Special Concerns - Foreign Nationals

  • What’s the problem with RON and foreign nationals?
    Florida – and most states that have adopted RON – require that the signer successfully navigate the ID credentialing and KBA processes discussed above as a pre-condition of signing instruments remotely from the online notary. The KBA questions are computer-generated and derived from third party sources that rely in large part on the signer’s U.S. credit history. Foreign nationals oftentimes do not have a sufficient base of information needed to build the KBA questions, thus making it difficult to use RON with a foreign national signer.
  • Is there a workaround approved by The Fund and Old Republic when it comes to foreign nationals?
    Yes. There are two workarounds: (i) if the online notary personally knows the foreign national signer and the platform being utilized allows for the bypass of ID credentialing and KBA, the online notary may be able to proceed with the online signing, provided that he or she marks “personally known to me” within the notarial certificate; (ii) the use of a Virginia online notary may allow for sufficient identity-proofing of a non-U.S. citizen and many platforms have access to Virginia online notaries. Old Republic and The Fund have issued a bulletin regarding the use of a Virginia notary. Suffice it to say, the risk of fraud decreases if the issuing-agent personally knows the foreign national signer and increases if the foreign national signer is unknown to the issuing-agent.
  • What if the issuing agent doesn’t personally know the foreign national signer but a trusted person in the transaction does, like the real estate agent? Can I proceed? Do I need underwriter approval?
    This will depend on the circumstances presented in each case. Old Republic Title, through The Fund, will insure a transaction without exception involving an instrument that was notarized by a Virginia online notary, but the risk of loss will ultimately fall on the issuing-agent if there was identity fraud in the foreign national’s signing process.