# About .beID
.beID is the Belgian electronic identity card, which can be used for authentication and signing.
# Key features
- It is one of the strongest ID methods in Europe.
- It produces trusted identities verified by the Belgian government.
- Signatures that use .beID are classified as Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES).
The card is issued by the Belgian government and is available for citizens over 12 years old. For children below 12, a version without the signing function is available (known as Kids-ID). There is also a version for foreign residents. The card is widely used in Belgium: In 2012, 99% of Belgian citizens over the age of 12 had the card. In 2018 it was estimated that it was being actively used for online authentication by approximately 5 million unique users.
A USB smart card reader connected to a computer is necessary to use the card. End-users must also install the eaZyLink (opens new window) software to be able to use .beID. There are two PIN codes associated with the card, one for authentication and one for signing.
The following user attributes can be retrieved via the .beID method:
- First two given names and surname
- Place of birth
- Card issuing information
- Card validity date
- Card number
- National identity number (RRN)
- Card type
- Main address of the cardholder (to be updated by the cardholder on change of address)
Use of the Belgian RRN (national identity number) is subject to specific legislation. For certain uses, the merchant must obtain specific authorisation by FOD/SPF IBZ. For more details, refer to the applicable laws (for example, this one (opens new window) or other updated, applicable laws).
Most standard USB card readers can be used to read the .beID card, as long as they are labelled “PC/SC compliant” and the corresponding driver is installed. The eaZyLink software has desktop support for Windows and Mac OSX operating systems.
For supported browsers, see the .beID site (opens new window)
Holders of a .beID card can use it to log into the website of a service provider that supports this method. The screenshots below show the user experience during the process of authentication.
# Electronic signatures
The .beID card also allows end-users to sign documents electronically through third-party signing. The signature that is produced in this process is a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES), which has the same legal validity as a traditional handwritten signature on paper. The screenshots below show the user experience during the process of signing a document.
# Integrating with .beID through Signicat
Web integration with .beID is done via the same API as Signicat's other ID methods. See Getting started with authentication for more information. Through the single point of integration, merchants get access to Signicat's wide portfolio of integrated ID methods, as well as other services like identity proofing.
# How to get started with .beID
If you want to start using .beID through Signicat, contact Signicat (opens new window) and our sales team will guide you through the process.
# Test information
Signicat's test environment preprod.signicat.com is available 24×7 and may be used during your development and test phase. There are test cards available as well, see the eID developer cards (opens new window) page.