Can I use E-Signature in EU?

June 30, 2023, 2:37 p.m.
The use of electronic signatures, also known as e-signatures, has gained significant popularity in recent years due to advancements in technology and the need for digital transformation. With the ability to streamline processes, reduce paperwork, and improve efficiency, e-signatures offer a convenient and secure way to authenticate documents without the need for physical signatures.
Can I use E-Signature in EU?
However, when it comes to the use of e-signatures in the European Union (EU), there are certain regulations and legal requirements that need to be considered. In this article, we will explore the guidelines and restrictions surrounding the use of e-signatures in the EU.
In the EU, the legal framework governing electronic signatures is established by the eIDAS Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 910/2014), which came into effect on July 1, 2016. The regulation aims to create a harmonized framework for electronic identification and trust services across EU member states. It provides legal certainty for the use of electronic signatures, ensuring that they have the same legal effect as traditional handwritten signatures.
One of the key principles of the eIDAS Regulation is the concept of "technology neutrality." This means that e-signatures are not limited to a specific technology or format, allowing for various types of electronic signatures to be used. The regulation recognizes three types of electronic signatures: simple electronic signatures, advanced electronic signatures (AES), and qualified electronic signatures (QES).
Simple electronic signatures are the most basic form of e-signature and can be as simple as a scanned image of a handwritten signature. While they are not considered to be as secure as other types of e-signatures, they are still legally binding in the EU.
Advanced electronic signatures, on the other hand, are more secure and provide a higher level of assurance. They are uniquely linked to the signatory, capable of identifying him/her, and created using a digital signature certificate. To ensure the integrity of the signed document, any subsequent changes to the document can be easily detected.
Qualified electronic signatures are the most secure and reliable form of e-signature recognized by the eIDAS Regulation. They are created using a qualified electronic signature certificate, which is issued by a qualified trust service provider (QTSP) and based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures. A qualified electronic signature provides the highest level of legal certainty and is widely accepted across the EU.
One important aspect to note is that the eIDAS Regulation adopts a "mutual recognition" principle, meaning that an electronic signature that is recognized as qualified in one member state should be recognized as such in all other EU member states, as long as it was created using a qualified certificate issued by a QTSP.
It is worth mentioning that while the eIDAS Regulation ensures legal certainty for the use of e-signatures in the EU, certain documents and transactions may require additional formalities or specific types of signatures. For example, certain legal documents or deeds may still require a handwritten signature to be considered valid.
Despite the legal framework and guidelines provided by the eIDAS Regulation, some businesses and individuals may still have concerns about the security and integrity of e-signatures. It is important to choose a reliable and trusted e-signature solution that complies with the eIDAS Regulation, provides strong security measures, and offers features for audit trails and document verification.
In conclusion, the use of e-signatures in the EU is regulated by the eIDAS Regulation, which provides legal certainty and ensures that e-signatures have the same legal effect as traditional handwritten signatures. However, it is crucial to understand the different types of electronic signatures recognized by the eIDAS Regulation and the specific requirements for each type. By adhering to the guidelines and choosing a trustworthy e-signature solution, businesses and individuals can leverage the benefits of e-signatures while complying with the legal framework in the EU.

Check out our services

Check out our product HelpRange. It is designed to securely store (GDPR compliant), share, protect, sell, e-sign and analyze usage of your documents.

Other Posts: