All About Electronic Signatures in Saudi Arabia

Updated on: Feb 1st, 2024


3 min read

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Saudi Arabia is witnessing a surge in digitalization across various sectors, including healthcare, government services, and finance. Adopting electronic signatures is part of this transformation, revolutionizing how businesses operate and interact with clients.

This article explains all about electronic signatures, including what they are, their impact on Saudi e-invoicing, and their benefits.

What are electronic signatures in Saudi Arabia?

An electronic signature (eSignature) is a digital representation of a person's signature. They come in various forms, such as a simple typed name to secure and certificate-based signatures approved by the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC).

These eSignatures provide enhanced security and authentication compared to traditional handwritten signatures.

Saudi e-invoicing and electronic signatures

Saudi Arabia introduced a mandatory e-invoicing system in phases starting in 2021.

Below is the e-invoice generation process in Saudi Arabia:

  • Businesses should upload an XML on the Fatoorah portal to generate the e-invoice.
  • Then, the authority validates the XML and sends it back along with a QR code to the business. 
  • Also, the authority would sign the QR code using an electronic signature.

Hence, businesses do not require electronic signatures to generate e-invoices or to additionally sign the e-invoices.

Benefits of using electronic signatures

Beyond e-invoicing compliance, eSignatures offers numerous benefits for businesses in Saudi Arabia:

  • Enhanced security and authentication: Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) are inbuilt with encryption and digital certificates to ensure document integrity. Further, it prevents unauthorized modifications.
  • Improved efficiency and speed: Electronic signature eliminates the need for printing, signing, and physically sending documents, speeding up the approvals and workflows.
  • Increased transparency: It creates a clear audit trail of who signed and accessed documents, enhancing accountability and compliance.

Overall, digitalisation in Saudi Arabia makes it inevitable for businesses to use eSignatures. They offer a secure, efficient, cost-effective way to conduct business, improving transparency and streamlining operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all types of eSignatures valid in Saudi Arabia?

No, only qualified electronic signatures (QES) issued by licensed TSPs are legally recognized for certain transactions.

Is an electronic signature mandatory for generating an e-invoice?

No, businesses are not required to use electronic signatures to generate e-invoices.

Can I use free eSignature platforms in Saudi Arabia?

While some free platforms exist, using a licensed TSP for QES ensures compliance with Saudi regulations and provides additional security features.

How can I integrate eSignatures into my existing business processes?

Many eSignature service providers offer integrations with popular accounting and document management software, making the transition seamless.