Home»Blog»Banking»What Is A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) And How To Apply For One?
What Is A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) And How To Apply For One?
19 July 2022
A digital signature certificate, the full form for DSC, is a fundamental requirement for authenticating digital data. Government agencies and other organisations deal with an overwhelming number of digital forms and applications daily. As a result, verifying the identity of the files’ bonafide owners becomes crucial.
Digital signatures provide a secure, authentic and foolproof way to ensure that documents filed electronically are genuine. Continue reading to know more about DSC, its benefits, functionalities and more.
What is a Digital Signature Certificate?
A digital signature certificate or DSC is a secure digital key to verify the identity of the certificate’s owner. The certificate contains its owner’s credentials, such as name, resident country, pin code, email address, the name of the certifying authority and the date of certificate issue.
In other words, the certificate is like an electronic proof of the identity and personal details of the individual holding it. Digital signature certificates use public key infrastructure (PKI) to generate the signatures. PKIs represent the policies, procedures, processes, hardware and software enabling the creation, use and management of digital signatures and encryption.
These digital signatures are like online versions of pen-and-paper signatures that one would ideally use to prove ownership or authenticity of a file or document. You can use your DSC to sign documents digitally or access information and services on the internet.
Importance of DSC for Fulfilling Statutory Compliances
If you’re wondering why you should apply for a digital signature certificate online, take a look at the importance of these certificates for fulfilling statutory compliances:
Account audits – Persons and entities getting their accounts audited must use digital signatures to file income tax returns. Besides, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, mandates the exclusive use of digital signatures for companies filing applications, reports, and other forms.
GST registration – Companies in India require a valid digital signature for GST registration and filing. Under GST, all documents that a company electronically uploads to the online GST portal, including GST registration applications, must be digitally signed for verification.
EPFO claims filing – Employers attesting and forwarding claims online must register their digital signature certificate with the EPFO. It can be done via the Online Transfer Portal (Registration of Digital Signature Certificate) on the EPFO website homepage.
Certifying Authorities for Issuance of a Digital Signature Certificate
The Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) appoints agencies that can issue digital signature certificates. The CCA authorises 12 certification agencies for this purpose. These certifying authorities have a licence to issue a DSC under Section 24 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Below is a list of the certifying authorities that can issue DSCs:
National Informatics Centre (NIC)
National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL)
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)
SafeScrypt CA Services, Sify Communications Ltd.
IDRBT Certifying Authority
(n) Code Solutions CA
Classes of DSC
The type of DSC you apply for depends on your purpose for obtaining a digital signature certificate. Following are the three broad classes of digital signature certificates that certifying authorities issue:
1. Class 1 certificate – The Class 1 digital signature certificates are issued to private subscribers or individuals to confirm that their user name and email address are clearly defined in the certifying authority’s database.
2. Class 2 certificate – Class 2 digital signature certificates were typically issued to directors or signatory authorities of companies e-filing with the Registrar of Companies (ROC). The CCA has discontinued the issue of Class 2 certificates from January 1, 2021, and these have been replaced by Class 3 certificates.
3. Class 3 certificate – A Class 3 DSC certificate is required when participating in online biddings, e-auctions and other online tender transactions in India. Vendors participating in these auctions must file tender-related documents electronically using a Class 3 digital signature certificate.
Components of Digital Signature Certificate
Regardless of the type and purpose, every digital signature certificate has some fundamental components that help secure information and facilitate verification. These components are:
1. A public key to enable the verification process
2. Contact details of the owner, such as the name and the email address
3. The date of issuance of the digital signature certificate
4. The expiration date of the digital signature certificate. The DSC needs to be renewed after the expiry date.
5. The name of the certifying authority of the DSC
6. A unique serial number that helps in tracking
Benefits of a Digital Signature Certificate
Let’s look at some of the key benefits of a digital signature certificate:
1. Preserves data integrity: One of the most significant advantages of having a digital signature certificate online is that it ensures data integrity. Data remains safe and secure since digitally signed documents cannot be altered or modified.
2. Verifies document authenticity: In addition to ensuring that digital data is not tampered with, digital signature certificates assure the receiver that the owner is genuine.
3. Saves time and money: Manually signing hard copies of documents for further processing is time-consuming and requires the signatory to be physically present. Having your digital signature online eliminates these hassles since you can digitally sign PDF documents and share them quickly.
4. Improves the customer experience – Digital signature certificates enable smooth business transactions online. No matter where you are, you can effortlessly engage with your customers and vendors round the clock and offer quick services.
Documents Required for Submitting a DSC Application
When applying for a digital signature certificate online, you must submit relevant documents along with your DSC application form. In addition, these documents must be duly attested by a Group A/Group B gazetted officer.
1. Applicant’s Identity Proof
You can submit any one of the following documents as proof of identification:
Post Office ID card
Photo identity card issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Centre/State Governments
Bank account statement/passbook containing the photograph and signature of the applicant and attested by the concerned bank official
Any photo ID card issued by the government and having the applicant’s name and address
2. Address Proof
The following documents are acceptable as address proof while applying for a DSC:
Electricity bill (not older than three months)
Water bill (not older than three months)
Telephone bill (not older than three months)
Voter ID card
Service tax/sales tax/VAT registration certificate
Bank statements signed by the concerned bank official
Any photo ID card issued by the government and having the applicant’s name and address
3. Attesting Officer’s Identity/Address Proof
A self-attested copy of the identity proof/address proof of the attesting officer is also required.
How to Apply for a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) Online
The following steps will walk you through the step-by-step process of applying for a digital signature certificate online through a certifying authority:
Visit the Official Website of eMudhra
Log in to the website of eMudhra, a certified body that issues digital certificates.
Click on ‘Buy Certificate’
You will be redirected to another page where you have to select user type, certificate type and validity. Once done, click on ‘Buy Certificate’
Make Payment and Get Your DSC Certificate
Enter your details. Follow the 3-step method as illustrated in the below image. Once the payment and other formalities are done, your digital certificate will be approved and ready for download within 30 minutes.
You can approach other certifying authorities to fetch your digital signature certificate. Alternatively, DSCs can also be obtained, wherever offered by CA, using Aadhar eKYC based authentication, and supporting documents are not required in this case.
Certifying authorities typically issue digital signature certificates with one-year and two-year validity. However, digital signature renewal is possible upon the expiration of the validity period. As per the CCA guidelines, renewal of digital signature certificates requires fresh identity verification of the applicant. You can renew your DSC by following the same steps as applying for a DSC.
Holding a DSC certificate allows owners to sign documents digitally. It ensures robust data security and integrity that could otherwise be compromised in pen-and-paper transactions. Digital signature certificates are practical when conducting business online since these digital keys allow the secure verification of the certificate holder’s identity. You can obtain your digital signature certificate from a certifying agency authorised by the CCA.
FAQs on Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
Q1. Who should apply for a digital signature certificate?
Ans:Individuals and entities signing e-forms and digital documents such as filing ITR, registering for GST and participating in online auctions must apply for a digital signature certificate from a Certifying Authority.
Q2. How do I get a certified digital signature?
Ans:You can get a valid digital signature certificate by applying to any of the certifying agencies authorised by the office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Q3. How much does a DSC cost?
Ans:The cost/pricing of digital signature certificates are market-driven and vary with the certifying agency. Payments for DSC are made through demand drafts or cheques at the time of application with the Certifying Authority.
Q4. How long does it take to obtain a digital signature certificate in India?
Ans:Certifying authorities typically take between three to seven business days from the date of application to obtain a digital signature certificate in India.
Q5. Can I hold multiple digital signature certificates?
Ans:Yes, you can hold more than one digital signature certificate, depending on your personal and professional purposes. However, having a Class 3 DSC is sufficient for use across all digital documents.
Before you go…
Looking for instant 🚀 personal loans 24*7 anywhere, anytime? Get personal loans up to ₹20 lakh starting at 9.9% p.a. Install the Navi app now!!
