A remote notary is a legally commissioned notary public who is authorized to conduct notarizations over the internet via digital tools and a live audio-video call.
All notaries, no matter how they perform their service, must watch as someone signs a document. Historically, this has required that the notary and signer must travel to meet one another in-person where the notary serves as a witness during the signing event.
In 2012, Virginia became the first state to allow its notaries to conduct notarizations online over live audio-video calls. Specifically, they clarified that the requirement that the signer physically appears before the notary during the signing event could be satisfied via an audio-video call. This law enabled online notarizations and created the concept of a remote notary, but Virginia went further. They specifically empowered their notaries to serve clients nationwide. They also established strict requirements for ID verification, tamper-proofing, and document retention that have made remote notarizations safer and more reliable than a standard in-person notarization.
The name “remote notary” is derived from the fact that the notary serves the customer remotely over the internet.