Efforts of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office to provide online services for registration and licensing services have reached the one-year anniversary.
In August of 2020, Secretary Warner’s Business & Licensing Division surpassed a great hurdle of modernization of the office with the implementation of the online WV Enterprise Registration & Licensing System (ERLS). The public’s use of the online services has been robust over the past year, with a majority of users opting to complete their registration and licensing transactions online for processes that were only previously available in paper formats.
Since launching the ERLS, an average of over 1,300 filers per month have benefitted from the efficiency of the system. The progress has resulted in an estimated 160,000+ sheets of paper eliminated from direct handling while recording the data directly into WVSOS systems. In many cases, the efficiency improvements issue customers’ registration certificates almost immediately. Printing, mailing and wait times for customers are now nearly eliminated for most all ERLS services.
The ERLS allows for 24-hour access and immediate filing for registration and required documents relating to notaries, charitable organizations, marriage celebrants, professional charitable fundraisers, private investigators, athlete agents, scrap metal dealers, trademarks, and apostilles.
“Making online registration and filing easy and accessible 24-hours a day, we’re enabling West Virginia businesses and entrepreneurs to remain compliant,” Warner said. “We’ve modernized the Secretary of State’s Business & Licensing Division so that business owners can focus on their business.”
According to Warner, the public response to the new system has been overwhelmingly positive.
For example, there are currently more than 44,000 notary publics in West Virginia. Current data shows that 90% of all notary registrations are now being completed online, a process that was not available prior to the launching of the ERLS. Further, 82% of marriage celebrant registrations and 51% of charitable organization applications are now being completed online, saving time and money for each customer.
“By transforming the office to embrace online services, West Virginia businesses can spend as little time as possible interacting with the government, and as much time as possible focused on their business’ success,” Warner said.
The launch of the Secretary of State’s ERLS adds to an expanding list of services that have been placed online over the last four years.