Serving as a Public and Impartial Witness to the Signing of Important Documents.
Electronic notarization (eNotarization) is the performance of a notarial act on an electronic document by a notary public using an electronic signature and electronic seal. A notary public who is commissioned to perform electronic notarizations is referred to as an eNotary.
Today, many documents including those used in the course of business and for legal purposes are created and distributed electronically. When these types of documents need to be notarized, they would need to be presented in paper form to a traditional notary public. Electronic notarization allows the flow of these electronic documents to continue uninterrupted which provides efficiencies to many business and legal processes. Additionally, eNotarization may reduce the expense and risks associated with paper documents. Electronically notarized documents also provide a safeguard against fraud, as alterations after eNotarization can be detected.
A single, secure platform has been developed to be used for eNotarization. This cloud-based platform includes application programming interfaces (APIs) which will be used by State-approved Notary Technology Service Providers (NTSPs) to conduct eNotarizations. Once commissioned, Delaware eNotaries will sign up with one of the approved NTSPs to utilize their services to perform the eNotarizations.
While the tools used to perform eNotarial acts are different than a traditional paper-based notarial act, the basic requirements for performing the notarization remain the same. Under Delaware law, an eNotary must require personal appearance of the person requesting the eNotarial act and must also identify the person in the same manner as a traditional notary. There are some features of Delaware eNotarization that make it more secure than paper-based notarial acts. Unlike traditional notaries, for instance, Delaware law requires eNotaries to maintain an electronic journal of notarial acts. Delaware’s platform has been designed to capture the required information and create a journal entry on behalf of the eNotary. Additionally, Delaware’s platform ensures every eNotarization carries a unique and secure identifying number. This design provides a “non-repudiation” feature which can be used to detect if a digital document has been altered after eNotarization. This is a major safeguard against fraud and one that cannot be provided with paper-based notarial acts. Delaware’s platform retains this unique data, ensuring that a Delaware eNotarized document can be verified days, months or even years later.
Applications for eNotary commissions are NOT being accepted at this time. The State is in the beginning stages of implementing the eNotary program. As the State approves NTSPs and is ready to begin accepting applications for eNotary commissions, updates will be posted to www.notary.delaware.gov. Information for companies interested in applying to become an NTSP can be found here.
As one would expect, Delaware residents can become a Delaware eNotary. Non-residents of surrounding states who regularly work in Delaware also qualify. This is consistent with the qualifications for traditional Delaware notaries. What is different and unique is that Delaware law Title 29 §4302 (c) (2-4) permits additional non-residents to qualify who do NOT work in Delaware to become eNotaries. Included in this category are employees of banking, trust or insurance companies organized and regulated under the laws of the United States or any state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States, employees of a federal government agency or unit of the United States, and attorneys-at-law and paralegals and legal assistants of such attorneys.