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Notarial certification without a notary?

The Notarization Act and related Acts are to be amended in order to add a new ‒ remote ‒ form of notarial certification.

It is no secret that Estonia is well known for her innovative solutions. Several projects have been launched in recent years creating access to state e-services for Estonian citizens and e-residents while abroad. The Estonian e-state concept is constantly developing and being supplemented with new projects. In that context a proposed amendment to the Notarization Act and related Acts will expand the concept of notarial certification and add the possibility of remote certification via a video connection.

A number of operations require notarial certification. Performing these operations normally requires the personal presence of the individual or their authorized representative at the notary’s office. The proposed amendments aim to simplify the procedure for notarial certification especially for Estonians living abroad and e-residents.

The main novelty will be that notarial certification will be via distant video connection. The quality of the connection must be good enough to enable the notary to identify the person and their intention. The notarial act will be signed digitally through the notary's electronic information system and the original will be saved in digital form. In that way, the notary can confirm the validity of a digital signature. This is possible by means of a confirmation sheet attached to the digitally signed document. The place of the notarization will in such cases be Estonia.

Security is essential in this context. The video connection will to start with be established from the premises of external representations of Estonia (e.g. embassy, consulate) where the identity of the individual will be checked and the necessary hardware put at their disposal. As the whole process will be digital, the person must have an Estonian ID or e-resident card.

The service is to start as a pilot project in the embassies in London, Helsinki, Stockholm, Brussels and New Delhi. We will keep you updated about the start of the project.

Source: Ministry of Justice

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