Need a Notary? Now You Can Get One Online as Illinois Launches New E-Notary Service

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is pictured in a file photo. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is pictured in a file photo. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois is making it easier to get forms notarized by allowing the whole process to play out online.

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Important documents — the volumes of paperwork that go along with buying or selling a home, for example, or granting the power of attorney — require notarization.

It’s a form of protection against fraud.

But that protection can be a pain, when a notary is hard to locate, or if the parties aren’t located in Illinois.

Under a new initiative announced Wednesday by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, the entire process can now be done remotely.

“E-Notary allows both the customer and notary to sign with an electronic signature, and to electronically attach both the notarial certificate and notary seal to a document,” according to a release from the secretary of state.

Illinois had previously allowed portions of notarization to take place online, but Giannoulias’ office said a notary still had to sign and seal a paper document and that all parties still had to be physically in Illinois.

As the National Notary Association describes it: “Notarization is the assurance by a duly appointed and impartial Notary Public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that its signer acted without duress or intimidation, and intended the terms of the document to be in full force and effect.

“The central value of notarization lies in the Notary's impartial screening of a signer for identity, willingness and awareness. This screening detects and deters document fraud, and helps protect the personal rights and property of private citizens from forgers, identity thieves and exploiters of the vulnerable.”

The changes debuted Thursday require the notary to be in Illinois, but the other customers can do their part from anywhere, as long as they’ve got internet access that allows them to be seen and heard on video by the notary.

“E-Notary serves as a game-changer for Illinoisians by now providing a convenient way to notarize documents without leaving their home or office,” Giannoulias said in a statement.

According to Giannoulias’ office, 235 notaries have been approved to serve as electronic notaries, but the office has no means of tracking how many people have so far gone the e-notary route. 

Illinois is late to the e-notary game: According to the secretary of state’s office, 47 other states already have similar procedures in place.

Notaries public can charge up to $25 for e-notarization.

Contact Amanda Vinicky: @AmandaVinicky[email protected]

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