eSignature Legality Summary

eSignatures are legally valid and admissible in the court of law. UAE follows an open model where e-signature are legally valid. Specific use cases for eSignatures are indicated in the Federal E-commerce Law.

Electronic signatures are recognised in the UAE under Federal Law No. 1 of 2006 Concerning Electronic Transactions & Commerce (eCommerce Law). A handwritten signature isn’t always needed for a contract to be considered credible, and that contracts can’t be refused for simply being electronic. They can be seen as such as long as legally able individuals have reached an agreement, whether by verbally agreeing, electronically or physically signing something. The Electronic Commerce Act 2006 states that electronic contracts can’t be dismissed for being electronic. To prove a valid contract, parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that are admissible in evidence, under UAE laws, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.
*The information on this site is "AS IS" and for general information purposes only.

Use Cases for eSignatures ?

Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:

  • Speedy HR document preparation with preapproved templates, easy update of each employee, new employee onboarding processes as well as 360 degree view of employee files.
  • End user agreements including sales & service terms, new retail account opening documents, invoices, shipment details, user manual, EULAs, policies

Use Cases for Qualified Signatures ?

Use cases where an AES is typically appropriate include:

  • Purchase, procurement and commercial agreements including invoices, trade and payment terms, certificates, NDAs, sales & distribution agreements, order acknowledgements.
  • Real estate lease agreements for residential and commercial purpose
  • Commercial agreements between corporate entities including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements
  • Intellectual property licenses including technology licensing, copyright licensing, trademark licensing and franchising agreement

Use Cases that are not appropriate for Electronic Signatures

Use cases that are specifically barred from digital or electronic processes or that include explicit requirements, such as handwritten (e.g. wet ink) signatures or formal notarial process that are not usually compatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management.

  • Notarization or handwritten - documents with formal notarization requirements
  • Notarization - family law contracts (marriage, divorce, wills, etc.) (Electronic Commerce Law, Article 2)
  • Notarization or handwritten - deeds of title to real property (Electronic Commerce Law, Article 2)
  • Notarization or handwritten - negotiable instruments (Electronic Commerce Law, Article 2)
  • Notarization or handwritten - transactions involving the sale, purchase, lease (for a term of more than 10 years) and other disposition of real property and the registration of other rights relating to real property (Electronic Commerce Law, Article 2)
  • Notarization or handwritten - employment agreements which must be filed with the Ministry of Labour
  • Notarization or handwritten - securitization documents
  • Notarization or handwritten - termination notices
  • Notarization - corporate articles
  • Notarization or handwritten - any other documents or transactions exempted by special provision of law

List of Local Trust Service Providers

Institute Regulatory Body/CA/DSC Providers Supported by emSigner Website
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Controller of Certification Authorities Yes
Al Hilal Bank - PJSC Licensed CSPs Yes
Global Information Technology (GIT) Licensed CSPs Yes
First Gulf Bank Licensed CSPs Yes
Emirates ID Licensed CSPs Yes
DigiCert Cross Certification Service Provider Yes
QuoVadis Cross Certification Service Provider Yes
DocuSign Cross Certification Service Provider Yes

“Digital Signature” means a transformation of a message using an asymmetric cryptosystem such that a person having the initial message and the signer’s public key can accurately determine
(a) whether the transformation was created using the private key that corresponds to the signer’s public key;
(b) whether the message has been altered since the transformation was made

[1] An AES is an “advanced electronic signature”, a type of electronic signature that meets the following requirements:
(a) it is uniquely linked to the signatory;
(b) it is capable of identifying the signatory;
(c) it is created using means that are under the signatory’s sole control;
(d) it is linked to other electronic data in such a way that any alteration to the said data can be detected.

[2] A QES is a specific digital signature implementation that has met the particular specifications of a government, including using a secure signature creation device, and been certified as ‘qualified’ by either that government or a party contracted by that government.

Local Technology Standards

As an open, technology-neutral country, the United Arab Emirates have not created specific technical requirements, procedures or practices to implement a QES (Qualified Electronic Signature, or an electronic signature issued by an accredited organization of 'Electronic Attestation Certificates' as defined by local law). Therefore, no practical application of QES exists locally, although the law can be interpreted to imply the existence of a QES.

External Resources

DISCLAIMER: This information is intended to help you understand the legal framework of electronic signatures. However, eMudhra cannot provide legal advice. The law of electronic signatures is constantly evolving. This guide is not intended as a legal advice and should not serve as a substitute for professional legal advice. You should consult an attorney regarding any specific legal concerns.
eMudhra, and all associates including agents, officers, employees or affiliates, are not liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary or consequential damages.