External FAQs for Notarize

Quick Reference

Acceptable Documents

Which documents can be notarized online?

Nearly every document that can be notarized in the paper world can be notarized online on the Notarize platform. However, certain documents are restricted. Always check with your own advisors and document recipients if you have any questions about whether your documents may be notarized online.

For more information on documents with unique restrictions, see this article.

Can documents that traditionally have been signed with wet ink signatures be electronically signed and/or notarized online?

Yes. In an online notarization, documents are electronically signed by both the signer and notary. Under both federal (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act - “E-SIGN”) and state law (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act - “UETA”), electronic records and signatures are as legally valid and binding as physical paper documents and wet-ink signatures. Additionally, entities that require "original'' signed documents may accept electronic versions of those documents. UETA has been adopted in every state and territory in the US except New York which has its own similar (and consistent) independent e-signature law.

These laws establish the validity of electronic signatures for most documents. However, certain documents are excluded. Often, these documents may still be electronically signed, but may be subject to additional legal requirements to be enforceable.

Note though, that electronic signatures are valid only so long as the parties to the transaction agree to accept electronic records and signatures. This allows the recipient of a remotely notarized document to refuse to accept or impose additional restrictions on its acceptance because it is electronically signed.

Can physical, tangible documents be notarized on the Notarize platform?

No. Documents must be in electronic form and are uploaded as PDFs. 

Should the Notarize platform be used for documents that are to be used in another country?

No. The requirements for the online notarization of documents that are to be used in another country differ by state and are not automatically enforced by the Notarize platform. Also, an apostille granted by the notary’s commissioning state is usually needed to authenticate these documents for use in a foreign country, and most states have not developed a process for issuing apostilles for electronically notarized documents. Finally, use of the platform for these documents can implicate various laws that the platform is not configured to comply with such as the data privacy laws of the foreign country.

Being as we are unable to ensure that the signer will be connected with a notary from a state that issues apostilles for these documents or that the notarization will comply with the necessary legal requirements, we recommend that the person bring their document to a traditional notary to complete their notarization.

Should the Notarize platform be used for documents that are to be used in a foreign embassy?

No. Although an embassy may be physically located in the US, it is actually a foreign territory. Therefore, just as the Notarize platform should not be used for documents that are going to be used in a foreign country, it should not be used for documents that are going to be used in a foreign embassy.

Can notaries perform online notarizations for documents that will be used in other states?

Yes. Interstate recognition is applied daily to allow out-of-state notarizations to be legally accepted across all 50 states.

Notarial laws are set at the state level, with each state setting the rules governing its own notaries. As public officials commissioned by their state, notaries must perform notarizations in accordance with the laws of their state and may perform them online when authorized by their state.

At the same time, every state recognizes the authority of notaries of other states and accepts as valid notarizations performed in accordance with the laws of another state. Therefore, an online notarization performed by a notary of another state is valid and acceptable when performed in accordance with the laws of the notary’s commissioning state.

 

Signers

Can two or more signers get their signatures notarized in a single meeting?

Yes. Transactions can be configured to allow two or more signers to get their signatures notarized in a single meeting. The signers can join the meeting together from a single shared device or join separately from different devices in different locations. Signers who miss the initial meeting can still get their signatures notarized in a subsequent notary meeting.

Can the signer in an online notarization be located in another state or country?

Yes. Notaries are generally required to be located in their commissioning state when performing notarizations. Signers however, do not have to be located in the same state or country as the notary during the notarization.

Do signers need a Notarize account?

Signers do not need a contract with Notarize to use the Notarize platform. Instead, when they begin the notarization process, they will be asked to create a free Notarize account and agree to Notarize’s standard Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This account allows them to return to the Notarize platform to complete notarizations or retrieve notarized documents as necessary.

Are signers required to pay for notarizations?

Businesses can choose to either pay for notarizations themselves or pass the cost on to their signer(s). They may choose either of these options systemically or configure them on a case-by-case basis.

 

Notaries

How do notaries get approved to perform RON?

The RON commissioning or approval process varies by state. For more information, sign-up for a Notarize account and view the “Organization Employee Notaries” section in this article.

How does Notarize vet notaries before allowing them to perform notarizations on the Notarize platform?

