Electronic notarizations in Virginia that predate the state’s 2008 technology laws are still valid, according to the state’s top law enforcement official.
An opinion by former Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell has validated all eNotarizations in the state prior to July 1, 2008, when the state’s eNotarization law, House Bill 2058, was to go into effect. The bill’s effective date was postponed due to the lack of standards for electronic notarization. Senate Bill 833 authorizes the Secretary of the Commonwealth to develop these standards and was signed March 16, 2009. SB 833 also confirms McDonnell’s opinion as state law.
The latest developments strengthen ongoing implementation of electronic notarization in Virginia and are based on the legal framework provided by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which was adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999 and later enacted by Virginia. UETA states that electronic signatures and records have the same weight as manual signatures and paper-based transactions.
According to McDonnell’s opinion, electronic notarial acts currently performed by Virginia Notaries would constitute valid acts under the UETA, provided they complied with all other applicable statutes and regulations.