Digital Signature Certificate Registration - An Overview
A digital signature certificate (DSC) is a secure digital key issued by recognised Certifying Authorities (CAs) to validate the identity of the certificate holder. It contains an individual’s name, digital signature, date of issuance of the certificate and date of expiry, and the name of the CA.
Apart from authenticating the certificate holder’s identity, DSC helps in the following ways:Time-saving and cost-saving:
Digital signatures ensure a smoother workflow in an organization by limiting the time and cost spent on signing documents and contracts. Documents can be signed by the required persons in a click of a button. This is especially useful when the signer is located in a different area and there is no dependency for him/her to be physically present.Enhanced security:
Added security features in DSC prevents unauthorised use of your document and data. No one can fake your signature, tamper the data or alter your document. DSC ensures your signature is valid, verified and legitimate.Legal validity:
According to the Information Technology Act, 2000, a DSC is accepted evidence in any court of law similar to the acceptance of any signed document.Global acceptance:
Apart from government bodies like GST, MCA, Income Tax, etc., a DSC is being accepted in all the countries across the world as it offers greater security. DSC is important for companies looking to take part in government tenders.
Types of Digital Signature Certificate
There are three classes of DSC - Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 used for different purposes based on the type of entity and need.Class 1:
Class 1 certificate is issued to both businesses and individuals, or private subscribers, to confirm the user’s name and email id as mentioned in the consumer database. This is just a basic assurance and is usually not considered to be of major significance.Class 2:
Similar to Class 1, Class 2 certificate is issued to both the entities - businesses and private subscribers for confirmation of information in the database. It is used during monetary transactions or to access one’s personal information, and for other transactions, where there is a substantial risk of malicious activity. Also, Class 2 is used to file various government forms in India.Class 3:
Class 3 certificate is an upgraded version of Class 2. It is issued to individuals and organisations that want to participate in bidding for government tenders or online tenders and auctions. Sometimes the applicants may be expected to be physically present before the CAs to receive a Class 3 certificate. Class 3 signatures are relevant to environments that are prone to data theft, fraudulence and failure of security.How DSCs Work?
A DSC is created based on the PKI mechanism where two keys - a public key and private key are generated. The private key is kept by the signer and the public key is required by the receiver to decrypt the information regarding the identity of the user during information exchange. The user can store the private key on a computer or hard disk as a token and access it with his/her respective password issued.
During the transfer of information, both the keys are used by the browser and the server to encrypt and decrypt information, to authorise the identity of the user. The public key is disseminated with the encrypted information. The authentication process fails even if one of the keys does not match. Hence the encrypted data cannot be decrypted making it impossible for unauthorised access.
Documents requiredIndian Individuals looking to obtain DSC must submit:
- ID proof: Passport/Driving license or any Photo Identity issued by the Govt
- PAN card
- Address proof: Aadhaar card/Voter ID/Driving license/Registration Certificate
- Attesting Officer proof
- Organizational PAN
- Partnership deed, if applicable
- List of Authorised Signatories which could be the list of Directors, Board resolution, etc.
- Authorised Signatory ID proof
- GST certificate
For Indian companies, the documents may differ depending upon the type of entity like Partnership, Proprietorship or sole ownership, LLP, etc.Foreign individuals and organizations looking to obtain DSC must submit:
- Attested copy of applicant’s passport
- Attested copy of Visa, if the applicant is out of their native country
- Attested copy of Resident Permit certificate, if the applicant is in India
- Attested copy of any Govt-issued address proof
Authorisation letter must be sought with the respective company seal and signature.
At Efillings, our professionals will help you get your DSC in just three simple steps:Step 1: Collect basic details
We will collect basic details like Name, Gender, Address, Nationality, Country, Email Id, Mobile number, and the usage type of DSC you are applying for. It could be for company incorporation, MCA e-filing, IT filing, GST filing, Foreign trade, e-Tenders or personal use. Accordingly, we will guide you in selecting the right class.Step 2: Submission of supporting documents
All the necessary documents like PAN card, address proof, passport, etc. with relevant attestation will be collected.Step 3: Documents Validation
Once the payment is made and the information is verified against the PAN card as in the Income Tax portal, we will validate your documents in two ways:
Video recording: You will receive a video link to your registered mobile number and email address, where you need to record your personal information like name, DOB, etc. and send it to us.
SMS: You will then receive an SMS with the DSC application ID and a mobile number to which you need to reply with your DSC application ID, name, mobile number and email ID.
Upon successful verification we will dispatch your Digital Signature Certificate USB token, which is a password-protected physical device containing your digital signature. A USB token also called e-token, dongle or digital signature has a special built-in software that recognises and opens your digital signature.
FAQ's on Digital Signature Registration
What is the validity of a DSC?
A Digital signature certificate is valid for 1 to 2 years from the time of issuance. Every signature has the start date and end date. If your DSC expires you can apply again for a digital signature online.
Who is a Digital Certifying Authority?
According to the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000, any person or entity which has been granted the license to issue a Digital Signature Certificate is recognised as a Digital Certifying Authority or CA. Before issuing license to a prospective CA, the Controller of Certifying Authorities, Ministry of IT, will first audit the establishment and then ensure compliance requirements are satisfactory, and finally grants the license.
Who is a Registration Authority (RA)?
RAs are the agents of the CAs who collect and verify the information and the requisite documents from the applicant. RAs will then decide to approve or reject a DSC application request.