How to Get a Digital Signature Certificate in India: Process, Price, Getting One Free, and Other Questions Answered

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A digital signature is a way to identify yourself online. Just like passports, driver’s licenses, and PAN cards allow you to prove your identity offline, digital signatures allow you to prove your identity online. To do this, you need a digital signature certificate that allows you to digitally sign documents. If you are wondering how to obtain a digital signature certificate, what it is or why you need it, you are in the right place. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about digital signature certificates.

Is the digital signature the same as an electronic signature?
No, a digital signature is different. Electronic signatures are not encrypted and can be as simple as emailing an “I agree” to tell your CA or fund manager. Digital signatures must be encrypted and contain information about your identity, and these can be used to access sensitive personal information such as your account on the Income Tax Department website.

Where can I use a digital signature certificate?

A digital signature certificate is quite useful in India as digitally signed documents are accepted by various government agencies and are also admissible in a court of law. You can use digital signature certificates for electronic filing of your income tax returns, for electronic filing of the Business Register, online auctions (such as electronic tenders), and for signing documents such as PDF.

If you have a digital signature certificate, you do not need to send signed hard copies of the documents. This will save you a lot of time, not to mention the effort it takes to sign multiple documents. Thanks to the encryption used in these certificates, you can also be sure that the person or company receiving the documents knows that these documents are authentic.

What are the different classes of digital signature certificate?

There are three classes of digital signature certificate and their functions are as follows:

  • Class 1: People’s name and email address can be verified. This should not be used by companies.
  • Class 2: A Class 2 digital signature certificate verifies the identity of a person against a trusted and previously verified database. This is what companies or trusts need to file their tax returns.
  • Class 3 – This is the highest and most secure digital signature certificate available in India. To obtain this, a person must appear before a registration authority to prove their identity. This category is necessary for those who want to participate in online auctions or tenders.

How can I get a digital signature certificate in India?

the Certification Authorities Controller (CCA) under the Ministry of Electronics and IT it has authorized certain certification authorities to issue digital signature certificates. You can find the complete list of authorized certification authorities in the CCA website. There are different classes of digital signature certificates and not all authorized certificate authorities can issue all of them. As of May 2018, the various types of digital signature certificates offered by various licensed certificate authorities are as follows.

Dsc india licensed vendor digital signature certificate

Services offered by authorized certifying authorities. Source

How long is a digital signature certificate valid?
There are different types of digital signature certificates available and when obtaining one you can also choose the duration of validity. At the moment, you can purchase digital signature certificates that are valid for up to three years, with a minimum duration of one year.

How much does it cost to obtain a digital signature certificate?

Certification authorities in India do not usually sell Class 1 certificates. The reason may be because Class 2 and 3 certificates are used more frequently on government portals and Class 1 does not authenticate anything except your name and address. of e-mail. Prices for digital signature certificates vary from provider to provider and you can check the rates with each of them yourself. We check it Emudhra and their site offers digital signature certificates of Rs. 899 to Rs. 5,999 depending on the class, duration and type of certificate you need.

Does anyone offer a free digital signature certificate in India?

If you are willing to buy a USB token to store your digital signature certificate (for around 750 rupees), you can even get the certificate for free through sites like Free DSC.

What are the necessary documents to obtain a digital signature certificate?
For class 2 and class 3 digital signature certificates, the required documents are certified copies proof of identity and proof of address. You will need to obtain these documents witnessed by an official officer or a bank manager. Proof of identity includes documents such as passport, PAN card, driver’s license, or other government-issued IDs. You can verify this with your certificate authority for confirmation.

Proof of address includes documents like last phone bill, electric bill or water bill, or voter identification card, passport, etc. These documents vary for companies and once again it is best to check with the certifying authorities before proceeding.

How long does it take to get a digital signature certificate in India?
Most certificate authorities take three to seven business days to issue a digital signature certificate in India.

Where do I keep my digital signature certificate?
Digital signature certificates are electronic copies that you can store on your computer. Alternatively, you can buy a USB token to store these certificates, which is considered more secure. Please note that if you delete this certificate or lose the USB token, there is no way to get it back. You will have to revoke that digital signature certificate and request a new one.

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