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Question

How can I create an advanced or qualified electronic seal?

Answer

In the first place, in order to seal documents as a legal person, a certificate for electronic seals is actually needed. And, using this certificate, electronic seals can be created. As part of the eIDAS Regulation, these certificates can be purchased from specific providers, named Trust Service Providers (TSP).

1.  Obtain a digital certificate from a TSP

In the case of an ‘advanced electronic seal’, the certificate can be or not qualified. In the case of a ‘qualified electronic seal’, the certificate shall be qualified and the private key related to the certificate shall be stored on a ‘qualified electronic seal creation device’ (QSCD).

As a general rule, if a certain level of electronic seal (e.g. advanced seal) is required, a higher level will probably be accepted (e.g. advanced seal with a qualified certificate, qualified electronic seal).

As laid down in eIDAS, a qualified electronic seal explicitly enjoys the presumption of integrity of the data and of correctness of the origin of that data to which the qualified electronic seal is linked.

Providers of qualified certificates for electronic seals, as an eIDAS legal obligation, are mandatorily listed in the corresponding national Trusted List. But providers of non-qualified certificates for electronic seals could be but are not mandatorily listed in these Trusted Lists.

Trusted Lists, and therefore the providers listed in it, can be browsed in a user-friendly way using the Trusted List Browser. The actual content of these Trusted Lists is managed and published by each Member State and ‘Trusted List Browser’ is “merely” browsing these Trusted Lists.

2.  Choose your TSP using Trusted List Browser

Using Trusted List Browser, go to “Search by Type of service” (top left of the screen).

Select “Certificate for electronic seal” and/or “Qualified certificate for electronic seal” and click “Next”.

Then, select any country you may found appropriate and click “Search”.

Finally, click on any TSP you may find appropriate and, via the “Electronic address” multi-part field of the “Detailed information”, you will find a link to a website providing more information about this provider and the products it provides.

3.   Seal your document

Once you have a certificate for electronic seal, you will be able to seal documents. TSPs might offer their own step-by-step process for sealing digitally.

The European Commission also proposes a demo of DSS, a tool enabling, among other features, the signature and seal of documents. This demo is based on the open-source library Digital Signature Software (DSS). DSS supports the creation and verification of interoperable and secure electronic signatures/seals in line with the eIDAS Regulation. More information is available in the documentation.


For more info, visit our eSignature dedicated FAQ page: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-building-blocks/wikis/x/j4BrBg