The following processes and procedures are used to ensure Network notaries are only allowed on the Notarize platform after completion of the following -

During onboarding, all notaries must provide certain compliance information ensuring that they are authorized to perform RON. This compliance information is then manually reviewed by the Notary Onboarding team for accuracy before allowing the notary onto the platform. Subsequent changes to this information trigger a second review before the notary can be let back onto the platform.

In addition, notaries are required to maintain errors and omissions insurance with sufficient coverage whenever they perform notarizations on the platform.

Finally, notaries in the Notarize Notary Network must also complete a background check and the Notary Signing Agent training course that is offered by the National Notary Association.

Note that notaries must also upload their digital certificate to perform notarizations on the Notarize platform. Digital certificates are only issued to notaries after they successfully complete identity proofing, further ensuring the identity of all notaries performing notarizations on the Notarize platform.

How does Notarize ensure notaries remain compliant after they are onboarded onto the Notarize platform?

The Notarize platform ensures notaries remain compliant by automatically blocking notaries with expired information from completing notarizations on the platform and by requiring reapproval of notaries who change expiration dates or compliance information in their notary profile.

Can I use my own notaries on the Notarize platform?

Yes. Businesses that have notaries on staff can use Notarize’s platform to route their notarizations to their own employee notaries. Please contact your sales representative to learn more.

How can a business add its notaries to the Notarize platform?

You can invite a notary who is a W-2 employee of your business to join your account. The notary will have to pass a compliance review before they will be allowed to complete live transactions on the platform. For more information on the onboarding process, sign up for a Notarize account and view this article.

Are notaries on the Notarize platform bonded?

A bond is a legally mandated surety that is only required in some states. It is therefore only maintained by notaries in those states. Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance however, is industry mandated and maintained by every notary on the Notarize platform.

What is the difference between a notary’s bond and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance?

A bond is a legally mandated surety that protects the public from a notary’s negligence or intentional misconduct in performing notarizations. Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is industry mandated insurance that protects the notary from liability for false claims or unintentional notarial mistakes or omissions.

How are accounts for in-house notaries set up and configured?

After signing a contract for BYON and creating an account on the Notarize platform, customers can begin inviting their in-house notaries to the Notarize platform.

All notaries must be the customer’s W-2 employees and must complete the following steps to onboard onto the Notarize platform.

  • Agree to the Notarize Platform Terms of Use and Code of Conduct Guidelines
  • Provide a copy of their traditional notarial commission
  • Purchase and upload a digital certificate from IdenTrust
  • Obtain and provide proof of a $25,000 E&O insurance policy
  • Generate an electronic signature and notarial seal in the Notarize platform
  • Obtain authorization from their commissioning office to perform online notarizations

After completing these steps, Notarize’s Notary Onboarding Team must review the notary’s profile to ensure it is accurate and compliant before the notary can begin completing live notarizations on the Notarize platform.

How can I learn more about in-house notary features?

Additional information about in-house notary features is available in this training video. For additional questions and documentation, please contact your Adobe Acrobat Sign representative to give you access to a Notarize account.

How do in-house notaries log in to the Notarize platform?

In house notaries can log in via https://notary.noarize.com/login, https://app.notarize.com, or through their business account at https://business.notarize.com/login.

How are in-house notaries notified that they are needed?

In-house notaries who are assigned to transactions by their account administrator are notified via SMS when the signer views the document. This SMS is sent to the phone number that is saved in the notary’s account.

Can businesses assign individual transactions to specific in-house notaries?

Yes. Businesses who use Notarize can assign individual transactions to specific in-house notaries. The meeting will then be shown to the notary in their assigned meetings tab on the Notarize platform.

Can businesses route their transactions to Notarize’s Notary Network if their in-house notaries are busy or unavailable?

Yes. Businesses who use Notarize can still maintain the flexibility of notarization services on-demand by automatically routing signers who have been waiting for a certain time period to Notarize’s Notary Network or by manually sending individual transactions directly to the Notary Network.

How are signers identified on the Notarize platform? 

Signers on the Notarize platform can be identified in one of the following ways:

  • Multi-factor Authentication: The signer’s identity is confirmed through their successful completion of Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) and credential analysis. Click here for more information on this process
  • Personal Knowledge: The signer is personally known to the notary.

Note: Credible witness identification is only available for transactions on the Notarize real estate platform.

Do signers who are personally known to the notary have to complete multi-factor authentication?

