How to become a remote online notary? Great question. Here at Work From Home Happiness we’re all about remote-friendly career paths. In fact, we’ve written a number of in-depth career guides for aspiring remote workers. After all, we want you to find a remote job you’ll love, not just any ol’ remote job. 💛
And, in recent years, notary work has become increasingly popular among remote workers over the last few years.
Formerly, notary work was not remote friendly. However, thanks to the pandemic Remote Online Notary (RON) became a thing.
Currently, more than 40 states have laws that allow remote notaries. And being a notary is just one of many wfh jobs out there. But, it’s not something you can just jump into. Instead, you have to follow a number of steps in order to become a remote online notary.
So, without further ado let’s get into it.
What Is A Notary?
Before learning how to become a notary, it’s important to discuss what a notary is.
First, a notary is technically known as a Notary Public. These are state-appointed persons who act as witnesses during the signing of important documents. But, they do much more than that!
According to the National Notary Association,
“A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents.”
National Notary Association
As previously mentioned, notaries play an important role during the signing of documents. So, people turn to notaries when signing official documents.
Now, technically anything you sign can be notarized (including your second grader’s field trip permission slip) BUT not everything needs to be signed. However, commonly notarized documents fall in categories like:
- Real Estate
Additionally, OneNotary includes commercial leases, employment contracts, legal affidavits, passport applications, and mortgage documents as some of the most commonly notarized.
What Can A Notary Do?
Again, a notary can notarize just about any signed document. I’ve had a notary present during the signing of my parents’ wills and at the closing of my home’s refinance. Heck, some states will even let notaries marry couples!
But, there are also things notaries cannot do. For example, they cannot certify copies of vital records like birth and death certificates.
What Work Does A Notary Perform?
Next, let’s look at the specific job functions of a notary. First and foremost, notaries verify identity. They make sure the people signing documents are who they say they are. In other words, notaries check government issued IDs to prevent fraud.
Secondly, notaries double check that documents are complete and ready to be signed. Then they ensure all parties are willingly signing and are not being forced into anything. Similarly, they’ll make sure that each person understands what it is being signed and are competent enough to knowingly sign.
After all named parties have signed, the notary will fill out their notary certificate. This will include the notary’s signature along with their stamp or seal. It looks something like this:
Finally, the completed certificate with stamp or seal is provided with the signed documents. That’s it – the notarization is complete!
How Much Does a Notary Public Make?
When discussing how to become a remote online notary the topic of pay inevitably comes up. Notaries cannot just charge any amount for their services. Instead, most states set limits on what a notary can bill based on the document they are notarizing and the number of people signing.
For example, Florida allows notaries to charge the following fees per signature:
- $10 – acknowledgments
- $10 – Jurats
- $10 – Verbal Oath/Affirmation
- $25 – RON (Remote Online Notary)
Additionally, Florida Notaries can charge extra for travel. “How much extra?,” you ask. Well, that’s up to the individual notary. The State of Florida does not set limits for notary travel expenses.
To sum it up, notary earnings vary state to state. However, notaries are able to charge per signature or oath and may also charge reasonable travel fees. Remember, some states even allow notaries to officiate weddings. For example, Florida Notaries can charge $30 to perform a marriage.
Who Can Be a Notary Public?
Now, can anyone become a notary? Again, the answer to this question largely depends on which state you live in. However, the majority of states have general notary guidelines like:
- 18 years or older
- Legal resident of the state
- Read and write English
- No felonies
- No misdemeanors involving fraud or deceit
Additionally, some states have mandatory training and/or exam requirements. For example, the State of Florida requires 3 hours of notary training followed by a passing score on a test.
So, Does That Mean I Can’t Become a Notary With a Criminal Record?
Not necessarily. Some states will not allow individuals with felonies on their record to become a Notary Public. Period.
Other states, like Florida, allow notaries with felony convictions as long as that person has had their civil rights restored. Additionally, misdemeanors that involve fraud, dishonesty, or deceit can prevent you from becoming a Notary Public in many states.
Remember, every state has unique rules regarding its notaries. Always double check your state’s notary guidelines for the most up-to-date information.
Can I Work From Home As a Notary Public?
Absolutely! In fact, how to become a remote online notary is a pretty popular question these days. And, thanks to the pandemic, the majority of states now have laws that allow its notaries to work online.
So, what’s the difference between how to become a notary and how to become an online notary?
First, an online notary is typically referred to as an RON which stands for Remote Online Notary.
