Need a U.S. Notary? Remote Online Notarization Explained

Kelli Potter

Nate lives in Europe and needs a document notarized by a U.S. notary. He may be selling a home in the U.S., traveling with a minor or needing to authorize a power of attorney. He’s a busy professional, and his time is limited. He’s heard of remote online notaries but is weary of using one. He ponders, “Does my document allow for an online notary? How do I find a credible one?”

Does he..
a) Schedule an appointment at the Consulate a few weeks out and refresh their website every hour hoping a sooner appointment opens up
b) Scour the internet for a U.S. online notary and hope that it’s a legitimate process
c) or, work with a company that reviews his document and screens legal and state compliant remote online notaries to ensure a safe, secure and effective notarization

Sounds like a very real-life “Choose Your Own Adventure”, but there are some easy clarifications to remove uncertainty so that Nate feels awesome about using a remote online notary from the comfort of his couch.

First, although there are a few states that have not authorized notaries to do remote online notarization (California, Georgia, Delaware) all states accept remote online notarization and this is an important clarification. The law that enables states to accept notarizations made in other states is part of a foundational principle in the US Constitution called “Full Faith and Credit Clause.” This stipulation requires each state to recognize and accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. When it comes to notarizations specifically, many states have statutes recognizing and accepting notarial acts performed outside their territory.

For example, the state of California does not currently permit notaries within the state to perform remote online notarizations. However, California citizens can have their documents notarized remotely by a notary outside their state, and California Civil Code 1189(b) provides that any certificate of acknowledgment taken in another place shall be sufficient in the state if it is taken according to the laws of the place where the acknowledgment is made.

Second, most types of documents can be notarized online since all 50 states accept remote online notarizations. Common documents notarized online are wills and trust deeds, advanced directives, custody and guardianship agreements and executorships.
Third, it can be difficult figuring out what the request is, especially since every country has different language (that is also translated) around requesting legalized documents. For example, a request for a certified copy is not a request to get a document notarized. A certified copy of a document is ordered from the U.S. county of [birth, marriage, divorce] and then apostile at that state capital.

Finally, it’s always recommended to consult legal counsel or a notary expert regarding acknowledgment of notarization across state borders. That’s where Atlas Notary can be an exceptional resource. We are remote online notary experts. We can help you understand your notarization request and provide fully-vetted and National Notary Association certified U.S. notaries. We are able to service both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. We are available last minute and same-day. We take any uncertainty out of utilizing the convenience and ease of a remote online notary.
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