Electronic notarization: Can an electronic signature be notarized?

With the rise of electronic signatures, there is a need for electronic notarization, which can validate the authenticity and integrity of documents. Notarizing electronic signatures involves using advanced technologies and strict legal requirements, making it a complex process. Nonetheless, electronic notarization has become an attractive alternative to traditional notarization, especially in light of hybrid work and globalization that has made physical notarization challenging.

Electronic notarization enables faster processing, increased efficiency, and greater convenience. Despite its benefits, it presents several challenges, including the need for a secure and reliable digital infrastructure and compliance with various legal and regulatory requirements across different jurisdictions. There is also a lack of awareness of electronic notarization among businesses and individuals. 

Today we have solutions to address these challenges, such as using trusted third-party notary platforms, digital certificates, and biometric authentication technologies. This article will discuss the hows, whats, and whys of notarizing electronic signatures for businesses.

What is notarization? 

Notarization is a process where a notary public (a legal professional authorized by the government) verifies the authenticity of a legal document by witnessing the signing of the document and confirming the signer’s identity. The notary public ensures that the document is legally binding and has not been tampered with. Notarized documents are used for real estate transactions, powers of attorney, wills, and other legal agreements.

How do notarization and electronic signatures relate to each other?

Notarization and electronic signatures are two essential components of many business transactions. They work together to ensure that documents are legally binding and authentic. 

For example, in real estate transactions, electronic signatures are commonly used to sign contracts and agreements, but a notary public may be required to verify the identity of the signers and witness their signatures. Similarly, in legal proceedings, notarized affidavits and declarations may be submitted as evidence, and eSignatures may be used to sign legal documents. 

By leveraging the advantages of both processes, businesses can create a more efficient and secure document management system that can accelerate business growth and success.

What is the current state of laws and regulations for notarizing electronic signatures?

The legal framework for notarizing electronic signatures is still evolving, with many jurisdictions adopting their laws and regulations. Countries have different laws for notarizing electronic signatures due to varying legal systems, cultural attitudes toward technology, and unique priorities and needs.

Some countries, such as the United States, have enacted laws that allow for electronic notarization, while others still need to address this issue. For example, in the United States, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) provide a legal framework for eSignatures and notarization. Several states have enacted laws specifically addressing the notarization of eSignatures, such as Virginia’s Electronic Notary Act and Texas’ Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.

In the European Union, the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulation (eIDAS) provides a legal framework for electronic signatures and notarization. In Canada, the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (UECA) establishes the legal framework for electronic signatures and notarization.

It is worth noting that while laws and regulations for notarizing electronic signatures may exist, the specifics of these laws vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (more on this later). Businesses should be familiar with the laws and regulations in their jurisdiction, as well as any jurisdictions where they conduct business.

Notarizing electronic signatures: Is it possible?

Yes, it is possible to notarize electronic signatures. Many states in the U.S. have passed laws allowing notaries to notarize electronic signatures. The process involves using digital technology to authenticate the signer’s identity and the document.

Technical capabilities of notarizing electronic signatures

The technical capabilities required for notarizing electronic signatures are designed to ensure the authenticity, reliability, and security of electronic documents and transactions. They include

  1. Verify the signer’s identity through electronic ID verification processes such as video chat or identity authentication software.
  2. Create a digital certificate that includes the notary’s eSignature, seal, and the date and time of the notarization, creating a tamper-evident record.
  3. Apply an electronic seal or stamp to the document to indicate that it has been notarized.
  4. Ensure the security and integrity of the electronic document and the notarization process through encryption and other security measures.
  5. Store and manage electronic documents and notarization records in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Methods and technologies available for notarizing electronic signatures

Technology offers secure and reliable ways to notarize electronic signatures, allowing businesses to streamline processes and reduce the need for in-person meetings. Below we’ve listed prevalent options to conduct secure and reliable notarizations.

  1. IPEN (International Notarial e-Protocol): allows notaries to electronically sign, store, and transfer notarized documents securely across borders. It is similar to traditional notarization, where the signers come in person and meet the notary public. The only difference is that the notary public uses technology to perform some requirements. 
  2. Remote online notarization (RON): allows a notary to remotely notarize an electronic signature using audio-visual technology, such as video conferencing. RON is currently legal in over 30 U.S. states and has been adopted in other countries such as Canada and Australia.
  3. RIN (Remote Ink Notarization): is a newer technology that allows notaries to notarize electronic documents remotely using audio-visual communication technology. With RIN, the notary and the signer can communicate and verify identities using video conferencing tools. However, both parties must sign and send paper documents via post. This process is inefficient as it still requires papers, has a disjointed experience, and the notarization happens after the audio/video call. 

Pros and cons of notarizing electronic signatures 

One advantage of notarizing electronic signatures is that it provides a secure and efficient way to authenticate legal documents, making it easier for businesses to conduct transactions. However, there are concerns about the security and reliability of electronic signatures, which could potentially be vulnerable to hacking or other cyberattacks. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of notarizing eSignatures below. 


  1. Convenience: Notarizing electronic signatures is convenient for all parties involved, as they can sign documents from anywhere with an Internet connection without needing to meet in person.
  2. Efficiency: Electronic notarization can speed up the signing process, as parties can sign and notarize documents online in real-time rather than waiting for a physical notary appointment.
  3. Security: Electronic notarization can offer additional security features, such as biometric authentication, digital certificates, and tamper-evident technology, making it harder to forge or alter documents.
  4. Cost savings: Electronic notarization can be less expensive than traditional notarization, eliminating the need for travel, paper, and other physical materials.


