The US has legally recognized electronic signatures federally since 2000 with the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act.) 47 states recognized electronic signatures as permissible with the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) in 1999. Although each state may have its own guidelines for eSignature, ESIGN Act and UETA ensure the validity of an electronic signature.
ESIGN Act describes guidelines for validity of electronic signatures in the US. UETA has its own guidelines for states that comply with this act for electronic signatures.
An eSignature is broadly defined as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” eSignatures are valid as long as both parties agree to this method of completing a transaction. There needs to be consent from both parties and information with appropriate disclosures regarding the process of signing, fees that may be associated with electronic signing, and statements on hardware and software requirements on electronic records upon request.
eSignatures are not recommended for: