The eIDAS regulation defines three types of electronic signature (SES, AES, QES) and is a new regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Single Market. It establishes a legal framework for people, companies (in particular small to mid-size enterprises) and public administrations to safely access services and execute transactions digitally across all the EU member states.
eIDAS entered into force on 17 September, 2014 and applied on 1 July, 2016. It repealed and replaced the Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC, a European Union directive on the use of eSignatures in electronic contracts within the EU.
Standard Electronic Signature
A standard electronic signature (SES) is the existence of electronic data logically connected to other electronic data (e.g. a document), which is used by the signatory of the electronic data for signature of the document. Many electronic tools, including passwords, PIN codes and scanned signatures can be regarded as a SES.
Advanced Electronic Signature
An advanced electronic signature (AES) must ensure that signatures are uniquely connected to and capable of identifying the signatory. It has to be created using electronic signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under their sole control.
Qualified Electronic Signature
A qualified electronic signature (QES) is a stricter form of AES and the only signature type given the same legal value as handwritten signatures. It is an advanced electronic signature with a qualified digital certificate that has been created by a qualified signature creation device (QSCD). The QSCD has to be issued by a qualified EU Trust Service Provider (TSP) on the European Union Trust List (EUTL.)
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general informational purposes only. It is meant to help companies understand the legal framework used for eSignature legality. This is not intended to be legal advice and should not be a substitute for professional legal advice. Consult a licensed lawyer for legal advice or representation.