Remote Online Notarization (RON): The Basics

Jim Franks

December 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we complete many of our day-to-day tasks. Doctors appointments, grocery shopping, and family get-togethers are just a few of the once face-to-face activities that we now engage in virtually. Remote Online Notarizations (RON’s) are another example of industries adapting to our increased need for safe, remote, virtual options. 

RON’s are a remote alternative to traditional, in-person notarizations. Rather than requiring all parties to physically attend an ink-and-paper signing at a notary office, RON’s can be completed using specialized software and video “chat” applications.

Not only do RON’s play an important role in practicing social distancing and avoiding risk of COVID-19 transmission, but they offer a convenient and workable option for many common situations complicated by the need for in-person notarizations.

Just a few of these situations include:

  • Purchasing an out-of-state home or vehicle
  • Notarization services for active-duty military
  • Completing power of attorney, deeds of trust, or advanced directives with distant family members

What is a Remote Online Notarization (RON)?

In the simplest terms, a Remote Online Notarization is a notarization where all documents, signatures, and seals are completed in electronic form. An RON uses real-time, audiovisual technology to bring the notary and signer’s together.

Some notaries may utilize technology in other forms (eSignature, IPEN, Remote ink notarizations), but RON is the designation for when the entire process is completed electronically.

The RON process may vary depending on the state where the notarization is taking place, or the requirements of the parties involved. Generally, though, an RON will include:

  1. A notary licensed and located in the state where the transaction is taking place
  2. Multi-factor authentication and knowledge-based questions to confirm interested parties identities
  3. Technology or third-party access to scan and verify official identification (i.e. driver’s license, state ID card)
  4. Digital stamping and tamper- sealing of documents
  5. Record-keeping by the notary, including electronic journal of the transaction and video recording

Does my RON meet all legal requirements?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 12 states had fully implemented legislation allowing the use of RON. Considering the safety of constituents during the pandemic, almost every state has made allowance for RON’s through new legislation, expansion of previous legislation, or emergency orders. IN March of 2020, Congress introduced the SECURE Notarization Act to allow for RON use nationwide.

There are numerous things to consider when deciding if an RON is right for your individual transactions. Since notarizations are subject primarily to state and county regulations, it’s important to know the specific requirements of your state. In addition to this, your underwriter or lender may have individual requirements for RON’s. Working with your RON provider to ensure that all of these requirement are met is essential to ensuring that your RON meets your needs.

The future of RON’s

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to our daily lives. The increased role of RON’s is one way in which industries have responded to allow for more safety and convenience, while still meeting all regulatory requirements. An increase in favorable legislation has allowed for an improvement in RON technology and increased their role in our daily lives. It’s inevitable that  ease and convenience of using Remote Online Notarization’s is here to stay.

Get started with remote online notarization at LiveNotary.com.

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