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Wyatt Bell's Blog

Notarization via Web Cam
by Wyatt Bell | 2012/06/14 |

You turn on FaceTime in your iPhone. On the other end of the connection is a notary public who does the same. You're in North Carolina and the notary is in California but authorized to act in North Carolina. The signature is done in real time and the notary watches the act. The entire session is recorded in QuickTime.

Wyatt Bell's Blog ::

March, 2011 - With a single physical signature, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has signed a landmark bill into law, making the Commonwealth of Virginia the first state in the Union to explicitly allow notarizations to be conducted online over a webcam.

The Act takes effect July, 2012.

Bill HB 2318 – now the law of Virginia – was created as a way to counteract notary fraud such as that most recently seen in the “robo-signing” frauds conducted during the foreclosure crisis.

State of New Jersey - Department of Treasury -


The Division of Revenue requested legal guidance concerning the practice of online notarization services utilizing a webcam or other video in lieu of a personal appearance in front of a valid New Jersey Notary. It has been determined that New Jersey’s statutes do not allow for this type of notarization.

Until such a time, all citizens and Notaries Public alike are STRONGLY URGED not to take part in these services.

North Carolina introduced a bill to eliminate its “personal appearance” requirement in its notary law several years ago. The "personal appearance" requirement remained. Can "personal appearance" be satisfied electronically?



380 words | 4609 views | 1 comments | log in or register to post a comment

Video "personal appearance"

Many years ago I commented about this at a National Notary Association conference, when we had drafted the Notary Code of Professional Responsibility.  My opinion remains the same:

Personal appearance is when you can "reach out and touch someone." 

 How do you know that half-body man you see through a video camera doesn't have someone holding a gun to him under the desk out of camera view?  How to you verify his two forms of identification [CT requirement] to your personal satisfaction?  Can you see them through the video well enough to be reasonably certain they are not photocopies or altered?

What is the venue of the signing of the document in event of a lawsuit?  The notarization block venue is the feet-on-the-ground location of the notary.  The signer's venue could be in another state or country.

Obviously, this will never work in California - where a signer of real estate documents must also sign and place a thumbprint in the notary's journal.  An extra precaution added years ago due to the high incidence of real estate fraud.  North Carolina obviously wants to move its way up to the top of the "most notarization fraud" list. :)

by Bobbi Shorthouse, Notary Public | 2012/06/14 | log in or register to post a reply
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