Must Knows

Digital Signature Certificate (DSC): All you need to know

[] A DSC or a Digital Signature Certificate allows you to digitally sign files. Read on to know more about DSC benefits, and how to apply for a Digital Signature Certificate.

DSC, the full form of which is a Digital Signature Certificate, is a secure digital key issued by the certifying authority to verify and certify the identity of the person holding the certificate. Public-key encryption is used to create digital signatures. The information contained in a digital signature certificate (DSC) includes the user’s name, pin code, country, email address, date of certificate issuance, and authority issuing the certificate.

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Digital Signature Certificate: Importance

Individuals and entities who want their accounts audited are required to use a digital signature when filing their income tax returns. Further, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has mandated that all reports, applications, and forms must be signed with a digital signature.

Similarly, a company can only get registered under GST if its GST application is verified using a digital signature. Digital signatures are required even for filing applications, amendments, and other related forms.

Digital Signature Certificate: Classes

Depending on the type of applicant and the purpose of obtaining a Digital Signature Certificate, a person must apply for a specific type of DSC. The certifying authorities issue three types of Digital Signature Certificates.

Class 1 Certificates

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Individual/private subscribers receive these, and they are used to confirm that their name and email address are within the certification authority’s database.

Class 2 Certificates

For the purpose of e-filing with the Registrar of Companies (ROC), these are issued to the company’s director or signatory. The ROC requires that individuals who have to sign manual documents file returns with a Class 2 certificate. A Class 3 Certificate, however, will be issued in place of Class 2 Certificates as of 01.01.2021. 

Class 3 Certificates

Across India, these certificates are used for online participation/bidding in e-auctions and online tenders. Vendors must possess a Class 3 digital signature certificate to participate in the online tenders.

Digital Signature Certificate: Documents required to submit an application

  • The applicant must submit a duly completed DSC application form
  • Identification proof with a photo
  • Proof of address

Digital Signature Certificate: Benefits


When conducting business online, DSC is useful for authenticating the personal information of the holder.

Time and cost-efficient

Rather than signing hard copies and scanning them to send via email, you can digitally sign PDF files and send them much faster. It is not necessary for the holder of a Digital Signature certificate to be physically present to conduct business.

Immutable data

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The data on documents that are signed digitally cannot be altered or edited after they have been signed, so they are safe and secure. These certificates are often requested by government agencies to cross-check and verify business transactions.

Ensures the authenticity of the documents

When a document is digitally signed, the receiver has the assurance that the signer is genuine. In such cases, they do not have to worry about forged documents preventing them from taking action.

Digital Signature Certificate: Certifying Authorities for Issuance

According to the Controller of Certifying Authority of India, eMudhra is one of the certifying authorities for the issuance of Digital Signature Certificates. Code Solutions, National Informatics Centre, Safescrypt, and Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology are other certifying authorities.

Digital Signature Certificate: How to obtain it?

  • Applicants can go to the certifying authorities with original documents and their self-attested copies.
  • A DSC can also be obtained through the eKYC authentication by a certifying authority.  
  • A bank certificate having the applicant’s information is also acceptable. Note that the certificate must be certified by the manager of the bank.

Digital Signature Certificate: Pricing

It includes the price for a medium (usually a USB), the price of issuance of DSC, and the cost of renewal after the period of validity. 

Digital Signature Certificate: Validity 

DSCs are generally issued with either either one-year or 2-year validity. They can be renewed after expiration of the period of the issue (initial). 

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Category: Must Knows

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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