A qualified electronic signature, due to the definition of a qualified electronic signature in Article 3(12) of Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, means an advanced electronic signature that is created by a qualified electronic signature creation device (QSCD), and which is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures.
A format of an advanced electronic signature/seal is defined in the Annex of Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1506 through a list of technical specifications for XML, CMS or PDF advanced electronic signature formats and for a signature container in ASiC format. National standards define only optional format extensions and their practical use.
In accordance with Articles 2 and 4 of the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1506, Member States requiring an advanced electronic signature/seal or an advanced electronic signature/seal based on a qualified certificate as provided for in Article 27(1) and (2) of Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, shall recognise other formats of electronic signatures than those referred to in Articles 1 and 3 of that decision, provided that the Member State in which a trust service provider is established and is used by a signatory/seal creator, shall offer signature/seal validation to other Member States, and if possible suitable for automated processing.
It means demands on systems are unrealistic because an unlimited number of signature/seal formats shall be recognized, also when a signature/seal of a lower security level than is a qualified electronic signature/seal, is required. Recommendation is to require only a qualified electronic signature/seal.
Format conversion: After 1 July 2016 we do not recommend to use signature containers defined in the standard “Qualified electronic signature formats, version 3.0” in chapter E.2 “ZIP file format (ZEPf)” and in chapter E.3 “DITEC XML file format” if the addressee of a document with an electronic signature (seal) is the other EU Member State. A qualified electronic signature or seal stored in a ZIP file with a renamed file name extension to ZEP “ZIP file format (ZEPf)” is recommended to be renamed to a ZIP envelope and to be converted to one or more signatures according to ASiC standard. ZEPf additional auxiliary items not defined by ASiC will be merged with CMS or XML signature or will be discarded. XML envelope “DITEC XML file format” is recommended to be converted to the XML envelope as defined in ASIC if the conversion does not destroy the signature.
According to national legislation the Authority publishes the following standards:
Signature Policy Formats, version 2.0 (pdf, 772kB)
Standards for signatures and seals created prior to 1 July 2016:
Qualified Electronic Signature Formats, version, 3.0 (pdf, 439 kB)