Remote Online Notarization (RON} in Florida

Florida has just legalized RON and I am starting the process of becoming certified. There are some issues that Florida notaries should be aware of when applying for this certification. First is that you must apply with an application form and a $ 10.00 check. Second, don’t apply until you have completed all the requirements which include 1) an orientation course that provides a certificate of completion; 2) a notarized certificate from your bonding company that show you have $ 25,000 bond valid until your license expires (currently you have a minimum $ 7,500 bond good for one year), 3) a certification from an approved RON Service Provider that will charge you per document uploaded for notarization or signing. Finally, understand the legal requirements and whether the RON Provider Services can fulfill these requirements. I have not finished the process but will report on any other issues.

Believe you need $25,000 E&O also in addition to the $25,000 bond. Do you also have to let them know how you intend to store your videos and electronic journals?

You are correct about the E&O however that is the amount that is required for the regular notary and there is no additional amount needed for RON. The Provider Service is required to have the video and storage capacity. I am using DocVerify but there are other services out there. There are also backup requirements as well as a 10 year storage requirement.It is becoming more and more complex.

The state of Florida does not require regular notaries to have E&O at all right now - only $7,500 bond; that E&O you refer to is the requirement of hiring parties, not the state. Regular notaries still only need the $7,500 bond…if you don’t do loan signings, no E&O is really required. With the implementation of RON, any RON notary must now have $25,000 bond AND $25,000 E&O -

As for the storage requirement…don’t forget this - although another service is storing the video, and the journal I assume (?), you are still responsible for it’s security and for the information contained.

I, personally, will not be pursuing my RON commission - I have no need for it and folks up my way are inherently suspicious - they wouldn’t trust doing this at all. I see no market for it up in my area…

I wish you luck

P.S. DocVerify has been in this electronic business for a long time - they are very good and I think you’ll be happy with them (heard through the grapevine, no personal experience here)

Lewis…just one more point I’d like to make to you. Not sure how circumstances are in your area - how is your internet? Strong connections with no chance of dropping? If you have sketchy, unstable or spotty internet this will have a huge impact on your ability to perform these RON notarizations.

Just something else to consider before you invest too much

Hey Lewis, thanks for sharing your journey to become a Remote Online Notary!
I am in the process of applying myself and still comparing the different RON Service Providers.
Would be nice to hear an update, if you have already completed your application. And especially how satisfied you are with DocVerify. I know that they have been around for quite a while and think they would be a good choice, but on the other side, in order to keep their prices low, they don’t have a real customer support and - as far as i know - they also don’t offer a training for their platform.

Hello Lewis,

I’m thinking about getting RON certified in Florida.
However, I could not find any information about the boundaries physical location of the client.
Can the principal for example be located in Canada or Germany? For example: German couple is planning to purchase property in Cape Coral, but physically located in Germany. With RON, could I notarize their signature needed for the US lender?

I don’t want to pay the money or do the course, if this is not allotted within the scope.
Many thanks.

Yes - venue is Florida…

117.265 Online notarization procedures.—
(1) An online notary public physically located in this state may perform an online notarization that meets the requirements of this part regardless of whether the principal or any witnesses are physically located in this state at the time of the online notarization. A commissioner of deeds registered as an online notary public may perform an online notarization while physically located within or outside of this state in accordance with the territorial limits of its jurisdiction and other limitations and requirements otherwise applicable to notarial acts by commissioners of deeds. An online notarization performed in accordance with this chapter is deemed to have been performed within this state and is governed by the applicable laws of this state.

I did attend the training and I have to say that it was very disappointing. After the course I still had a lot of open questions… In fact more than half of the time you spend looking at an empty screen waiting for the time to run out since the FLTA did not pack enough material into it (you are not allowed to fast forward since the State of Florida requires the training to last 2 hours).

To your question, the course does not really answer it. I just looked through it again and it only mentioned, that the signer does not have to be within the geographical boundaries of the State of Florida. I would have assumed, that the signer has to be on US Territory (incl. military bases, embassies, etc.), but since the FL House Bill 409 and the state required training does not mention anything about it, I would think that Linda’s statement is correct and you could legally notarize documents for people all over the world no matter what country they are in, since the venue is Florida.

