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Digital Signatures certificate (DSC) is a digital certificate establishes the identity of the holder. A digital signature is a type of asymmetric cryptography used to simulate the security properties of a handwritten signature on paper. It is like a PAN card or a passport and enables the holder to prove his identity. 

Usage:Class 3 DSC is issued by a Certifying Authority (CA) after thorough verification of the user’s identity and provides higher level of assurance to the relying party (generally the receiver of such digitally signed document). Class 3 DSC IS used for filing electronic documents and electronic submissions of tenders and auctions, e-bidding, e-auctioning, Patents Filing , logos Filing and for Registrar of corporations E-filing, VAT return e-filing, TDS return  E-filing,  Income tax E-filing, sign a word or PDF and more.

There are different types of SCs DSCs. Class 3 DSCs are with the highest level of cryptographic security requirements and can be issued in the name of individuals as well as companies / organisations.

Assurance Level: This certificate can be issued to individuals as well as organizations. As these are high assurance certificates, primarily intended for e-commerce applications, they shall be issued to individuals only on their personal (physical) appearance before the Certifying Authorities.

Type of Certificates

  • Sign – