It's probably not every day that you need to have a document notarized, but when the time comes, it usually involves some legwork. What the heck is notarizing? Where do you find someone who can do it? How long does it take, and what does it cost?
If you have an iPhone or iPad, all you need is Notarize (iOS). This free app connects you with a licensed notary in the state of Virginia, where it's now legal to provide remote electronic notarization.
It works like this: First you upload a document that's already on your phone or available via a cloud service like Dropbox. Although the app has no direct scanning capabilities of its own, it can work with third-party Scanbot (which must be installed separately). Whatever format the document's in, Notarize will convert it to a PDF.
Next, you'll snap a photo of a government-issued ID (driver's license or passport) to prove your identity. From there you'll have the option of electronically annotating the document as needed, filling in any blanks, adding your initials, and so on.
Now for the really high-tech part: The final step is a video call with a Notarize agent (available 24-7), who will walk you through the last steps and serve as witness as you sign the document. An electronic "stamp" then gets added to the document, and you're done! The resulting file can be shared via e-mail or saved to Dropbox.
Notarize charges a flat $25 fee for the service. That's definitely on the high side, especially considering that your local UPS Store typically charges $10 per signature (though this may vary by state), and independent notaries often charge just a few dollars. But this is all about convenience: Notarize doesn't require making a special trip, and it's not limited to standard business hours. Indeed, if you need a notary right now, there's probably no faster option.