Section 147.63 | Application to be authorized as online notary public.
(A) A notary public who has been duly appointed and commissioned under section 147.01 of the Revised Code, and who is a resident of this state, may apply to the secretary of state to be authorized to act as an online notary public during the term of that notary public's commission. A state resident commissioned as a notary public qualifies to be an online notary public by paying the fee described in section 147.631 of the Revised Code and submitting to the secretary of state an application in the form prescribed by the secretary that demonstrates to the satisfaction of the secretary that the applicant will comply with the standards adopted in rules under section 147.62 of the Revised Code and that the applicant is otherwise qualified to be an online notary.
(B) (1) Before an individual may be authorized to act as an online notary public, that individual shall successfully complete a course of instruction approved by the secretary of state and pass an examination based on the course. The content of the course shall include notarial rules, procedures, and ethical obligations pertaining to online notarization contained in sections 147.60 to 147.66 of the Revised Code or in any other law or rules of this state. The course may be taken in conjunction with the educational program required under section 147.021 of the Revised Code for a notary public commission.
(2) The secretary of state shall approve one business entity comprised of bar associations with statewide scope and regional presence that have expertise and experience in notary laws and processes to provide the course and administer the examination to become an online notary.
(C) The application required under division (A) of this section shall be transmitted electronically to the secretary of state and shall include all of the following information:
(1) The applicant's full legal name and official notary public name to be used in acting as an online notary public;
(2) A description of the technology the applicant intends to use in performing online notarizations;
(3) A certification that the applicant will comply with the rules adopted under section 147.62 of the Revised Code;
(4) An electronic mail address of the applicant;
(5) Any decrypting instructions, keys, codes, or software necessary to enable the application to be read;
(6) Proof of successful completion of the course and passage of the examination required under division (B) of this section;
(7) A disclosure of any and all license or commission revocations or other professional disciplinary actions taken against the applicant ;
(8) Any other information that the secretary of state may require.
(D)(1) If the secretary of state is satisfied that an applicant meets the standards adopted in rules under section 147.62 of the Revised Code, and that the applicant is otherwise qualified to be an online notary public, then the secretary shall issue to the applicant a written authorization to perform online notarizations.
(2) Except as provided in division (D) (4) of this section, the authorization shall expire when the notary public's commission expires or is revoked under section 147.03, 147.031, or 147.032 of the Revised Code.
(3)(a) Except as provided in division (D) (5) of this section, the authorization shall be renewed when the notary public's commission is renewed.
(b) An authorization to perform online notarizations that is set to expire shall not be renewed unless the notary submits to the secretary of state through the entity authorized in this section all of the following:
(i) A fee, set by the secretary of state, of not more than four times the fee prescribed in division (B)(2) of section 147.031 of the Revised Code;
(ii) An application for renewal on a form prescribed by the secretary;
(iii) Evidence of having completed continuing education, as required under division (G) of this section.
(c) If a notary public's online notarization authorization expires before the notary submits the application for renewal, the secretary of state shall not renew that expired authorization but shall permit that person to apply for a new online notarization authorization.
(4) An authorization to perform online notarizations granted to an attorney admitted to the practice of law in this state by the Ohio supreme court shall expire on the earlier of five years after the date the authorization is granted or when the attorney's term of office as a notary public ends.
(5) An attorney authorized to perform online notarizations may apply to renew the attorney's authorization three months prior to the authorization's expiration date.
(6) (a) The secretary may deny an application for an online notary public if any of the required information is missing or incorrect on the application form.
(b) The secretary may also deny an application if the technology the applicant identifies pursuant to division (C)(2) of this section does not conform to the standards developed by the secretary pursuant to section 147.62 of the Revised Code.
(E) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting an online notary public from receiving, installing, and utilizing a software update to the technology that the online notary public disclosed pursuant to division (C)(2) of this section if that software update does not result in a technology that is materially different from the technology that the online notary public disclosed pursuant to division (C)(2) of this section.
(F)(1) If a notary public changes either the hardware or the software that the notary intends to use to carry out online notarizations, then the notary shall inform the secretary of this intent on a form prescribed by the secretary.
(2) If the secretary determines that the new hardware or software does not meet the standards prescribed in rules under section 147.62 of the Revised Code, then the secretary may suspend or revoke the notary's authority to perform online notarizations.
(G) (1) The secretary of state shall not renew an online notarization authorization unless the applicant has completed continuing education as required under rules adopted pursuant to division (G)(2) of this section.
(2) The secretary shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code related to continuing education requirements for an online notarization authorization. The rules shall specify the number of hours of continuing education a notary must complete over the duration of the notary's license and may specify content to be included in the continuing education.
Last updated February 14, 2023 at 2:10 PM