Electronic signature in Costa Rica

Electronic signature in Costa Rica Updated in December 2023

Electronic signature types with Viafirma

The digital signature must guarantee the authenticity, confidentiality and integrity of the signed message or document. For this purpose, different authentication methods or factors or identity data are used. The main types are:

    • Digital signature: It is a numerical value that is added to a message or document and guarantees its integrity and authenticity by means of asymmetric cryptography and a digital certificate.
    • Electronic signature: Any method that makes it possible to identify a person in relation to a message or document.
    • Certified electronic signature: Any method of electronic signature made with identity factors or data, which includes a digital certificate to guarantee its security and integrity.

Legal validity of the digital signature in Costa Rica

The current regulations on electronic/digital signatures in Costa Rica are based on the Law on Certificates, Digital Signatures and Electronic Documents, No 8454, which was enacted on December 28, 2019 and entered into force on July 1, 2020. This law establishes the principles, requirements, procedures and sanctions for the issuance, use and validity of digital certificates and digital signatures at the national level.

Law 8454 establishes that the digital signature has the legal equivalence of the handwritten signature, so that digitally signed electronic documents have the same legal value and probative value as traditional documents, and applies to all kinds of transactions and legal acts, public or private, unless otherwise provided by law.

To digitally sign a document, a digital certificate issued by a Registered Certification Authority is required, which must be stored and guarded in a device (token or smart card) that complies with the FIPS 140 level 2 standard; this device will guard the private code that will be used to digitally sign the documents.

The device also requires activation data, which can be a pass word, pass phrase or biometric information (fingerprint).

The digital signature fulfills a double authentication and is based on the principle that the user must be authenticated twice:

    • First, with something you know (the key word or phrase).
    • Second, with something you have (the private key stored in the cryptographic device).

Finally, to sign a document with legal relevance, an online validation service is required to indicate the status of the certificate, in order to prevent the processing of digitally signed documents with a revoked or suspended certificate, as well as to validate the entire chain of trust that supports the certification authority that issued the certificate.

There is the possibility of obtaining a Certificate of Natural Person or a Certificate of Legal Person. Both are issued by a Certification Authority authorized by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications.

Digital signature in Costa Rica

How to obtain a digital certificate in Costa Rica

To obtain a digital certificate for a natural person, you will need:

    • Presentar la cédula de identidad
    • At the Registry Office authorized to issue certificates, you will receive the device for reading the digital signature card. You can consult the Registry Offices.

The paid procedure includes the right to a technical support service offered by the Digital Signature Support Center.

Regulatory regulations in force

In addition to Law No. 8454, there are other regulations that complement or regulate specific aspects of electronic/digital signatures in Costa Rica, such as the Regulations to the Law on Certificates, Digital Signatures and Electronic Documents, the Regulations on Electronic Records before the Judiciary, the new law on electronic bills of exchange and promissory notes, among others.

Electronic signature of documents

If you are looking for a document signature solution in Costa Rica, Viafirma has the solution that fits your needs. Contact us and we will inform you about our products and electronic signature solutions.


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