.beID is the Belgian electronic identity card, which can be used for authentication and signing.
- .beID is one of the strongest eID methods in Europe
- .beID 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 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, and 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 will also have to install the eaZyLink software to be able to use .beID. There are 2 PIN codes that are 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)
Note that use of the Belgian RRN (national identity number) is subject to specific legislation. For certain uses, the merchant must obtain specific authorization by FOD/SPF IBZ. For more details, refer to the applicable laws (for example, this one 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, which end-users have to install to be able to use .beID, has desktop support for Windows and Mac OSX operating systems. The software is compatible with all recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (versions 11 and up), Safari and Edge.
For authentication the following browsers are supported:
- Windows: Internet Explorer (versions 11 and up), Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox
- Mac OSX: Google Chrome, Safari
For signing, all common HTML5-based browsers are supported. For example:
- On Windows: Google Chrome (versions 28 and up), Internet Explorer (versions 11 and up), Edge (versions 20 and up), Mozilla Firefox (versions 30 and up)
- On Mac OSX: Google Chrome (versions 28 and up), Safari (versions 7 and up)
Integrating with .beID through Signicat
Web integration with .beID is done via the same API as Signicat’s other ID methods. See “Get 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 paper verification and lookups.
Holders of a .beID card can use it to log in to the website of a service provider that supports this method. The screenshots below show the user experience during the process of authentication.
The .beID card also allows end-users to sign documents electronically through a third party. 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.
How to get started with .beID
If you want to start using .beID through Signicat, get in touch with us and our sales team will guide you through the process.
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; for further information refer to https://eiddevcards.zetescards.be/.
- .beID website: https://eid.belgium.be/en
- .beID information on the Belgian government website: https://www.ibz.rrn.fgov.be/fr/documents-didentite/eid/