Or, maybe you’re looking to buy that house you’ve been eyeing 🏠 and you need a loan of up to ₹5 crore. Install the Navi app now and get instant in-principle approval right away! Interest rates starting at 8.39% p.a.
How about an affordable health insurance policy👨⚕️ starting at a monthly premium of just ₹235? Install the Navi app now and get your policy in under 2 minutes.
Instead, want to put your savings into action and kick-start your investment journey 💸 But don’t have time to do research. Invest now with Navi Nifty 50 Index Fund, sit back, and earn from the top 50 companies.
Disclaimer: Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme-related documents carefully.
This article has been prepared on the basis of internal data, publicly available information and other sources believed to be reliable. The information contained in this article is for general purposes only and not a complete disclosure of every material fact. It should not be construed as investment advice to any party. The article does not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the information, and disclaims all liabilities, losses and damages arising out of the use of this information. Readers shall be fully liable/responsible for any decision taken on the basis of this article.
10 Best Places to Celebrate New Year 2023 in India
Your PAN could become Invalid from 1 Apr 2023, Act Today!
7 Vijay Kedia Investment Tips You Cannot Ignore!
Cristiano Ronaldo 7 ‘Dark’ Jokes, Football’s Bad Boy
100K+ Laid Off! 7 Ways to Be Financially Prepared for Layoffs
Looking Through SKY: Suryakumar Yadav’s Success Secrets🤫
10 Best Party Places in Bangalore: Rooftop, Brewery, Poolside
10 Best Christmas Gift Ideas Even Santa Wouldn’t Ignore
7 Tax Planning Tips You Cannot Ignore!
Save More! Check Out 10 Best Fuel Credit Cards in India
We are a diverse group of writers, editors and Subject Matter Experts striving to bring the most accurate, authentic and trustworthy finance and finance-related information to our readers. Our mission is to simplify jargon and industry lingo. We believe sharing knowledge through relatable content is a powerful medium to empower, guide and shape the mindset of a billion people of this country.
Best Credit Card Offers in India in 2023
Credit card offers are incentives offered to credit cardholders when they use the cards to make pur...Read More »
Understanding Risk-Weighted Asset (RWA) and its Calculation in Banking
Risk-weighted asset or RWA is a banking term that refers to an asset classification system to deter...Read More »
List of 10 Best Savings Accounts in India
A savings account keeps your money safe, and lets you earn interest every quarter. There are many b...Read More »
What is Credit Appraisal – Eligibility, Benefits & How It is Done?
Ever wondered why loans get approved but also sometimes get rejected? Well, every bank has its own ...Read More »
Debt Trap: Meaning & How to Avoid Falling in It
Piling up debt could bring unnecessary stress. Having multiple loan EMIs and credit card bills to c...Read More »
How to Apply for Debt Consolidation Loans and What are Its Benefits?
If you have multiple loans, taking out a single loan to pay them off is known as a debt conso...Read More »
What is a Bank Identification Number (BIN) and How Does it Help in Preventing Fraud Transactions?
A Bank Identification Number or BIN refers to a credit card's initial four to six digits. The BIN i...Read More »
What is Kiosk Banking, How Does it Work and What Does it Offer?
Banking kiosks or ATMs are available at multiple locations across India – mostly in remote and ru...Read More »
Personal Banking: Services and Products You Should Know
Personal banking refers to the products and services that banks offer to customers to manage their ...Read More »
Know How to Increase CIBIL Score in 11 Smart Ways!
If you are in the process of securing a loan, the first factor that lenders consider is your CIBIL ...Read More »
Promissory Note: What it is, Features, Types and Format
Promissory notes are the go-to instrument used by financial institutions to keep a clear and legall...Read More »
What are Scheduled Banks? How are They Different from Non-Scheduled Banks?
Banks play an essential role in a country’s financial ecosystem. These financial institutions ass...Read More »
Diwali 2022: Diwali Holidays – The Festival of Lights
The ‘Festival of Lights’ is one of the biggest and most anticipated festivals in India. This is...Read More »
Best Index Funds – Top 20 Index Funds in India
Index funds replicate the performance of a stock market index, such as the Sensex or Nifty 50 to ge...Read More »