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A qualified electronic signature (or eSignature) is an innovative tool that allows you to sign documents with high-security assurances, making them valid in all European Union member states.

In this article, we explain why this electronic signature is the most secure way to sign documents at the moment, and how it can streamline personal and business processes while increasing efficiency.

In effect since 2016, the EU’s Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services regulation, also known as eIDAS Regulation, creates a new legal framework for the electronic signing of documents across all member states. Through this system, the electronic identification of citizens, businesses and public entities are mutually recognized within the EU. Its aim is to contribute to a much safer environment for electronic transactions carried out remotely, while promoting e-commerce and streamlining processes for both public and private services.

To this end, identification systems are created, and electronic signatures (eID) for individuals and legal entities are verified. This regulation, which strengthens and expands upon Directive 1999/93 EC, also introduces and defines the new qualified electronic signature feature.

What is a qualified electronic signature?

The qualified electronic signature (or eSignature) “is produced using a qualified electronic signature-creation device and is based on a qualified electronic signature certificate” issued by a certification authority.

This certificate of the qualified electronic signature is an electronic document which contains all information relating to the signer and the signature’s keys. It allows the signer to express, electronically, their agreement with the content found in the documents.

Out of all of the electronic signatures developed until now, this one provides the greatest level of security assurance. In order to use the qualified electronic signature, the entity providing this signature must comply with the requirements set out in the eIDAS Regulation.

Its most innovative feature, in comparison to the electronic signatures included in the previous directive, is that it enjoys a presumption of legal validity. This signature acts as the equivalent of a handwritten signature, in spite of being limited to processes carried out in government agencies. In these processes, a qualified electronic signature certificate (such as the Spanish DNIe) and a secure, qualified signature-creation device are needed.

More information: You still have doubts left about the eIDAS Regulation, have a look at the following article in our blog What is the eIDAS Regulation and how does it benefit companies?

Benefits of electronic signatures for businesses

Providers with a qualified electronic signature are registered on the EU Trusted List of Certification Service Providers. This means that the use of electronic signature helps to build trust among suppliers and customers. Companies that have successfully integrated this solution receive the EU trust mark, which will appear on their website, providing the brand with an image of credibility.

What’s more, it streamlines the process of signing documents by creating simplified processes. It offers the ability to sign documents remotely from any device and allows users to track the status of document signing—promoting greater efficiency and business development.

Signaturit’s efforts as a trusted service provided has won the company financing from Horizon 2020, an EU Research and Innovation program. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your business benefit from this innovative solution, click here. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 778550