Since 2006 Electronic Signature’s have been recognized by law in the United Arab Emirates when the Electronic Commerce Law was passed.  (Read below for insight)

eSignature Legality Summary

Under UAE law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract – contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document. 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.

Use Cases for Standard Electronic Signature (SES)

Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:

  • HR documents, such as supplemental employment contracts (i.e., not employment contracts filed with UAE authorities), non-disclosure agreements, employee invention agreements, privacy notices, benefits paperwork and other new employee on-boarding processes
  • commercial agreements between corporate entities, including non-disclosure agreements, purchase orders, order acknowledgements, invoices, other procurement documents, sales agreements, distribution agreements, service agreements
  • consumer agreements, including new retail account opening documents, sales terms, services terms, software licenses, purchase orders, order confirmations, invoices, shipment documentation, user manuals, policies
  • service agreements
  • termination notices
  • software license agreements
  • certain intellectual property licenses and transfers such as trademark licenses and assignments

Use Cases for Other Types of Electronic Signature (e.g. Digital Signature, AES[1], QES[2])

Use cases where an electronic signature other than SES may be required include:

  • UAE law does not distinguish between the types of contracts/transactions that can be effectuated by SES, AES and/or QES. Therefore, those transactions that can be effectuated by the use of SES can also be effectuated with AES or QES and vice versa.

Use Cases That Are Not Typically Appropriate for Electronic Signatures or Digital Transaction Management

Set out below are 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 Labor or a Free Zone Authority in the UAE
  • 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

[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; and (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.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is for your convenience and for general information purposes only. Nothing on this website is intended to serve as legal advice. Each country has the ability to change laws that oversea and govern electronic signature. these changes may be rapid, so DocuMega cannot guarantee that the information provided on this website in regards to laws in various countries is current or correct. If you as a Visitor to this website should need future guidance on these laws then you should consult with a local attorney for guidance.