Do companies have an opportunity to optimize their document flow during the pandemic? Although mankind is rapidly approaching full digitalization, the act of signing of the contracts printed on paper is a tradition widely adopted by the business community. Thanks to the long-established practice, this procedure is trusted, and sometimes it is not easy to accept something new. Nevertheless, facing unprecedented, people to adapt and discover new and improved business processes. The pandemic and total lockdown pushed many companies to consider electronic documentation and use of use of electronic signatures on a regular basis.

What is an electronic document, and what legal force does it have?

An electronic document is a document in which information is presented in the digital form, and this document is signed by electronic signature. The document signed electronically has an equal legal force as if it was printed on paper and signed manually. An electronic document that was not signed by the electronic signature is not valid.

What is an electronic signature, and what legal effect does it have?

According to the legislation of Kazakhstan, an electronic signature has the same legal force as a manual one. The unique digital code substitutes an autograph. An electronic signature may be kept in the on-line network or on any electronic device such as disk, thumb drive, hard disk, etc. It is recommended though, to keep in in a safe place accessed only by you.

How to sign the document with an electronic signature?

You need to download additional software to sign any Word or PDF file. The Internet offers a wide range of free and paid applications. Such an application will allow you to sign the document with your own electronic signature. As soon as you sign the document, a special notice will appear, and further editing of the document will not be possible.

Is it possible to forge an electronically signed document?

At the present moment, it is virtually impossible. Falsification of the electronically signed document will require extremely high aptitude and expertise in digital and information technology. However, nobody is exempted from hackers’ attacks while performing any electronic operation. At the same time, the probability of the companies trying to forge electronic signatures in their regular business activities is very low.

How to obtain an electronic signature?

Obtaining of the electronic signature is a rather simple and expeditious process. It will be necessary to obtain a registration certificate from the national attestation center of the RoK to get the electronic signature that will be equal to its manual analog and cause the same legal consequences. The application shall be submitted through the Public Service Center.

The following documents are required: application, ID, certificate of the state registration of the company, CEO letter of appointment, or POA for the company’s representative. If the CEO is a non-resident, the additional document confirming IIN and his/her registration in RoK must be submitted. Upon reviewing the documents, you will receive a registration certificate in a digital format. The review of the documents takes one business day from the moment the documents were submitted in full.

How can foreign companies obtain an electronic signature?

To obtain an electronic signature, the representative of the foreign company shall visit an attestation center and submit the following documents:

1. Application;

2. ID;

3. POA;

4. One of the below-mentioned documents confirming IIN and RoK registration:

  • RoK resident ID for foreign citizens;

  • ID of a person without citizenship;

  • Registration certificate for foreign citizens.

5. One of the below-mentioned documents confirming BIN and RoK registration:
  • Registration certificate of the branch/representative office (when applicable);

  • Registration Certificate for non-resident foreign entities that are:

          - Tax agents;
          - Owners of the objects to be taxed in RoK;
          - Diplomatic missions and foreign entities of the equal legal status accredited in RoK;
          - Acting through its affiliated agent considered a permanent establishment.
          - Acting through a permanent establishment without opening of the branch/representative office;
          - Opening current bank accounts in RoK banks.
6. A letter of employment confirmation or a letter of appointment is required for the CEO.

How to apply for an electronic signature on-line?

Previously, an application should have been submitted in person by a CEO or a company representative with PoA, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the electronic signature can be obtained through the on-line application.

You need to have:
  • Local mobile phone number (any KZ operator);

  • PC with a web camera;

  • NCALayer application that is available for free at https://pki.gov.kz/ncalayer/.

You have to be:

  • An RoK citizen;

  • Registered in the database of mobile citizens (eGov mobile).

Below is a step by step algorithm for obtaining the electronic signature on-line:

1.\tSelect the option ‘Obtain the electronic signature remotely’ at https://egov.kz/;

2.\tAllow this website to access your web camera;

3.\tEnter BIN of the company and your IIN;

4.\tEnter the code that you receive on your mobile phone;

5.\tCreate a digital ID to identify the user as follows:

-\tMake a selfie using your web camera;

-\tCreate a 4-digit PIN code;

-\tUpload a scan of your ID or take a picture with your web camera;

6.\tUpon ID check, you will receive an SMS confirmation;

7.\tAllow the system to access your personal data for further submission of your application to the attestation center;

8.\tEnter the PIN and go to the site of the attestation center where you have to read and accept users’ guidelines;

9.\tChoose your PC as key storage and enter the lead to the key storage in the options for the storage;

10.\tCreate a password for your electronic signature and download the certificate.

If the company’s employee requests the electronic signature, the permission of the CEO is required. He/she will receive a notification in the personal cabinet about the request of the employee and should grant his/her permission.

We appreciate the efforts of our government to optimize and facilitate interaction between state authorities and private entities creating such opportunities for digital cooperation. History and human nature suggest that we need an impulse to speed up the transition to the new technologies, and probably digital documentation and use of the electronic signatures will become a much broader adopted practice even when the pandemic will be over.