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Electronic signature legality

How does DocuSign eSignature comply with legal requirements?

DocuSign eSignature was developed to meet legal requirements. It enables organizations to:

  • Verify the identity of signers using various identification methods
  • Select the type of signature standard (AES, QES)
  • Confirm the signatory's intention to sign electronically
  • Associate signatures with signers and documents
  • To protect documents with a tamper-proof seal, which uses a combination of independently certified, secure system processes and PKI technology (Public Key Infrastructure).

Is DocuSign eSignature secure?

DocuSign meets some of the strictest security standards in the EU, US and around the world.

We take a security-first approach to e-signatures to ensure that all audit trails, certificates of completion and customer documents in the DocuSign Agreement Cloud remain secure and unchanged before, during and after the signature.

Reduced risk

Many ask: "Can my electronic signature be forged, misused or copied?" The fact is: the traditional handwritten signature is more susceptible to forgery and manipulation, as electronic signatures go through many security and authentication levels and a transaction proof that is acceptable in court is created.

E-signatures are also supplied with an electronic audit trail that serves as an audit trail and evidence of the transaction. This audit trail contains all information regarding the document, including details of when it was opened, viewed and signed.

Collection of judicially admissible evidence

With eSignature, you get a certificate of completion that provides evidence of signing and credentials by capturing key transaction information like IP address and timestamp. This information can help provide evidence of the transaction in the event of a legal dispute.

For more information on the security of DocuSign eSignature, see the DocuSign Trust Center.

Methods to securely verify the identity of the signer

Our e-signature solution offers several options for verifying the identity of a signer before they can access and sign the document.

This includes:

  • E-mail address: Signers enter their email address, which is then compared with the email address used in the invitation.
  • Access code: The sender provides a one-time passcode that the signers must enter.
  • Phone call: Signers must call a phone number and enter their name and access code.
  • SMS: Signers are required to enter a one-time passcode sent via SMS.
  • ID verification: Signatories will be verified using their officially issued photo ID or European eID.

In situations where additional methods of signature validity are required, some providers offer two additional methods for electronic signatures that meet the eIDAS requirements of the EU:

  • Advanced Electronic Signature (AES): Requires a high level of security, identity verification, and authentication to connect to the signer. They also receive a certificate-based digital ID (X.509 PKI) that was issued by a trustworthy service provider.
  • Qualified electronic signature (QES): A QES is an even more secure version of an Advanced Signature (AES) that contains a qualified digital certificate issued by a Qualified Trust Service Provider (QTSP) through a qualified signature creation device. From a legal point of view, it is like a handwritten signature. As a Qualified Trust Service Provider (QTSP) on the EU Trust List, DocuSign offers several options for QES with a wide range of authentication methods.

You can find more information about QES on our blog.

In which countries are electronic signatures legal?

Electronic signatures are recognized by law worldwide.

Contracts have already been signed with DocuSign in more than 180 countries. You can sign contracts in 44 languages ​​and send them in 14 languages.

For more information, see our Electronic Signature Legality Guide.

More about the eIDAS regulation and why it is important

eIDAS stands for Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services and is an EU law that monitors electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European internal market, including electronic signature transactions. It creates a predictable regulatory environment for easier cross-border business.

The eIDAS regulation came into force in 2016 and is valid across Europe. It eliminated ambiguities regarding the legal situation of e-signatures in the EU, so that electronic signatures are admissible in court and their legal effect cannot be denied just because they are in electronic form.

You can find out more about eIDAS and the legal situation in Germany on our blog.

DISCLAIMER: Information on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Electronic signature laws can change quickly, so DocuSign cannot guarantee that all information on this website is current and correct. If you have specific legal questions about the information on this website, you should contact a licensed attorney nearby. Last updated: April 20, 2021


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