Overview

What is the ZertES regulation?

Established in 2003, ZertES is the primary federal law in Switzerland governing certification services for electronic signatures. In Switzerland, Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) are legally recognized for all transactions and court submissions. Documents signed with QES are protected against alterations, ensuring their authenticity and verifying the signer's identity.

Although ZertES is similar to eIDAS, when conducting business in Switzerland, it is crucial to use an electronic signature solution, like Sign.Plus, that complies with both ZertES and eIDAS regulations.

ZertES vs. eIDAS

What's the difference between ZertES and eIDAS?

As Switzerland falls outside of the European Union, its electronic signature regulations may differ. Serving as an alternative to eIDAS, the electronic signature regulation in the European Union, both laws govern electronic certification services and define the requirements for various types of electronic signatures, including qualified electronic signatures (QES).

Given there are no bilateral agreements between the European Union and Switzerland on the legal enforceability of electronic signatures, certificates issued under Swiss law are not automatically compliant with eIDAS. Therefore, for European entities conducting business in Switzerland, it is crucial to choose an electronic signature provider that ensures compliance with both eIDAS and ZertES regulations to avoid legal issues with the enforceability of your signatures.

Sign.Plus is legally valid under EU and Swiss law

The legality of electronic signatures in the European Union is governed by the eIDAS regulation. In Switzerland, the corresponding legislation is the Federal Act on Electronic Signatures, also known as the ZertES regulation.

If you are in the European Union and wish to learn more about eIDAS regulation, visit this page.

Types of eSignatures

eSignature meanings and types in Switzerland

Similar to eIDAS, ZertES recognizes the three types of electronic signature: simple electronic signature (SES), advanced electronic signature (AES), and qualified electronic signature (QES), each offering different levels of legality and security. Sign.Plus offers each level of legal validity from a single source, ensuring your needs are fully met.

Basic

SES

Simple electronic signature
Confirm signature with a click.
Informal agreements and basic document signing:
  • Service contract
  • Privacy policy
  • Employment contract
  • Purchase orders
  • Permanent rental contract
High

AES

Advanced electronic signature
One-time password.
Business contracts, financial transactions:
  • Non-disclosure agreement
  • Rental agreement
  • Copyright contract
  • Partnership agreements
  • Personal insurance
Maximum

QES

Qualified electronic signature
Signature with additional ID.
Legal agreements, contracts, government documents:
  • Audit report
  • Bank account opening
  • Consumer loan contract
  • Consumer credit contracts
  • Temporary rental contracts

Simple electronic signature (SES)

Simple electronic signature is a basic type of eSignature most commonly used for documents that do not have stringent legal form requirements and carry minimal liability risk.

SES eSignatures serve as digital affirmations, functioning similarly to a scanned image of a signature, clicking an "I accept" button, or simply typing your name. Examples include: quotations, internal documents, confirmations, etc.

Advanced electronic signature (AES)

Advanced electronic signature is a specialized type of eSignature that meets a certain regulatory criteria to provide enhanced authenticity and security.

AES eSignatures feature a higher level of signer ID verification, uniquely linking the electronic signature to the signer and safeguarding the integrity of their signature. Examples include: purchase agreements, rental agreements, etc.

Qualified electronic signature (QES)

A qualified electronic signature is the only type of eSignature granted special legal status, deemed as the legal equivalent to a handwritten signature. It represents the highest standard of eSignature legally recognized in courts.

This specific form of eSignature must meet advanced electronic signature requirements and additionally be certified by a trust service provider. Examples include: official documents, subsidy contracts, employment contracts, audit reports, etc.

QES with Sign.Plus

Qualified eSignatures with Sign.Plus

In contrast to eIDAS, ZertES specifically mandates a qualified electronic timestamp in conjunction with the QES and primarily focuses on regulating the obligations of providers offering certification services. To comply with the law, electronic signatures must be supported by qualified certificates issued by a certification service provider (CSP). A CSP is defined as a provider of trust services that fulfills the specifications in the ZertES Regulation.

Sign.Plus partners with Swisscom Trust Services, a recognized CSP, to issue Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) certificates. Users have the option to choose Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) when creating signature requests via Sign.Plus. They will be redirected to a Swisscom page for identity verification before they can sign via Sign.Plus.

Want to check your document's integrity? Use the validator on the page for Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation.

How to obtain QES with Sign.Plus?

QES requires identity authentication before a digital certificate is issued. Users must electronically verify their identity during the signing process when prompted.

1

Prepare Your Document

Access your Dashboard. Click on Sign, and follow the prompted steps.

When you reach the Add Fields stage, prepare your document by adding necessary fields for your signer to complete.

2

Choose QES as eSignature Level

Before clicking Confirm, find E-Signature Level option at the top right of your page.

Select Qualified Signature (QES) for compliance with eIDAS or ZertES regulations.

3

Send or Sign Your Document

Click on Send.

Signers receiving your document will be redirected to our Swisscom partners' website for additional verification steps.

Secure documents during signing and beyond

Sign.Plus ensures you have all the necessary elements for a legally compliant eSignature, eliminating the need to deal with third-party providers or extra services.

sign myself online signature

Trust service provider (TSP)

We use signature certificates issued by recognized Trust Service Providers (TSPs).
request signature online

Identity provider (IDP)

We provide a range of identification methods, supported by established Identity Providers (IDPs).
request signature online

Updated regularly

We continually adapt to market developments, ensuring we stay current with all technical and legal changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the levels of electronic signatures?
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The ZertES Regulation establishes three levels of electronic signatures: simple, advanced, and qualified. Each level builds upon the criteria of the preceding one, increasing in security and complexity.
What is a certification service provider (CSP)?
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A Certification Service Provider (CSP) is an independent entity that offers trust services and is regularly certified by the relevant national authority. CSPs issue electronic certificates for signatures, ensuring the document's integrity remains intact since signing. They also provide information on the signer's identity, guaranteeing the authenticity of the signature to both the signer and the verifier.
What is a signature certificate?
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The signature certificate from a certified trust service provider is technically linked to the signed PDF document, confirming the signature's validity. It includes a timestamp that records the signing time, ensures the document's integrity, and verifies the signer's identity.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only, and Sign.Plus cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or accurate. This is not intended to be legal advice and should not be a substitute for professional legal advice. For legal advice, consult a licensed attorney regarding your specific legal questions.

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