What is an electronic seal, and how is it different than a signature?

During the signing of digital documents, safety is essential, which is provided by subsequent digital solutions listed in eIDAS’ regulation. What is the exact role of the electronic seal, and why is it so important?


E-seal and e-signature – what is the difference?
An electronic seal’s most characteristic feature is that it may be used by legal persons, so companies, organisations, or institutions. In the case of electronic signature, it may be used by natural persons, and it serves as a signature.


An electronic seal is not an equivalent of a legal person’s electronic signature.


Authenticity and integrity, and therefore security


Like the rest of the trust services, the electronic seal is one of the elements that provide faster and more convenient communication in business and public administration. In what way? It ensures the electronic document management system by granting:

  • authenticity – certainty that the document comes from a given organisation, institution, or company
  • integrity – certainty that the content of the document has not been changed


This role of the electronic seal was included in eIDAS’ regulation, which administrates the market of trust services and electronic identification in European countries.


“Electronic seal” means digital form data added to other data in digital form or logically linked with them. It grants authenticity of the origin and integrity of the related data.[eIDAS art.3]


Types of electronic signature
Like in the case of e-signature, there are several types of e-seal on the market, each of them has to satisfy additional conditions.


Advanced electronic seal:

  • it is unique for a legal person, that implies it, and it allows identity recognition
  • a person submitting the seal has control over the data used for its creation
  • any subsequent change in the document confirmed by the seal is possible for recognition


Qualified electronic seal
It meets all the requirements of the advanced electronic seal and additionally:

  • it is submitted via the qualified device
  • it is base on a qualified certificate*


The qualified electronic seal can help automatise many processes in public administration and business and be the next step for a breakthrough in online services. It would

significantly improve and relieved the current system while maintaining security. Taking advantage of the observatorium.biz offer and Esysco enables the implementation of the digital strategies related to the electronic seal, as well as mass sealing of documents.


*qualified electronic seal certificate can be issued only by qualified suppliers of trust services. Respected in Poland qualified certificate can be issued by any given qualified European supplier of trust services. Companies providing this service in Poland are administrated by the Minister of Digitalisation, and the National Bank of Poland keeps the list of suppliers.


Date of publication: 9.09.2020