Electronic Notary Services Will Soon Be Available in Texas
HB 1217, passed during the 85th legislative session and effective January 1, 2018, provides amendments to the Texas Government Code and the Civil Practice and Remedies Code so that Texas can soon begin offering electronic notarization services. In general, online notaries will need to meet the same qualifications as all traditional notaries and must offer their services in accordance with all applicable laws.
Prior to these amendments becoming effective, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office must adopt rules that will govern how audio conferencing and two-way radio will be used to facilitate online notarizations. This same office is also finalizing the requirements for properly applying to become an online notary -- or to expand one’s current services to include online access to them.
HB 1217 Amendments Provide Certain Online Notary Service Limitations
In general, online notaries will be allowed to provide online notarizations for paperwork that falls into the following categories;
Documents related to real estate here in Texas;
Instruments or agreements that secure a debt payable somewhere in Texas;
Agreements or documents pertaining to a transaction involving at least one party who is a Texas resident – or at least legally authorized to handle business in Texas;
A document that is being notarized so it can be filed in Texas public records;
An instrument containing an affirmation or acknowledgment issued by a person while that individual is here in Texas;
An instrument signed by a Texas resident, as documented by a current, valid Texas-issued government ID or credential that includes the person’s photograph and current address within this state.
At present, some individuals and businesses remain concerned about privacy and security issues involved with notarizing sensitive documents online. However, the fact remains that the federal government and other states have been successfully using advanced photo ID technologies online while handling important business transactions for many years.
We will keep you advised about when these online notary services have become fully viable. We can also share our professional advice with you about how and when to include these types of services in your daily workflow.