What is Notarize?

Notarize is an electronic notary public platform and software service that allows businesses and individuals to complete the notarization process entirely online.

How does Notarize work?

Notarize is an electronic notary public platform and software service offered to clients via any web-enabled desktop (Windows or Mac operating system) with a webcam or via any Apple iOS device (such as an iPhone or iPad). Notarize’s service enables a face-to-face meeting with a notary, just like meeting with a traditional notary public in-person, but the meeting takes place entirely online.

You simply register on the Notarize app or website, then upload your document(s) and verify your identity. You verify your identity using knowledge-based authentication, which offers you a series of specific questions that only you can answer. Once your ID has been verified, your identity is further validated using a government-issued photo ID. Here at Notarize, IDs are authenticated whenever possible using computer imaging technology and a software-based forensic analysis. You are then connected with a commissioned Virginia Electronic Notary Public via live audio-video call. The notary public re-confirms your identity visually using the scanned photo ID, and then witnesses as you electronically sign the document. Similar to how a traditional notary operates, the Notarize notary signs and places his or her notarial seal on your document. For greater security, our notary then completes the electronic notarization process using digital tools. Once complete, you will receive detailed instructions to access your notarized document online and can deliver it or send it electronically to whomever you would like. The whole process is completed in minutes. In accordance with the Virginia statutes governing electronic notarization, all video calls are recorded so that any authorized party may verify your electronic notarization.

How much does it cost to notarize a document?

We charge $25 for each notarization, which includes the fee for the notarial act and for use of our platform and services.

What types of documents can be notarized using this service?

Laws at the federal and state level provide for electronic signing of documents across virtually all categories of everyday forms, contracts and transactions. There are exceptions for a few categories of documents, and some states, public agencies and court systems impose specific additional requirements, limitations and conditions for accepting electronically-signed documents. While many agencies and courts accept electronically-signed and notarized documents, we recommend that you check with your intended recipient to confirm their specific ability and requirements for accepting these notarized documents.

For example, we currently do not notarize:

· Wills, codicils or testamentary trusts
· Motor vehicle title transfer documents and odometer disclosure statements
· Documents for use in Iowa
· I-9 Forms
· Certified true copies of birth, marriage, death certificates, court-issued documents

We are also not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, although we wish you much happiness.

Where is Notarize legal?

In 2011, the Commonwealth of Virginia adopted Virginia Code Sections 47.1 and following, allowing appropriately commissioned Virginia notaries to notarize documents remotely via live audio-video technology. Notarize is a remote electronic notary public platform that enables Virginia notaries to notarize documents for use in Virginia and in most US states. Every state provides its own legal authority for recognition and acceptance of common out-of-state notarizations. Customers use documents notarized by our e-notaries in states across the country. In addition to laws in each state recognizing and accepting common out-of-state notarizations, the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution may provide an additional basis for states to accept out of state notarizations.

Documents notarized on the Notarize platform are electronically signed by the signer(s) and our notary. Certain states and public agencies have specific additional requirements and limitations for accepting electronically-signed documents and out-of-state notarizations, and not all documents may be electronically-signed. For example, Notarize is not notarizing documents for use in Iowa. You should contact the agency that will receive your e-signed and e-notarized document to ensure your document will be acceptable for its intended use. Learn more here.

We’d like to help with general information wherever we can, so let us know of any questions at support@notarize.com.

Is Notarize legal in my state?

Notarize is a remote electronic notary public platform that enables Virginia notaries, as authorized by Virginia law, to notarize documents for use in Virginia and in states across the country. Every state provides legal authority for recognition and acceptance of common out-of-state notarizations, including those from Virginia. We’ve put together an easy guide to such laws in each state, which can be found here.

Can I notarize a document for use outside the United States?

The short answer is no, not yet. When a notarized document is intended for use in another country, the notary’s commission and current status must typically be certified by his or her Secretary of State. That certification is attached to the notarized document and is called an “apostille.” Currently, Virginia is not able to provide apostilles for electronically-notarized documents, and all documents on Notarize are electronically signed and notarized. Please check with us for updates at support@notarize.com.

Notarize is working with the Virginia Secretary of State to provide apostilles, and we hope to have this service available soon.

If Notarize is unable to notarize a particular document, will I be charged?

No, Notarize will only charge the $25 fee for successful notarizations. If we are unable to process any document, the session will be terminated without cost to you. However, the primary cost of operating our service is our notaries’ time. To prevent abuse of the system, any intentional disruption of our notaries’ time or workflow will result in a full charge.

