As a member state of the European Union, Germany follows eIDAS, the legal framework that recognizes eSignatures as legally valid in the EU.
eIDAS applied to Germany in 2016 and states that “An electronic signature shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.” Following the eIDAS regulation, eSignatures are now legally valid in all EU member states.
Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (the “eIDAS Regulation”)
The eIDAS regulation defines three types of eSignature (SES, AES, QES) and is a new regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Single Market. It establishes a legal framework for people, companies (in particular small to mid-size enterprises) and public administrations to safely access services and execute transactions digitally across all the EU member states.
eIDAS entered into force on 17 September 2014 and applied from 1 July 2016. It repealed and replaced the Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC, a European Union directive on the use of eSignatures in electronic contracts within the EU.
普通电子签名 (SES) 是指逻辑上与其他电子数据（如文档）相连的电子数据。电子数据的签字人使用该方法进行文档签名。许多电子工具，包括密码、PIN 码和扫描的签名，都可以视为 SES。
高级电子签名 (AES) 必须确保签名唯一指向签字人，且能识别签字人的身份。必须使用高度保密且必须在签字人唯一控制权下使用的电子签名生成数据来生成签名。
A qualified electronic signature (QES) is a stricter form of AES and the only signature type given the same legal value as handwritten signatures. It is an advanced electronic signature with a qualified digital certificate that has been created by a qualified signature creation device (QSCD). The QSCD has to be issued by a qualified EU Trust Service Provider (TSP) on the European Union Trust List (EUTL.)
The law does not exclude specific types of agreements. However, certain types of agreements such as wills, court documents, land titles, may still require written, paper communications.