Extended lockdowns, health concerns and continuously evolving travel policies have made it challenging to physically execute critical documents related to deeds, contracts, and loans, to name a few. Fortunately, the situation has inspired innovative policies such as the Supreme Court of the Philippines’ 2020 Interim Rules on Remote Notarization of Paper Documents, which states that individuals need not physically go to a notary public’s office to have documents notarized. While institutions overseas fully remote notarizations, a mix of online and offline procedures are still required in the Philippine setting.

Pioneering Philippine regulatory technology (regtech) startup UNAWA makes remote notarization even more convenient by offering UNAWA RNotary. We’re answering your most frequently asked questions about this service.

Q: Why should documents be notarized?

A: There are certain documents that are required by law to be notarized. In addition, notarization has legal implications since it converts a private document into a public instrument. Under Philippine rules on evidence, once a document is notarized, this becomes proof of the document’s authenticity. Moreover, the Philippine public tends to rely on notarization as a source of legitimacy for their transactions even in cases where it is not required.

Q: Can I have all documents notarized?

A: As mentioned, not all documents need to be notarized. But if it does need notarization, the same will be acceptable by RNotary. However, UNAWA’s RNotary Launch will be for single signatory documents only.

The next update will allow for more document types.

Q: Does this mean then that all notarized documents are valid?

A: Not necessarily. A notarized document can still be nullified or invalidated in case there are errors in notarization, for example:

  • Incomplete notarial certificate
  • Incorrect venue/signer’s name
  • Illegible/expired notary seal
  • The seal is stamped over text
  • The use of correction fluid

A nullified document will have no force or effect. This means you will need to hire a lawyer and even go to court to prove the document’s legitimacy. This can be costly and time-consuming.

Q: What are the benefits of remote notarization?

A: With UNAWA’s RNotary service, you can have important documents notarized securely from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

With UNAWA, notaries registered with the service have an existing notarial commission, ensuring that all notarized documents are valid and recorded.

Q: How does remote notarization work?

A: RNotary’s remote notarization service entails three steps:

Step 1: Signed document is securely delivered to the notary by personal or courier service

The following requirements must be prepared by the Principal or the person sending the document: 

  • Document to be notarized, in as many copies as may be needed (important: aside from the number of notarized copies that you need, please prepare at least two (2) additional copies, which will be kept by the notary)
  • Two (2) copies of the principal’s valid I.D.
  • Secure envelope for transmittal to the notary
  • Video clip showing that the principal actually signed the document to be notarized. While the Supreme Court states that the video can be saved on a USB drive or sent as an email attachment, these options have corresponding risks: USBs could malfunction and confidential information sent via email might be hacked. Files uploaded on RNotary’s system are encrypted in transit for added protection. You may use a laptop or phone camera to record the signing, then save as .mp4 for a lightweight video version.

If you’re a company representative and are signing on behalf of a business entity or a corporation, please add the following requirements:

  • Two (2) certified copies of the document granting the principal authority to sign in such capacity (e.g., Corporate Secretary’s Certificate, signed Board Resolution, or Special Power of Attorney)
  • Two (2) copies of the valid ID of the person who signed the authorization document

Once these requirements have been completed, RNotary will facilitate the pickup and delivery of the documents to be notarized.

Step 2: Notary verifies the principal's identity and the document's legitimacy

  • The principal has to open a GPS navigation app (i.e., Waze or Google Maps) on his or her mobile device and show this on screen to verify his or her location 
  • Notary opens the sealed envelope and asks the principal to confirm the identity of the document; the latter is required to show original copies of that document being notarized
  • The document must be kept in the principal’s full view at all times during the video call
  • The principal will be asked to affix a handwritten signature on a blank piece of paper for comparison, confirm that the signature on the document is his/hers, and that he/she signed voluntarily. 
  • Representatives will be asked to confirm that they were authorized to sign on the principal’s behalf.
  • Notary examines the principal’s demeanor and surroundings. Other persons present during the videoconference might be requested to leave if needed

Step 3: Notary signs and affixes seal on the document

  • Notary completes the notarial certificate, affixes signature, and sets his/her seal
  • The certificate shall state that the notarial act was done through video conferencing facilities in accordance with the Supreme Court rules
  • During the videoconference, the principal avows to the whole truth of the contents of the document under penalty of law

Q: Where can I avail myself of the RNotary service and how much does it cost?

A: While RNotary will be initially launched in Makati City, we are working towards making the service available in every city across the Philippines. Rates start at Php500 and will vary depending on the type of document to be notarized. 

Visit the UNAWA RNotary website to create an account. Once logged in, simply follow the instructions to get your first document remote-notarized.

For notaries who want to be part of the service, please email us and we will get in touch for the next steps.

Can I use app-based transport network vehicles services (TNVS) to send documents?

A: Yes, you can. Our TNVS partners and in-house couriers will be trained to handle important legal documents required for remote notarization.


UNAWA’s RNotary service is now available. Access a more secure way to get documents notarized

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