About the author: Guy has been a commissioned notary for more than 5 years. He also runs one of the most established Facebook groups for Remote Online Notarization with over 7000 members nationwide.
Arizona is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. The state offers pleasant weather, beautiful scenery, and exciting opportunities. It’s no surprise, then, that U.S. census data showed that Arizona had as one of the fastest-growing populations in 2020. This growing community means that there is a greater need for the services of notaries.
But, COVID, right? The effects of COVID-19 have made it more difficult for people to seek traditional, in-person notarizations safely. Fortunately, Arizona responded quickly to the needs of its citizens by passing legislation in April of 2020. This law made it possible for Arizona notary publics to perform notarizations online.
If you’re a traditional notary or considering becoming a notary in Arizona, read on to discover:
- How to become a notary public in Arizona
- Arizona’s requirements for performing online notarizations
- The advantages of remote online notarization
Becoming a Notary in the Grand Canyon State
Compared to some other states, becoming a notary in Arizona is pretty simple.
- Be 18 years old
- Able to read and write in English
- Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
- Be a legal resident of Arizona (by paying federal/state taxes or being registered to vote)
- Not have a felony conviction or lesser crime of “moral terpitude.”
If you meet all of these requirements, you can apply to become a notary in Arizona. You will apply through the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The good news is that Arizona doesn’t require that you complete a class or exam to apply. However, you should review the Arizona Notary Public Reference Manual for your protection and the protection of the public. This manual is available free of charge, and Arizona requires that notaries keep a copy at all times.
It’s important to review this manual, because mistakes during notarizations can cost the signer and the notary money. This is why Arizona requires a $5,000 surety bond to complete your application.
A surety bond protects clients from financial loss caused by a notary mistakes, but it doesn’t protect the notary. If you make a mistake and/or bond pays to a signer, you have to pay that money back. This is why it may be a good idea to consider purchasing Error and Omission insurance, even though it’s not required in Arizona. For more details on surety bonds and E & O insurance, check out this article on our blog.
Once you have purchased you surety bond, you can complete your application here. The total cost to submit your application is $43, $25 for your application fee and $18 for the bond filing. It takes about 4 weeks for the state to process your application.
Notary Stamps: a Requirement? You may be asking yourself, “If I’m going to be an online notary, what’s the point of buying a notary stamp?” It’s a fair question but, legally you have to have one as a notary in Arizona. Other than the initial cost, a notary stamp will be a valuable item in your notary toolbox. It will allow you to perform in-person notarizations. So shop around for one, as long as they have meet the requirements, they don’t have to be purchased from any specific vendor for any specific price.
Getting Online in AZ
Once you’ve gotten your notary public commission, it’s time to apply online!
The first step of the your online certification process should be reviewing the Arizona remote online notary rules. One important thing to note is the requirements for your remote online notary service. Arizona doesn’t specify which provider you choose but does require that the provider:
- Allows for real-time audiovisual communication between the notary and the signer
- Can provide identity proofing and credential evaluation of the signers
- Allows for the use of an electronic journal to record notarizations
These requirements are pretty standard. Most remote online notarization services (including LiveNotary) will be able to meet these guidelines. As the notary, all you need to have is a reliable internet connection, a computer with a webcam, and a notary commission.
After selecting your service provider, the next step is making your electronic/remote notary request. The Arizona Department of state will send you an application. Once you submit the application, you’ll receive your online notary commission through email. It usually takes about 1-2 weeks to receive your commission.
That’s the hard part. The easy part of applying for your online commission is that there is no extra application fee, training, or exam. There’s also no additional surety bond requirement. The only extra cost of becoming an online notary are the fees for your online notary service provider.
That’s it! Now you’re an Arizona online notary!
The Sunny Side of Online Notarization
It’s hard to overstate the impact of COVID-19 on our lives. For example, many of us are nervous about face-to-face interactions. Federal and local restrictions combined with customer concerns have resulted in significant drops in businesses income during the pandemic. We’ve started to adjust to these concerns by moving into the online space.
All change presents opportunities. For notaries, the ability to perform online notarizations offers improved earnings, convenience, and flexibility.
Online notarization presents several opportunities for increased income and decreased cost. If you have a brick-and-mortar notary business, you can widen your customer base to people outside your local community. In Arizona, you are even able to notarize for clients out of state! On the flip side, if you’re a new notary, you don’t have to worry about the overhead and document storage requirements of a physical location.
In either case, online notarization will improve your income by providing additional safety for individuals concerned about COVID-19. It also provides an easier experience for both the notary and signers. Which leads into…
Convenience & Flexibility
Online notarization allows for you to notarize from your own home. If you have the internet, a computer with a webcam, and a service provider you have everything you need.
Because you can work from home and notarize for people outside of your state, you can choose your own hours! You no longer are limited by the concept of “normal business hours” for your notarizations.
In addition, people are more easily able to access your services. They don’t have the safety or travel concerns of visiting an in-person notary. Whether you are used to be a traditional earning or are just starting your practice online, you will have the chance to safely see more clients.
Putting it All Together
Hopefully, we’ve provided you the information you need to get your notary business online. If you have further questions or want more information about online notarization, check out the LiveNotary Blog!
Becoming an online notary is a great way to increase your income and reach safely and conveniently. If you’re starting the application process in Arizona, LiveNotary can meet all of your online notary needs. Get in touch with us here today!