I would recommend to wait a little longer before getting RON Certified. Hopefully they come up with a better course at some point. As soon as other providers offer a training, I will certainly do it again.

This chapter is all about the online notarizations and may help answer some of the other questions you have - it’s the actual statute; I went back and looked and, sadly, the new handbook barely scratches the surface of RON - a major fail on the part of our SOS, unfortunately. JMO

Thanks for that!
It’s basically what the course covered over 2 hours. And yes you are right, it barely scratches the surface… unfortunately

The above that I posted is just a snippet of what’s in the real law - if you google “Florida Statute Chapter 117” - you’ll get the actual notary law - that outlines RON far better than the so-called handbook they published - which doesn’t do anything. here

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0117/0117ContentsIndex.html

good advice…not only do I whole heartily agree with you, but, methinks Florida is jumping the gun, and have not thought this procedure through. I think over the course of 2020, they will fine tune this RON and I think it is a waste of time to spend a dime on this training/certification/licensing since the state is unsure of what is going on.
Two weeks ago I called the Sec of St office for Florida notary and I could tell by her answers to my questions, that the State of Florida is STILL not comfortable with this, in spite of the fact they passed the law

Hello Lewis. What is Docverify charging to sign up?

Hi: DocVerify has a free initial account and then it goes to $10.00 per month. There are other charges as related to getting the Certification for 4 years. If you go to their site the pricing is found by clicking on tab at top.

Hey Lewis, have you already used DocVerify for Remote Notarizations?

From what I have seen you can’t do RON’s with the professional license for $10/Month. I think you would need the Enterprise License that costs $40/Month and allows you to perform 30 RON’s. More Notarizations would mean more licenses. Did I get that wrong?

This, IMO, makes a whole lot more sense than the $10/month deal - after all, in addition to providing their electronic seal and doc verification, they’re going to be retaining your video for 5 years and keeping your journal. (yes, you need to also keep an electronic journal - my immediate turnoff - don’t like the idea of putting signers’ NPII in the cloud).

Good luck with this - hope there is significant ROI for you.My own opinion is the only ones who will benefit from this are title companies/attorneys/realtors - those with all the equipment and tech in place already - all that’s left is to get a duly commissioned, bonded and insured RON notary on board and they can go all electronic.

I took the DocVerify webinair this Wed. Here are some facts presented. 1) DocVerify is a platform only and charges for use of the platform. It has several levels of subscription but the only level that will allow you to do your own business as a RON is the Enterprise level which is $ 40.00 per month. The other levels allow you to work for others on assignment. 2) DocVerfy allows for online Notarization where you and the individual are required to be in the same location. 3) The presentation focused on using the platform to build your own RON business. They do have the ability to record the notarization and store the same. The strongly recommend that individuals have their own external or cloud based backup due to the extended time that records are to be kept. 4) In addition, if the signing requires notarization of more than one person, they must be done at the same time although not necessarily in the same place. All the preliminary verification must be performed on all signing parties. DocVerify has a contractual arrangement with a verification provider but did not indicate whether this was included in their fee or a separate fee needed to be paid.
I have also checked with NNA regarding Bond and E & O. All these must be brought up to State of Florida requirements which amount to $ 25,000 bonding and $ 50,00 E & O and must be in place for the entire life of the commission.

Regarding Florida E&O & bond - requirement for online notary is $25,000 bond and $25,000 E&O per Florida Statute Section 117.225(6) and 117.225(7)

“(6) Providing evidence satisfactory to the Department of State that the registrant has obtained a bond in the amount of $25,000, payable to any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the registrant acting in his or her official capacity as an online notary public, conditioned for the due discharge of the office, and on such terms as are specified in rule by the Department of State as reasonably necessary to protect the public. The bond shall be approved and filed with the Department of State and executed by a surety company duly authorized to transact business in this state. Compliance by an online notary public with this requirement shall satisfy the requirement of obtaining a bond under s. 117.01(7).
(7) Providing evidence satisfactory to the Department of State that the registrant acting in his or her capacity as an online notary public is covered by an errors and omissions insurance policy from an insurer authorized to transact business in this state, in the minimum amount of $25,000 and on such terms as are specified by rule by the Department of State as reasonably necessary to protect the public.”