Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) | Online, Application Form, Fee, Validity, Providers



Digital Signature Certificate (DSC): Digital Signature Certificate is an electronic format of a paper certificate or a physical document. It is also termed as DSC. There are many examples in real life that have digital signatures such as Driver's licences, passports, PAN cards, etc. These certificates work as proof of the identity of citizens of India. More details are available on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs' official website.

The digital signature certificate is issued by a licensed Certifying authority of the area or city, under the act of Indian IT-Act 2000. Depending on the availability of documents, applicants can apply for DSC. Digital Signatures are legally admissible in a Court of Law, as provided under the provisions of IT Act, 2000. The certificate is usually issued within 7 working days after the verification procedure is completed. A digital signature is usually valid for one to two years, post which it has to be renewed.

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DSC is an official document that can be used for signing various other documents. It can be used for filing income tax returns, e-tenders, etc. There are different classes under which an applicant can apply for DSC based on the requirements. These classes are Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. All these classes we are going to discuss in the article.

How to Apply for Digital Signature Certificate?

There are three ways to apply for a digital signature certificate:

  1. To apply for a digital signature certificate (DSC), applicants can directly reach Certifying Authorities (CAs) along with original documents and a copy of all the documents self-attested by them.
  2. Also, based on authentication, using Aadhaar eKYC, wherever offered by certifying authorities, DSC can be obtained, without supporting documents
  3. Applicants can get a letter/certificate from a bank, including all the applicant's information as per the bank database. It shall be accepted by CA, certified by a bank manager.

Digital Signature Certificate Application Form

The digital signature certificate application form will include the following details, which has to be filled by the applicants:

  • Class of the DSC
  • Validity
  • Type: Only Sign or Sign & Encrypt
  • Applicant Name & Contact Details
  • Residential Address
  • GST Number & Identity Details of Proof Documents
  • Declaration
  • Document as proof of identity
  • Document as proof of address
  • Attestation Officer
  • Payment Details

After completing the above details, applicants have to affix a photograph in the form.

Supporting Documents for Digital Signature Certificate

The supporting or required documents to be submitted along with the DSC application form by the applicants are:

  • Identity Proof (PAN card/Aadhaar Card/Driving License/Voter Id/Bank Passbook etc.)
  • Address Proof/Residential Proof

A copy of supporting documents should be submitted attested by the gazetted officer.

Digital Signature Certificate Application Fee

  • A nominal charge for the application fee in the name of Local Registration Authority should be paid, through Demand draft or cheque, where the application form for verification will be submitted.
  • The address of the Local Registration Authority as per your city can be found by searching for CA who is licensed to issue the Digital certificates online.

Digital Signature Certificate Validity

The digital signature documents are usually valid for one to two years. They are required to be renewed over the period of expiration.

Digital Signature Certificate Update Online

To update the digital signature certificate online, follow the below procedures:

  • Candidates have to log in with existing user ID
  • Click on Change DSC details
  • Fill the required changes
  • Click on Change/Modify DSC

Digital Signature Certificate Format

The format of any digital certificate will contain the following information:

  • Serial Number: It is a unique number to uniquely identify the document
  • Subject Name: Identified Person or entity
  • Signature Algorithm: Algorithm that is used to create the signature.
  • Signature: Actual signature of the issuer for verification
  • Issuer Name: Who verified the information and issued the DSC certificate.
  • Valid-From: Date since the DSC is valid.
  • Valid-To: Expiration date till the DSC is valid
  • Key-Usage: Purpose of the public key (e.g. signature, certificate signing).
  • Public Key: A key pair for encryption and decryption of information associated with it.
  • Thumbprint Algorithm: Algorithm used to hash the public key.
  • Thumbprint: The hash itself, used as an abbreviated form of the public key.

Digital Signature Certificate Classes

The digital certificate is based on different classes for which applicants are applying.

  • Class 1: It is used to verify the name and email address of the individual. It is not certified for companies.
  • Class 2: It is a certificate that identifies a person based on a pre-verified trusted base. It can be used by companies or individuals for filing tax returns.
  • Class 3: These Digital Signature Certificates are required by the companies or individuals, who are participating in online auctions or tenders. This DSC is the most secure one. Applicants have to be present in front of the registration authority to obtain such DSCs.

About Certifying Authority

Under the provisions of IT Act, 2000, the office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) appoints Certification Agencies. To issue Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs), there are a total of 8 Certification Agencies. They are:

  • National Informatics Center (NIC)
  • IDRBT Certifying Authority
  • SafeScrypt CA Services, Sify Communications Ltd.
  • (n) Code Solutions CA
  • E-MUDHRA
  • CDAC
  • NSDL
  • Capricorn
  • Pantasign
  • IDSIGN

FAQ's on Digital Signature Certificate

Question 1.
What are Digital Signature Certificates?

Answer:
Digital Signature Certificate is an electronic format of a paper certificate or a physical document. It can be used to file tax returns. A digital signature is an electronic signature that can be used by someone to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message or of the signer of a document.

Question 2.
Who issues Digital Signature Certificates?

Answer:
Digital Signature Certificates are issued by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA) in your area or city, under the section of Indian IT-Act 2000.

Question 3.
How to get a Digital Signature Certificate?

Answer:
To get a Digital Signature Certificate, applicants have to submit the duly filled application form to the nearby Certifying Authority, who is licensed to issue the digital certificates. Submit the supporting documents such as ID proof and address proof along with application form. Pay the application fee as per mentioned by the authority.

Question 4.
What documents are required to apply for a Digital Signature Certificate?

Answer:
The two mandatory documents required to apply for DSC are:

  • Identity Proof (PAN card/Aadhaar Card/Driving License/Voter Id/Bank Passbook etc.)
  • Address Proof/Residential Proof

Question 5.
What is the need for a Digital Signature Certificate?

Answer:
Digital Signature Certificates are digital forms of physical certificates or ID proofs, that are signed digitally.

Question 6.
How to update digital signature certificates online?

Answer:
To update the digital signature certificate online, follow the below procedures:

Candidates have to login with an existing user ID

Click on Change DSC details

Fill the required changes

Click on Change/Modify DSC

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