  1. Technology barriers: Notarizing electronic signatures requires access to technology, such as a computer, internet connection, audio-visual tools, and digital signature software, which may be a barrier for some people, particularly those who are not tech-savvy.
  2. Legal requirements: Electronic notarization is subject to specific legal requirements and regulations, which vary by jurisdiction, and not all documents may be eligible for electronic notarization.
  3. Security risks: While electronic notarization offers additional security features, it may also be vulnerable to hacking and other types of cyberattacks, compromising the authenticity and validity of the notarized documents.
  4. Lack of personal interaction: Electronic notarization eliminates the face-to-face interaction between the notary and the signer, making it challenging to verify the signer’s identity and understand their intentions.

Notarizing electronic signatures: Is it legal?

The legal requirements for notarizing electronic signatures vary by jurisdiction. In the U.S., the laws and regulations for notarizing electronic signatures vary by state, with some states requiring specific technology or methods for notarizing electronic signatures. It is important to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Legal requirements for notarizing electronic signatures

The legal requirements for notarizing electronic signatures vary depending on the jurisdiction and the signed document type. Hence, working with a qualified notary knowledgeable and experienced in this area is important. 

One key requirement for notarizing electronic signatures is using secure eSignature software that meets the legal standards set by the relevant jurisdiction. A system that verifies the signer’s identity and the signature’s security. In addition, a digital certificate or an audit trail should be attached to the document to ensure its authenticity and integrity.

Notaries public who notarize electronic signatures must also be authorized and licensed to perform this type of notarization in their jurisdiction. They must also follow the relevant requirements for recording and storing electronic notarizations.

Differences in notarization laws and regulations by jurisdiction

The rules and requirements for notarization vary from one state, province, or country to another. These differences exist because of different legal systems, cultures, and histories.

For instance, civil law countries, such as France, rely more on government intervention and regulation. In contrast, common law countries, such as the United States, rely more on judicial decisions and precedents. Additionally, cultural attitudes towards technology and trust in electronic signatures can play a role in developing laws and regulations.

Countries may have different priorities and need that inform their legal frameworks for eSignatures and notarization. For example, some countries prioritize convenience and transaction speed, while others prioritize security and verification

It is important for businesses operating globally to be aware of these differences and to comply with the legal requirements in each country where they conduct business.

Some examples of differences are listed below.

  1. California vs. Texas: California has specific requirements for the technology used in eSignature notarization, while Texas allows notaries to use any technology that meets state requirements.
  2. New York vs. Florida: New York requires tamper-evident technology and a secure repository for electronic notarization, while Florida does not have these specific requirements.
  3. Oregon vs. Pennsylvania: Oregon requires notaries to use an electronic seal that meets specific standards for eSignature notarization, while Pennsylvania does not have this particular requirement.

Implications of notarizing electronic signatures for businesses and individuals

On the one hand, notarizing electronic signatures has become increasingly popular. On the other hand, failure to properly notarize electronic signatures can have significant implications for businesses and individuals. Below are some positive and negative consequences of notarizing electronic signatures for companies and individuals.

1. Positive implications of notarizing electronic signatures:

  1. Increased efficiency: It saves time and increases efficiency by eliminating the need for physical notarization appointments, which can be time-consuming and require travel.
  2. Cost savings: It can be less expensive than traditional notarization, as it eliminates the need for physical materials and travel costs.
  3. Enhanced security: It can offer additional security features, such as digital certificates and tamper-evident technology, making it harder to forge or alter documents.
  4. Improved customer experience: It can offer a convenient and accessible experience for customers, which can improve their satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Negative implications of notarizing electronic signatures:

  1. Legal validity: Without proper notarization, an electronic signature may not hold up as legally binding in court, resulting in legal disputes and financial losses.
  2. Compliance issues: Certain industries, such as finance and healthcare, have strict regulatory requirements for electronic signatures. Failure to meet these requirements can result in fines, legal penalties, and loss of reputation.
  3. Fraud and identity theft: Without proper notarization, there is a higher risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information and fraudulent transactions.
  4. Lack of accountability: Proper notarization clearly records who signed a document and when. Without this accountability, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for any errors or discrepancies in the document.

Electronic notarization: A modern alternative 

Notarizing eSignatures offers a convenient, efficient, and secure way to authenticate documents without the need for physical presence. While it has its own legal requirements and regulations, electronic notarization offers various benefits, including cost savings, enhanced security features, and improved customer experience. It also provides increased accessibility, especially for remote teams and global businesses. 

As technology advances and more jurisdictions adopt electronic notarization, businesses should stay abreast of the latest developments and take advantage of this modern alternative.


1. Can I notarize a document online?

Yes, you can notarize a document online using electronic notarization in many jurisdictions. The legal requirements and regulations may vary depending on your location. You should check with the notary laws prevalent in your region for the procedures and technologies required.

2. Can a CA notary notarize an electronic signature?

Yes, Certifying Authority (CA) notaries can notarize electronic signatures, provided they follow the state’s electronic notarization laws and regulations. 

3. How can I notarize a document online in India?

India recognizes electronic signatures as legally valid. Under the IT law, documents can be notarized electronically by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA). You can find authorized certifying authorities on the Controller of Certifying Authorities website. However, it is essential to note that the specific requirements and regulations for electronic notarization may vary depending on the document type and its intended use.

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