explore the process for becoming an online Notary in Florida.
The Florida state department website contains the complete, detailed instructions for becoming a traditional notary, civil law notary, or commissioner of deeds. Below is a short explanation of the steps in the process.
Bond Requirements: It’s important to note that, in Florida, the minimum bond requirement to practice as a traditional notary is $7500. However, the minimum bond requirement for online notaries is $25000. If you already have a bond below $25000 and apply to become an online notary, you will need to increase your bond value to $25000.
Once you’ve gotten your notary commission, the next step is to complete an online notary training course. The state website provides a list of approved education courses, and the requirements vary between them. Some courses are remote and some in-person, and the cost varies from $20 to $170. The state and all courses require that you pass a final examination to complete the course. Once you’ve taken the course and passed the exam, the educator will provide you with a certificate that must be submitted with your application.
It’s important to note that this must be done before submitting your application to be an online notary. Florida doesn’t provide an approved list of online notary service platforms, but does require that the platform’s technology meets the following basic requirements:
It seems like now is as good of a time as any to point out that LiveNotary does meet all of the requirements as a online notary platform for the state of Florida. They also offer the convenience of flexible hours and the advantage of an expanded client base (more about that later!).
Once you’ve completed the above steps and have reviewed all the necessary rules, regulations, and applicable laws, you’re ready to apply to become an online notary! You can view the application here. Make sure you read through the questions carefully and answer truthfully. Be sure to submit the certificate proving that you’ve completed the necessary education, any required documents to verify your existing commission as a notary, and any additional paperwork based on your specific situation.
The longest part of the process is usually getting your initial, traditional notary commission. Once you apply, the application results will come through relatively quickly and you’ll be able to start notarizing online!
One important thing to remember: your online notary certification is linked with your traditional notary certification. Keep track of the dates of your notary commission, your certificate as an online notary will expire on the same date.
The application process may seem daunting, but there are many advantages to getting your online notary certificate in Florida.
If you have a brick-and-mortar office, online notarizations can make-up for the decrease you’re probably seeing of in-person notarizations. Additionally, notarizing online can allow you to expand your hours and increase your reach as a notary. Online notarization allows you to notarize for individuals outside the state of Florida, instantly giving you access to significantly more clients.
If you’re thinking of becoming a notary and practicing online, there are plenty of advantages. Online practice allows convenience and flexibility. You can work from home during hours of your choosing. All you need is the internet and a computer with a microphone and webcam. LiveNotary will provide all of the support you need to start or expand your notarization practice.