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Digitally Sign and Seal Documents in the City of Miami

If you are an Architect, Engineer, or Contractor working in the city of Miami, you are now required to digitally sign and seal your drawings and documents.

The City of Miami has recently introduced a new Electronic Plan Review system (ePlan). This means that when it is time to submit your drawings and documents to the City of Miami, you are required to purchase a Document Signing Certificate from a certificate authority.
Buy yours now from the most trusted certificate authority in the State of Florida.

What is a Document Signing Certificate?

Document signing certificates provide the digital signature and seal required to verify the authenticity of a document. It also verifies the Architect, Engineer, or Contractor who created it using tools like Adobe, Microsoft, or Bluebeam.
e-signature graphic

How Does a Document Signing Certificate Work?

  1. First, verify your identity and your company’s legitimacy with a certificate authority.
  2. Next, a USB stick is mailed to you overnight. Once you receive the USB stick, download the signing software that automatically integrates with tools like Adobe, Microsoft, Bluebeam, and more. This is a one-time installation; so after that, simply plug in your USB stick whenever you need to sign and seal a document.
  3. Finally, open your drawing or document in your program of choice, and you will see the option to add your signature.

Document signing flowchart

What are the Benefits of Replacing Your Wet Stamp with a Digital Signature?

  • Shorten project timelines and deliver documents for review in minutes instead of days.
  • Save time by signing large, multi-page documents in seconds.
  • Mitigate the risk of document tampering using state-of-the-art encryption technology.
  • Ensure the highest level of trust from agencies who review your drawings and documents for approval.

Do I Really Need to Buy this Certificate?

Yes. Laws and rules set by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, Architects, and Surveyors in Florida Statute 471, and as implemented in Florida Administrative Code 61G15-23, require digital signatures for signing and sealing documents that are delivered electronically.

How Do I Set Up My City of Miami Document Signing Certificate?

The following checklist is taken directly from the City of Miami’s government website:

1. Acquire a Digital Signature

You will need to select a City of Miami recognized digital certificate provider from this list, and get an application through their application process.

2. Export a Digital Certificate

Once you have installed your digital certificate (browser or USB), you can export or insert it for use on other devices and/or for safe keeping in case your installed certificate is lost. It is recommended to save your certificate in two locations (this could include your local computer or an external drive).
  1. Open Internet Browser (preferred is Internet Explorer)
  2. Click the “Gear” icon, then click Internet Options
  3. On the Content tab, click Certificates
  4. Select your most current certificate (look at expiration date) issued by your certificate authority (Entrust), then click Export
  5. Follow the steps in the Certificate Export Wizard, then click Next
  6. Click Yes, export the private key, then click Next. (You will need your digital certificate password.)
  7. Click Personal Information Exchange and include all certificates in the certificate path, if possible, then click Next
  8. Select the Password box and enter your password twice, then click Next
  9. Click Browse
  10. Navigate to your chosen file location and enter a file name, then click Save
  11. Click Next
  12. Click Finish
  13. Enter your Digital Signature Password, then click OK
    NOTE: Do not select Remember Password.
  14. Click OK
  15. Click Close
  16. Click OK and close the Internet Browser

3. Install and Configure Adobe

Download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. If you prefer, uncheck the boxes for optional offers.

Signature Appearance

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and click Edit > Preferences
  2. Click Signature > More
  3. Click New
  4. Select your signature appearance options. The options shown below will create a simple signature.
  5. Give your appearance a unique title. Click OK. Click OK twice more to exit the preference menus.

Verification Preferences

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and click Edit > Preferences
  2. Click Signatures > More…
  3. On the Signature Verification Preferences screen, select both check boxes under Windows Integration, Trust ALL root certificates in the Windows Certificate Store for: “Validating Signatures and Validating Certified Documents

4. Sign the PDF Document

  1. Open the PDF document in Adobe and select tools.  
  2. Select Certificates
  3. Select Digitally sign  
  4. If an instructions box pops up, click OK.
  5. Click and drag to place the signature block at the desired location.
  6. The Sign with a Digital ID box will appear after you draw the signature block.
  7. Select the certificate from your approved signature provider and make sure your certificate is not expired.
  8. Click Continue.
  9. Select the signature appearance you created earlier, then click Sign.
  10. Input your certificate signing password, then click Allow.
  11. Navigate to your file location, name your file, then click Save.

5. Validate the Signature

  1. Right-click the signature block and click Validate Signature
  2. If the signature is valid, you will see a green check mark; click Signature Properties
  3. Click Show Signer’s Certificate…
  4. Make sure that the signature is issued by one of the providers on the approved list.
  5. If the signature is invalid, the signature could be expired or revoked, or the document could have been modified after it was originally signed

For More Information

See How to install an Entrust Document Signing Certificate for technical specifications and setup instructions.
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