Electronic and certificate-based digital signatures are not broadly used in Argentina and the vast majority of documents governed by Argentine law are signed with a “wet” signature. However, the use of digital signatures within the public sector has increased in recent years, with many governmental agencies using them for internal processes and promoting them for filings made by third parties. Additionally, the business community is familiar with electronic and digital signatures governed by foreign laws, thus signing documents electronically is expected to increase in Argentina.
Argentine law distinguishes between electronic and digital signatures which are governed by the following laws and regulations:
Argentine law does not specify any particular requirements for electronic signatures. However, according to the Digital Signature Law, a digital signature must comply with the following requirements:
For digital certification to be valid, it must meet the following requirements:
In terms of enforceability, digital signatures carry a presumption of validity while electronic signatures do not. Accordingly, if an electronic signature is challenged, the holder of the electronic signature must show evidence that the signature is authentic.
Cloud-based or remote digital signatures are expressly accepted in Argentina under Decree 892/2017. In order to ensure the security of a remote digital signature, the licensed certifier must use a system that is technically reliable and that:
The government publishes a list of licensed certifiers (Certificadores Licenciados) approved to certify digital signatures in Argentina
There are no specific requirements for the collection and processing of electronic signature data outside Argentina, except in cases when such data includes personal data and the data transfer is made to a country deemed to have an inadequate level of data protection pursuant to Argentinian standards.
If personal data is transferred to those countries, the data exporter and the data importer must execute an international data transfer agreement following the form included in the Disposition 60- E/2016 from the Data Protection Authority. Otherwise, they must request the Data Authority’s prior authorization by submitting a data transfer agreement within 30 days of the execution of the agreement.
Transacting with public sector entities
In Argentina, government agencies do not accept electronic signatures. The use of digital signatures within government agencies is limited and depends on the agency and the type of filing. For example, the Federal Tax Authorities, public universities, and some governmental agencies allow certain filings to be submitted with a digital signature. In order to submit digitally signed documents, the government agency should have previously entered into an agreement with a licensed certifier.
Use cases that require a traditional signature
Private documents in Argentina can be electronically signed with either a digital or an electronic signature. However, documents such as public instruments, or documents related to governmental authorities can only be signed using a digital signature.
Traditional “wet” signatures must be used for the following documents:
Notwithstanding the fact that the Argentine Civil and Commercial Code allows freedom of choice as to how a particular legal instrument is executed, there are certain exceptions set forth in Section 1017. This Section enumerates that the following documents can only be executed by public deed:
Additionally, documents that need to be notarized are generally signed with a traditional “wet” signature. Although certain jurisdictions within Argentina have implemented regulations that allow notaries public to digitally sign certain documents, this is rarely done.
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