Using Remote Online Notarization for Loyalty Oath Forms
A loyalty oath is a type of legal document that allows the signer (known as the affiant) to pledge their allegiance to an organization, government agency or other entity. For example, loyalty oath forms are often used when elected and appointed officials take their oath of office.
Due to their importance and sensitive nature, loyalty oaths usually must be signed in front of a notary public to be legally binding. It may not always be possible for the oath to be administered, signed and notarized in person in a timely manner, particularly when a public or private official is required to start their new position on a designated date. For this reason, the traditional notarization process can be cumbersome and inefficient.
For example, at Valencia College, the pandemic disrupted the traditional employee onboarding process, which included a Florida requirement to have every new state employee sign a loyalty oath before they can work. Because there was no COVID exemption, this created an immediate backlog of roughly 700 documents that needed to be notarized.
Now, instead of driving to one of three select campuses that offer notary services, new hires at Valencia can complete the process from anywhere using a webcam. At the RON stage, they’re guided through an intuitive, audio-visual experience that begins with a quick identity check and ends with a legally sound agreement and a digital audit trail for HR.
Using RON for loyalty oaths
Administering time-sensitive loyalty oaths through remote online notarization (RON) offers several clear advantages over traditional, in-person notarization. Using DocuSign Notary, notaries have all the tools they need to conduct RON transactions securely via an encrypted audio-visual session. With DocuSign Notary, organizations can:
- Provide a convenient experience for signers, as they can now remotely sign and notarize agreements without leaving their house, or having a notary visit their home.
- Mitigate risk with a robust audit trail featuring a tamper-evident Certificate of Completion, audio-visual recording and electronic journal.
- Establish confidence in signers’ identities with secure identity verification and knowledge-based authentication technologies.
Notary is built on DocuSign eSignature, which makes it easy for organizations to send, sign and notarize agreements within the platform they already use.
Just as importantly, Notary is available and meets the requirements for notarization in an expanding pool of supported states. This is particularly beneficial for large enterprise organizations that operate in multiple states.
Note: Laws governing RON are based on the state where the notary public is commissioned and may vary by jurisdiction. A notary public is required to follow the corresponding RON requirements as set forth by the Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, or other state officials to ensure a notarial act is executed correctly.
DocuSign Notary provides notaries public with the digital tools they need to conduct remote online notarizations. To use DocuSign Notary, organizations must use notaries public that are commissioned in one of the supported states. For more information, reference the DocuSign Remote Online Notarization Legality Guide.
A common loyalty oath scenario—made simple with DocuSign Notary
Let’s look at how this works when a bureaucratic agency needs to remotely administer and notarize a loyalty oath for an incoming state official, who will serve as the affiant.
With DocuSign Notary, the affiant can now sign their loyalty oath and have it notarized electronically and remotely—removing the hassles of meeting in person and saving time for all parties. The government agency can simply generate the loyalty oath agreement and invite the affiant and notary public to a secure, interactive audio-visual session. From there, DocuSign Notary guides both parties through the identity verification, signing and notarization process. Within minutes, the notary public and affiant can meet, sign and notarize the document entirely remotely.
DocuSign Notary offers features for loyalty oath notarization
Notary offers several industry-leading features and functions that ensure the RON experience is seamless and expedient for the signer, notary public and organization. These features include:
- Digital Certificates: DocuSign Notary allows notaries to use a Digital Certificate to apply a Digital Signature per certain state RON requirements.
- Electronic Notary Seal: For those states that require it, Notary allows notaries to upload their state-compliant seal image, a feature included with the platform. The notary can then apply their seal on the document during the signing session to meet compliance requirements. For detailed information on individual state requirements, review our RON Legality Guide.
- Audio-visual recording: An audio-visual recording is produced for each RON session and retained for 10 years, matching the longest state requirement for storage. This is an essential component of each RON session to help ensure the signer is not under duress or coerced, and that they are of sound mind when they sign the loyalty oath.
- Electronic notary journal: DocuSign Notary provides an electronic journal to maintain a robust audit trail and meet RON compliance requirements. DocuSign stores the journal for the lifetime of the notary’s account.
- Detailed audit trail: To maintain a robust audit trail, the electronic journal, audio-visual recording, signed loyalty oath form and Certificate of Completion are all securely saved after notarization.
- Robust authentication protocols: Notary meets state-specific signer verification requirements through several user-friendly methods. These protocols include the use of identity verification and knowledge-based authentication if the notary doesn’t know the signer personally. Another option is for the notary to use the Personal Knowledge feature when the notary personally knows the signer.
- Centralized notary management: For organizations with multiple notaries on staff, DocuSign Notary ensures they can all be managed in one place within a single Administrative dashboard.
Make RON even more efficient with loyalty oath templates
Within DocuSign Notary, it’s easy and quick to create a loyalty oath template that will help accelerate the RON process and reduce mistakes caused by human error. Just follow these three steps:
- Legal placeholder section: When setting up the template, you can include standard legal language within a pre-filled text field. In the case of a loyalty oath, the verbiage is generally standardized, beginning with "I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of _______, and that I will not, knowingly, receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or ...” or similar language.
- Signature section: The template should include a signature section appended to the bottom of the document. By applying signing fields and Notary-specific tags, you can make it easy for the affiant to add their signature on the loyalty oath form, attesting to the language as stated in the legal section.
- Save and close your template: With Notary, it is easy to save your template in DocuSign eSignature for easy access for your next notarial session.
As with all legal documents, we recommend having an attorney review your loyalty oath template before first use.
Interested in learning more about RON? First, check out all the industry-leading features of DocuSign Notary in this informative video, then read this whitepaper to discover how e-signature laws and principles laid the foundation for the RON revolution.