DocuSign-Issued Digital Certificates for DocuSign Notary

Identity impersonation—by a human or a bot—is a particularly pernicious and frequent form of digital trickery. Given the increased ease and flexibility of conducting business remotely, it’s no surprise bad actors see it as a perfect opportunity to take advantage of people.

Many agreements and contracts require you to share personal and sensitive information, so you need to be confident in the receiver’s identity. One key example is notarization, a process where a notary public verifies the identity of a signer and certifies the authenticity of their signature. When conducting a remote online notarization (RON), it’s especially important to confirm both the notary public and the signer(s) are who they say they are. Fortunately, new solutions like digital certificates can help ensure the notary public is legitimate.

Digital certificates

There are two common ways to identify a notary public: electronic seals and digital certificates. Just like traditional ink and embosser seals, an electronic seal shows the document was notarized and provides information about the notary.

A digital certificate verifies the identity of the notary public who affixed the electronic signature and seal on the notarized document and makes the document “tamper-evident.” After a digital certificate is applied to the notarized document, it’ll be evident if the document’s contents have been altered, including the notary public’s electronic signature and seal.

Currently, not all states that support remote online notarizations require notaries public to have a digital certificate; states that do have different rules for obtaining, verifying and using them. Notaries public in states requiring digital certificates must purchase their certificates through a third-party vendor, and are required to renew them periodically, which can be a costly and time-consuming experience.

Although not all states require digital certificates, obtaining one is the safest and most secure way to perform remote online notarizations for all parties involved in the transaction. Now, DocuSign offers an easier digital certificate solution for notaries public.

DocuSign-issued digital certificates for notaries public

While U.S. regulation currently lags the European Union's eIDAS standards for digital certificates, DocuSign now requires all new notaries public using DocuSign Notary to maintain a DocuSign-issued digital certificate. This requirement not only simplifies the digital certificate onboarding process for notaries public, it also provides a higher bar for legitimate, secure and trusted notarizations, which benefits all Notary users. 

Supplying DocuSign-issued digital certificates directly to new DocuSign Notary users is quick and convenient, reducing onboarding time for a notary public from days to minutes. This new platform-wide standard requires all notaries public to maintain an active DocuSign-issued digital certificate—at no additional cost—that’s valid in all states that support remote online notarizations.

Here’s how the different types of Notary users will experience the new platform improvements and benefit from DocuSign-issued digital certificates:

New notary public users

  • Will be issued a DocuSign digital certificate during a tailored onboarding engagement, and can then renew, delete and view basic certificate details from their Notary Profile
  • Can simply affix the digital certificate to each notarization they’re involved in while active

Existing notary public users

  • Can continue notarizing without a digital certificate or continue using an IdenTrust certificate 
  • Will have the option to obtain a DocuSign-issued digital certificate in a future release


  • Will see the "DS Authority IDV" signature type default automatically for the Notary recipient if they have a valid DocuSign-issued digital certificate
  • Select the "DS Authority IDV" signature type for their Notary recipient to sign with a DocuSign-issued digital certificate
  • Choose the "Signer Held U.S. Notary" signature type for a notary public who prefers to use their existing IdenTrust digital certificate, or select the "DS Electronic" signature type if they prefer not to use a digital certificate


  • Can use a web browser or PDF reader to view the details and tamper-evident tracking of the DocuSign-issued digital certificate to easily determine if a notarized document has been altered

Building trust in digital transactions

All kinds of contracts and agreements require notarization. Remote online notarizations are quickly becoming the preferred method for signers and notaries public because of the convenience and digital audit trail they offer. Now that DocuSign Notary features a simple digital certificate process, users on both sides of the transaction can trust that each is who they say they are. This added layer of identity verification ensures a safe, secure, transparent and trusted notarization for everyone.

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