Remote Online Notarization (RON) Now Available in Texas

Documents Available for Electronic Signature

The 85th Texas legislature passed changes to the law that now allow notarization to occur virtually through an online process. Senate Bill 2128, enacted in 2019, modifies Section 193 of the Local Government Code and Section 12 of the Property Code to create a scheme for recording documents notarized online.  

How is Online Notarization Different from Regular Notarization?

Electronic notarization is governed by Subchapter C, Chapter 406 of the Texas Government Code and Title 1, Chapter 87 (PDF) of the Administrative Code. These statutes give an online notary public the authority to perform a remote notarization using an audio-visual conference, rather than having the individual physically appear before the notary at the time of the notarization. Instead of a traditional rubber stamp, the digital document receives an electronic seal that is the legal equivalent of its ink counterpart.

Is Any Commissioned Notary Also an Electronic Notary?

To be a certified online notary under Texas law, the notary must apply for and receive specific certification from the state. An electronic notary must prove to the state that they have certain digital security measures in place. These include a x.509 digital certificate from a verified authority, software that is equipped with an Identity Verification or Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) for identity and credential verification, a web cam and software for recording.

Conclusion

The Texas statutes for allowing online notarization are being hailed as a model for use across the country. As of April 2020, more than half of US states still required in-person notarization for real estate transactions. However, the national landscape for acknowledgments is quickly changing, and Texas has been on the cutting edge of online notarization. 

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