Digital Certificate is the digital format of physical or paper certificates like passports, drivers’ licenses or membership cards. Similarly, a digital Signature Certificate is an electronically created certificate that provides one’s identity, to sign the needed documents digitally or to access services or information on the cyberspace.
A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) holds information about the user’s name, country, pin code, email address, date of birth of the individual and the name of the authority who issued the certificate. The digital signature Certificate can be issued by any licensed Certifying Authority (CA) under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.
Here are the requirements needed to apply for a digital signature certificate
- Filled DSC Application form – the person who is applying for a Digital Signature Certificate is required to fill the online application form for submission.
- Photo for Identity proof
- Address proof
To get the digital signature certificate, the person has to fill the online Application form in the website of the Certifying Authority or Just follow the steps:
Step 1: Log on to the website of the certifying Authority
Log in to the website and choose the type of entity. The website of a Certifying Authority in which you are applying should have the license to issue Digital Certificates in India. Land on the page where you have the option for Digital Certification Services and click on the type of entity in which you want to apply DSC. Here you have to select individual or organization or etc. depending on your requirement. For example, if you want to obtain Individual DSC, select ‘Individual’ option.
Step 2: Fill all the required details
After downloading the form, fill in all the needed details asked in the form like,
- Class of the Digital Signature Certificate
- Type of DSC such as Only Sign or Sign & Encrypt
- Name & Contact Details of the applicant
- Residential Address of the Applicant
- Document as proof of identity
- Document as proof of address
- GST Number & Identity Details
- Attestation Officer
- Payment Details
On filling up the form, you have to affix your recent photograph and sign under the declaration. Check thoroughly after filling the form and also it is safe to take a copy of the completed form and uphold it.
Step 3: Proof of identity and address
The proof of identity and address documents must be attested by an attesting officer. The sign and seal of the attesting officer must be clear on the documents.
Step 4: Payment for Digital Signature Certificate
A demand draft or cheque in the name of the Local Registration Authority where you are applying for DSC should have been made.
By completing the above-mentioned steps and by providing all needed documents and payment, you have completed the application process for DSC or Digital Signature Certificate successfully.
Step 5: Mail to Local Registration Authority
After payment mail the following documents to Local Registration Authority
- Appropriately filled DSC Registration form
- Cheque / Demand Draft for payment
Benefits of a digital signature certificate
Digital Signature Certificates or DSC are helpful in certifying the personal information of the person when conducting a business online. There are many benefits in obtaining a DSC if you are in the business field; few of them are as follows
Reduced cost and time: It is really a time consuming work to sign all the hard copies of documents, and scanning them to send those documents to the concerned place or person but with DSC you can digitally sign the PDF files and mail them in no-time.
The person having Digital Signature certificate no need to be present physically to sign the documents and that helps the person to concentrate on multiple businesses.
Data integrity: DSC is very safe and secure as nobody can alter or edit after signing. The government agencies frequently ask for these certificates to verify the business transaction.
Legitimacy of documents: Documents that are digitally signed provides confidence to the receiver as it assures the signer’s authenticity. On the basis of such documents, the receiver doesn’t have to worry about the documents being forged.
Classes of DSC
There are three different types of Digital Signature certificates issued in India, they are
- Class 1 Certificates: This DSC is issued to private subscribers or individual. This type of DSC is issued after verifying the complete personal details of the person like user’s name and email contact details. The person has to submit all the required supporting documents to obtain the Class 1 DSC Certificate.
- Class 2 Certificates: These types of certificates are issued to the signatory authorities or directors of the companies. A class 2 certificate is compulsory for individuals who have to sign many manual documents or person dealing with one or more business. And it is mandatory while filing of returns with the Registration of Companies.
- Class 3 Certificates: These certificates are issued for online bidders and online tenders anywhere in India.