What are the advantages of electronic notarization enabled by Notarize?

Notarize offers unparalleled convenience for consumers looking to notarize a document securely at any time and from any location. Notarize also dramatically improves the process for institutions that require notarized documents in their operations. Using our business portal or custom API, companies may now share with their customers electronic files that need to be notarized. Then the notarized files are automatically sent back to the company, dramatically reducing complexity, time, and operating expense while improving the customer experience.

What are Notarize’s hours of operation?

Notarize is operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year.

How does Notarize secure your personal confidential information?

Notarize takes security and privacy seriously, and you can review our Privacy Policy here. Our application development team has extensive experience building bank grade, highly secure software systems. Our data is transmitted and stored using industry-best data security practices. For example, all user communications are encrypted and all data at rest (such as documents) are protected using AES-256. All application accesses are also tracked using an audit trail.
We recently completed a comprehensive information security audit, including a cyber-security maturity assessment, with a trusted third-party to align our code and security procedures to the SANs Top 20 critical controls. This also included an audit of internal security procedures and protocols, and comprehensive penetration testing of our software and hardware environments to provide a comprehensive risk analysis of our application and associated data.

How does Notarize validate Photo IDs?

In addition to verifying your identity using knowledge-based authentication, as required by Virginia law, Notarize also leverages advanced photo ID authentication technology. Over 300 institutions, including Federal Reserve banks, nuclear power plants, law enforcement and liquor & bar establishments, currently use this ID verification technology.

This service uses a patent-pending forensic approach to verify government issued IDs. The process includes document classification, vector matching, microprint analysis, security pattern inspection, multi-spectrum (Visible, UV*, IR*) image processing, and 1D barcode and 2D barcode analysis.

After you pass knowledge-based authentication, and after the forensic analysis of your photo ID, you are connected with a commissioned Virginia Electronic Notary Public via live video call. The notary public re-confirms your identity visually, using the scanned copy of your photo ID, and then witnesses as you electronically sign the document.

What if a document requires two forms of identification?

Notarize supports documents that require two forms of identification. Business clients will check Secondary Identification in account settings and individual users may provide a secondary ID when prompted in the notarization workflow.

What if I need to sign my document with another person?

If your document must be signed by more than one person, you may use Notarize by completing separate transactions. Each signer and/or witness should register for Notarize and upload an unsigned copy of his/her document to the service. When complete, you will have separately notarized documents that you may then submit to your recipient agency or institution.

We are also actively working on a solution to support concurrent signatures from more than one person and will have updates to share soon. To follow our progress, please read our blog or follow us on Twitter at @Notarize.

How is a remote electronic notarization different from a standard notarization?

A standard notarization requires individuals to appear physically before a commissioned notary public where they must demonstrate proof of identity, sign (or acknowledge their signature on) a document, and, if their document requires a sworn statement, be placed under oath. Electronic notarizations are very much the same, with the following additions for the digital environment: 1) your requirement to appear in-person before the notary is accomplished via a live audio-video call between you and a commissioned Virginia notary, 2) you and the notary complete your respective portions of the document electronically, and 3) in lieu of a physical stamp, the notary’s electronic seal and digital certificate are attached by the notary to your document. When complete, you may print your notarized document or share it via electronic means, and you may access a video recording of the transaction.

Notarization enabled by Notarize offers other significant advantages that validate and secure your document. The notarial session is recorded to protect against identity theft and to create a secure record of the entire process. In accordance with governing Virginia statutes and rules, Notarize attaches an x.509 PKI (public key infrastructure) security certificate to each notarized document. This certificate seals the document to protect against tampering and is unique to each notary, enabling any authorized recipient of a Notarize document to confirm the validity of the document and the authority of the notary public.

Does Notarize use commissioned notary publics?

Yes, Notarize only uses commissioned Electronic Notaries Publics in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While not required by law in the Commonwealth, Notarize agents also undergo additional background screening and training, and are required to maintain a $25,000 Notary errors and omissions (E&O) policy.

What are the safety and security features of electronic notarization from Notarize?