A Remote Online Notary can notarize the same documents as a traditional Public Notary. Similarly, RONs perform the same tasks previously mentioned but entirely online. To do their jobs, remote notaries use special technology to complete the notarization process. This allows all parties to appear before one another and verify identity without physically being in the same room.
How Do I Become A Remote Online Notary?
Many states require you to become a traditional Public Notary first. Then you can apply to become a RON. Some states have additional training requirements for RONs (like Florida). Remember, default to your Secretary of State website for the most current direction for RONs and Notary Public information.
We’ve also created a State Notary Resources Google Sheet with Helpful Links to each state’s Notary Websites as well as whether they allow RON:
What Schooling Do I Need to Be A Remote Online Notary?
Finally, some states require training for notaries. Other states simply ask you to pass an exam. However, almost all states have free training or study guides aspiring notaries can use to satisfy notary requirements.
Please be cautious of “online notary schools” that teach you to become a notary in your state. Most states do not have mandatory training requirements. And those which do often provide all the training you need for free.
Florida, for example, provides its own Notary Education Program. The three hour course is the only training you’ll need and it’s 100% free! From there, Florida offers an additional Remote Online Notary training – also free of charge.
What if My State Doesn’t Have Training Requirements?
Furthermore, some states have zero guidance for how to become a notary. For example, notaries in Alabama are appointed by county-level probate judges.
To be considered, Alabama residents fill out an application and secure a $25,000 bond. From there, it’s up to each notary to develop the skills necessary to be successful. The State of Alabama website simply points residents to its Secretary of State website.
It can be pretty confusing on how to become a remote online notary depending on which state you live in! Before you jump in, please visit your Secretary of State Website. A google search can result in hundreds of online training programs or notary schools that charge you for training you can receive for free from your state!
What Fees Are There To Become A Remote Online Notary?
Great question! Again, every state has different filing fees for its notary publics and RONs. For example, the State of Florida charges a $39 application fee for its notaries.
Additional expenses remote online notaries have include:
- Notary Stamp or Seal
- Digital Certificate
- State Approved RON software to perform remote notary services
- Surety bond for online notarizations
Additionally, notaries may opt for errors and omissions insurance or a Notary Journal to keep track of all their official acts. Errors and omissions insurance protects you in the event you make a mistake while providing remote online notary services.
Again, and I hate to keep saying this, but your state will let you know what supplies are required and which are optional!
How To Become a Remote Online Notary
Lastly, let’s put it all together so you have a good idea of what it takes to become a notary in your state. Generally, these are the steps needed to learn how to become a remote online notary:
Meet Your State’s Requirements
See if you meet your state’s notary requirements, i.e., age and criminal history. Note: Some states disqualify individuals with felony convictions or anyone with fraud convictions
Complete Training (if Necessary) & Pass Certification
Determine if your state mandates notary training. Remember, you might not have to pay for training if your state (like Florida) provides it free of charge. Additionally, you will likely have to become a Public Notary first before you can become a RON.
Research if your state allows Remote Online Notary (RON)
Not all states allow RON. Use our handy State Notary Resources sheet to see if yours does. If so, complete necessary training to also become an RON
Complete Notary Application
After you complete training and/or certification fill out the application to become a notary in your state and pay the associated fees. Additionally, purchase a surety bond. Optionally, buy Errors & Omissions insurance. Please check your state’s Secretary of State Website for surety bond requirements and approved vendors!
Gather Necessary Notary Supplies
Compile a list of necessary supplies as a notary and RON
Notary Public and RONs need specific supplies like stamps, embossers, certificates, and software. Only purchase what you need – your state will tell you which supplies are needed. Additionally, RONs may only use state-approved vendors for remote notarization software. Examples include Nexsys, NotaryCam, SafeDocs, etc.
Market your in-person and Remote Online Notary services
Once your application is approved and you have all the necessary equipment -Congrats! You’re now a Notary Public and/or Remote Online Notary. Now it’s time to market your services.
How To Become A Remote Online Notary and Start A Home Business
Finally, it’s time to start working as a remote online notary. Remember, you are now self-employed. As such, you need to learn how to be self-employed from home.
Additionally, invest in marketing classes or at-home business training. We recommend Notary Training Institute to help you build a successful and thriving Notary Public business both locally and online. Additionally, Notary Training Institute helps students expand their Notary business to include additional revenue streams like Signing Agent.
And, if you ever have additional questions on how to become a notary, they provide tons of resources and support. There’s even a Notary Training Institute Members Only Private Community. It’s a highly-recommended resource for anyone looking to start a grow a remote online notary business.
This post was originally published on Work From Home Happiness