In this post, we will let you know how to get a digital signature certificate in India.

You will learn the step-by-step process to get a digital signature certificate (DSC) quickly.

Let’s get started:

What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate is issued by the certifying authorities in India for the purpose of verifying and authenticating the identity of the individual holding the certificate. DSC is a secured digital key use for various online business transactions.

DSC contains the certificate holder’s name, pin code and country, email address, the date on which it was issued, and the digital certificate providers’ name (authority). A digital signature is required while filing income tax, e-tenders, company filings, etc.

Notably, it is issued for 1 or 2 years and has to be renewed after their validity is expired. Also, an individual can have two DSCs – for the personal and professional purpose each. And all digitally signed documents are acceptable as proof or evidence for legal purpose.

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How many types of digital signature certificates?

There are three types of certificates –  sign, encrypt, sign & encrypt:

  • Sign DSC – Sign DSC provides the credibility of untampered and unaltered data safeguarding the integrity of both signer and the data. The usage of sign DSC is restricted to signing documents and majorly used for signing PDF file for Tax returns, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and other websites.
  • Encrypt DSC – Encrypt DSC can be used to code & share classified information. It is majorly used in the tender portal to help the companies to code and upload the document. It is most suited for online portal documents, legal documents, and other confidential documents.
  • Sign & Encrypt DSC – It has a dual-use of both signing and encrypting the document. It is generally used for filing government forms and application.
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What are the Benefits of Digital Signature Certificate?

DSCs are helpful in validating personal details of the certificate holder when he conducts business online. The following are the benefits of DSC:

  • Reduced Time & Cost: The certificate holder is no more required to sign the physical documents and later scan them to send via e-mail. He can simply digital sign the PDF which saves time and cost. In addition, there is no need for the certificate holder to be physically present to conduct business.
  • Data Integrity: A document cannot be changed or altered once it is digitally signed. So, the data is secured.
  • Authenticity of Documents: Since the digitally signed documents cannot be changed, the receiver of documents is assured of their authenticity.
  • Environmental friendly process: paperless process indirectly saves trees and also make various stakeholders involved in business understand sustainable development.

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Who can Authorize DSC?

Digital Signature Certificate is issued by a licensed certifying authority. Certifying Authority can issue a DSC under section 24 of the Indian IT Act 2000.

EMudhra is authorized by the Controller of Certifying Authority for authorizing DSCs in India. The other authorized authorities include the National Informatics Centre, Code Solutions, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology, and Safescrypt.

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What are the Classes of DSC?

The DSC classes are dependent on the type of applicant and the purpose for which DSC is obtained. There are three types of Digital Signature Certificate issued by the authority in India:

  • Class 1 DSC: The class 1 digital signature certificate is issued to individual and private subscribers. These are used to confirm the names and e-mail contact details of the certificate holder.
  • Class 2 DSC: The class 2 digital signature certificate is issued to the companies for the purpose of e-filing with the ROC (Registrar of Companies). Notably, DSC class 2 is mandatory to obtain for individuals who have to sign manual documents while filing returns with Registrar of Companies.
  • Class 3 DSC: The class 3 digital signature certificate is issued to vendors who participate in online tenders and e-auction.
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How to Apply for Digital Signature Certificate?

Follow the following steps to obtain a digital signature certificate online:

  1. Submit duly filled digital signature certificate subscription form to the issuing authority.
  2. Produce photo ID proof of the applicant along with the address proof.
  3. Upon submitting all the required documents, you will be allotted digital signature certificate.

What is the cost of getting a Digital Signature Certificate?

The cost of the certificates varies as per the different certificate providers. One can check the rates from these certificate providers, given on their respective websites. The range of the costing is between Rs 900 to Rs 6000 depending upon the type of class, duration, and certificate the applicant need.

What is the validity of the certificate?

The validity of the DSC is generally 1 year, 2 years or may extend up to 3 years and the same can be renewed on the expiry of the period for which the certificate was issued. The validity cannot be less than 1 year.

What is the statutory compliance of DSC?

DSC is governed by the Information Technology Act (2000), which levy penalties who do not adhere to the compliance of the DSC. The punishment for misrepresentation or suppression of facts while obtaining the certificate leads to the imprisonment of the applicant for a year which can extend up to 2 years or a fine which may extend up to Rs 100,000

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