Electronic notarizations completed by Notarize offer an unprecedented level of security and verifiability. We ensure the integrity of all documents in two key ways. First, all documents notarized on our platform are digitally signed by the notary using a special x.509 digital certificate issued to the notary (after a rigorous identity security process) by IdenTrust, a trusted Root Certificate Authority. Once our notary’s digital certificate is applied to a document, it creates what’s called a digital “hash,” which is like a hidden record of all the bits and bytes comprising the document. If any component of the document is later changed, no matter how small, the document will show that it has been changed (or “tampered with”) after the digital signature was applied. This enables all users to confirm that they are looking at the original document as originally signed and notarized. (This digital signature information is readily viewable in the “signature pane” whenever you view a pdf in Adobe Acrobat). Second, we store a digital record of every notarization in a password-enabled “verification portal” where the customer and any authorized recipient (or others authorized by law) can access a digital copy of the original notarized document along with key transactional information about the notarization itself. We also store the video of the notarization session, showing both the notary and the signer as their document is notarized, to deter fraud and provide a secure record of the entire transaction.

What type of digital certificate is attached to my document?

In accordance with governing Virginia statutes and rules, Notarize attaches an x.509 PKI (public key infrastructure) security certificate to each notarized document. This certificate seals the document to protect against tampering and is unique to each agent, enabling any recipient of a Notarize document to confirm the validity of the document the authority of the notary public.

How can a recipient of a notarized document verify a Notarize transaction?

Anyone authorized to verify a transaction will be able to confirm the transaction and view key transaction details. If they have the additional necessary permission or authority, they will also be able to access the video recording of the transaction. Our notaries digitally seal every transaction using a digital certificate issued by a prominent nationwide Certificate Authority and use Public Key Infrastructure Encryption.

To provide simple and secure access, each document is assigned a unique ID. In order for an interested person to retrieve a particular document and (if authorized to do so) its associated video recording, a recipient or receiving institution must share the provided retrieval instructions and necessary security credentials. Using these, the notarized document and related records can be accessed on our verification portal.

Any authorized person who receives or accesses a digital copy of a document may open that document in Adobe Acrobat (or other similar programs) to verify its authenticity by viewing transaction and verification information about the notary’s use of his/her digital certificate.

Can I notarize a document if I do not speak English?

Not at this time. We can notarize a document if you and our notary can communicate directly with each other and understand each other. Unfortunately, a notary cannot notarize a document through an interpreter. We welcome your requests for notaries who are fluent in other languages, and you can send us your language requests at support@notarize.com.

Where can I get legal advice about my own situation?

Notarize is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. Neither we, nor our notaries, are licensed to provide any legal advice. We do not provide any legal advice and we do not accept any legal fees. While we provide general information throughout the website, neither Notarize nor any of our notaries can provide any kind of advice, opinion, or recommendation about your specific legal situation or rights, including whether any particular document may be electronically signed or whether an electronically signed or notarized document will be accepted by your intended recipient. If you have any questions about having your document electronically signed or about validity or acceptance of your document by the intended recipient, please check with the recipient. We encourage all our users to seek legal advice for any questions about notarized documents or associated transactions. Please review our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which govern your use of our site.

I am a notary public in another state. May I join Notarize as an agent?

At present, the Commonwealth of Virginia is the only state to allow its notaries to serve customers across the country using remote electronic notarization. (Montana also allows its notaries to perform notarizations remotely, by audio video connection, for users in Montana). However, it is our ultimate goal to modernize the national notary public industry and we work with policymakers nationwide who are interested in authorizing their own state’s notaries to participate on our platform. If you are a notary public from a state other than Virginia and are interested in bringing remote notarization to your state, please contact us at policy@notarize.com to register your interest.

How do I become an Electronic Notary Public in Virginia?

To become an Electronic Notary Public in Virginia, you must first become a commissioned traditional notary public. Learn more here. Once a commissioned notary public, you must then purchase a valid x.509 security certificate, obtain an electronic seal and subsequently apply with the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive an additional commission as an Electronic Notary Public.

How do I apply to join Notarize as an agent?

Any commissioned electronic notary in the Commonwealth of Virginia is eligible to apply to become a Notarize agent. If you are interested in becoming an agent for Notarize you can apply here.

I am a business that frequently requires notarized documents from my customers. How might I partner with Notarize?

Notarize offers unparalleled convenience for people looking to notarize a document at any time and from any location. Notarize also dramatically improves the process for businesses and institutions that require notarized documents in their operations or with their customers. If you are a business that frequently requires notarized documents, learn more about Notarize for Business or Notarize for Developers. You may reach us at sales@notarize.com to discuss partnership options.

More Information:

For further information about electronic notarization as authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, please review their website here.

For further information about Notarize and general information about the notary public industry, please view our Knowledge Center.

For help and support, please visit Notarize Support.