No. Signers who are personally known to the notary must upload a picture of a government issued ID as additional assurance of their identity, but do not but do not complete either KBA or credential analysis.

What forms of identification are acceptable for online notarization?

Each state provides its notaries with a list of acceptable forms of ID for online notarization. Commonly acceptable forms of ID include the following:

  • U.S. State Issued Driver’s License
  • U.S. State Issued Photo ID
  • U.S. Passport Book
  • U.S. Passport Card
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Foreign Passport
  • Alien Registration Card with Photo
  • Military ID

Do signers have to verify their identity each time they request a notarization?

Yes. Per notarial law, signers must re-verify their identity before each meeting with a notary.

Do signers need a Social Security Number?

Signers who are not personally known to the notary must pass Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) and credential analysis. KBA questions are compiled from US data records corresponding to the signer’s identity and a social security number is needed to locate the signer in these records.

Can signers use an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) instead of a Social Security Number?

No. An ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) will not work in place of a social security number.

Do signers need a current or former United States address?

Signers who are not personally known to the notary must pass Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) and credential analysis. KBA questions are compiled from US data records corresponding to the signer’s identity and a current or former United States address is generally needed to allow the signer to be located in these records. However, it is possible (but rare) for questions to be generated for a signer who provides a foreign address.

Does Notarize rely on external vendors for Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) and credential analysis?

Yes. Notarize relies on a combination of internal processes and external vendors. However, we are unable to share specific vendor details as that is confidential information.

 

Notarization

How are the notary’s seal and signature attached to a document?

The notary’s seal and signature are electronically attached with an X.509 compliant digital certificate listed in the Adobe Approved Trust List (AATL) that is maintained and controlled by the individual notary. Physical images of the signature and seal also appear on the document. 

Where are online notarizations valid and enforceable?

Online notarizations are valid and enforceable in every state.

As public officials commissioned by their state, notaries must perform notarizations in compliance with the laws of their state. At the same time, every state recognizes notarial acts that are properly performed by notaries of other states.

Therefore, although 39 states have enacted laws authorizing their notaries to perform notarizations online, these notarizations would be valid and enforceable in every state with their validity determined by applying the law of the notary’s commissioning state.

Recordkeeping

Where are RON videos stored and are they exportable?

Documents and videos are stored on the Notarize platform and are exportable either manually or via the API.

Can notaries export copies of their journal and video recordings?

Yes. Notaries can export either their entire journal or individual entries as well as any video recordings of their notarizations. They can also certify these exports as true and correct copies of their journal if permitted by their state.

Do in-house notaries retain access to their journal and video recordings after they leave their organization?

Yes. Notary journals and video recordings are retained on the notary’s behalf and can be accessed via the notary’s account on the Notarize platform even after the notary has left an organization.

Can notaries edit information in their notary journal?

The information in the notary’s journal is immutable and unable to be modified. Notaries can however, correct inaccuracies in their journal by adding notes to the relevant entries. Once added, these notes are incorporated into the notary’s journal and cannot be deleted or modified.

For example, if a notary performed an acknowledgment but chose the jurat seal type in meeting, the notary can correct this mistake by adding a note to the relevant journal entry with the correct notarial act.

 

Security

Is Notarize HIPAA compliant?

Yes. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) establishes standards for the protection of sensitive patient information in electronic healthcare transactions. Notarize is able to support HIPAA compliance for any organization that meets the definition of a covered entity and signs a business associate agreement (BAA) with Notarize that delineates each party’s roles and responsibilities.

How does Notarize ensure the security and privacy of personal information on notarized documents?

Notarize employs various security measures to ensure the security and privacy of personal information on the Notarize platform including the encryption and protection of all data in transit and at rest using AES-256 bit encryption and tracking of all application access. The Notarize platform has also been subjected to various comprehensive information security audits and penetration testing. For more information on Notarize’s privacy practices, see Notarize's Privacy Policy.

How does Notarize protect against notaries engaging in fraud or theft in connection with a notarization?

Notaries in Notarize’s Notary Network must pass an annual background check performed by the National Notary Association (NNA). Notaries are also unable to access the signer’s ID photo or notarized documents after the notarization.

Has Notarize undergone a SOC 2 type 1 audit?  

Yes, Notarize has a SOC 2 Type 1 attestation.