More and more processes are going digital both in the private and public sector. The qualified electronic signature is a perfect tool you can use to execute contracts and submit a growing number of official documents online. If you still don’t have it, you might be interested in finding out what it takes to obtain your own e-signature with a qualified digital certificate.
What can a qualified e-signature be used for?
The qualified e-signature lets you perform a multitude of business transactions without leaving your home. Its holder can, for example, execute binding civil law contracts remotely or issue and send electronic invoices online. The utility also facilitates correspondence with authorities and public administration bodies. With your qualified electronic signature, you can confirm your identity, authenticate yourself with PUE ZUS (the platform for electronic communication with public administration bodies and state social insurance agency in Poland), submit your tax return statements, sign financial reports or place bids in auctions or tenders online – and those are just a few of the numerous formalities, submissions and transactions that would otherwise require you to visit the relevant office in person.
It must be noted that the qualified e-signature has the same legal effect as a handwritten signature on paper. That is why it is so versatile and has so many advantages over the commonly used free e-signature solutions, such as the personal e-signature or the Trusted Profile (Profil Zaufany, an online service offered by state authorities in Poland).
Where can I purchase a qualified electronic signature?
The qualified e-signature is a service you can only buy from qualified trust service providers, which are the few companies officially registered as such by the Office of the Polish Prime Minister. One of them is the EuroCert Certification Centre (registered Polish name: Centrum Certyfikacji EuroCert), whose trustworthiness has been confirmed with its presence on a special list maintained by the National Certification Centre (NCCert) at the National Bank of Poland (NBP).
Trust service providers are the organisations from which you can directly buy a qualified e-signature or a number of other trust services, e.g. an electronic seal, time stamp, PSD2 certificates, e-signature management and validation services, or the registered document delivery service. The procedure of purchasing such a service may vary depending on the provider, yet the overall process will typically look similar.
How to obtain a qualified e-signature, step-by-step
The procedure for obtaining a qualified e-signature from the EuroCert Certification Centre is extremely simple. Here is what you need to do, step by step.
Step 1: Contact EuroCert, a trusted service provider
First things first, please get in direct touch with EuroCert. You can do it by phone at + 48 22 390 59 95 or by email at email@example.com. Using a special map, our representative will direct you to one of our partners, who you will need to call to purchase your “starter pack”. Depending on the service option you choose, it will include a SIM card and a USB reader or a smart card, which will have the form factor of a standard debit card, along with a smart card reader (if you go for the standard e-signature). No physical peripherals are required if you choose the cloud-based e-signature. All you need to do is install an app on your smartphone.
Alternatively, you can purchase your e-signature at sklep.eurocert.pl and once you have done that, set an appointment with our partner.
Step 2: Schedule an identity confirmation meeting
In order to enable us to verify your details, you need to set an appointment directly at EuroCert’s head office in Warsaw or choose any of our partners, whose locations can be found all across Poland. Instead, you can also request a mobile verifier to visit you at your office on a specific date.
Step 3: Get your identity verified
At the meeting, the verifier will ask you to present an ID document – which could be your national ID card, passport or permanent residence card – as verifying the accuracy of your details recorded in that document is one of the essential steps of the verification process. Next, the representative will fill out your e-signature application form and will generate a subscription agreement, which will need to be signed by both parties. Once those formalities have been completed, the qualified certificate will be created.
The identity verification meeting typically takes approx. 15 minutes.
Qualified e-signature for a foreign person – visiting a notary public
It is not unusual for a person who applies for the qualified e-signature to reside outside Poland. With that in mind, we do offer an e-signature validation procedure that does not require a personal meeting with a EuroCert verifier. Instead, such a foreign applicant will need to meet a notary public and obtain a notarial confirmation of them being the actual signatory the subscription agreement. Such a formal document will then be sufficient for EuroCert to create and issue the required certificate.
The visit to a notary public also remains an option for the individuals who are present on the territory of Poland yet are unable to meet a verifier at any of EuroCert’s partner locations personally.
How to renew an existing qualified e-signature?
The qualified e-signature is a commercial trust service provisioned during a limited term of e.g. one, two or three years, which is specified in the service contract executed with its provider. As soon as the term expires, so does the certificate. However, the e-signature can be renewed using a renewal code, which can be purchased on EuroCert’s online shop as part of the qualified electronic signature renewal service.
It can also be done with the assistance of any of the 400 EuroCert partners located across the entire Poland and following a procedure similar to that applicable when obtaining a new e-signature. It should be remembered that a qualified e-signature may only be renewed that way if the customer still holds a valid qualified certificate.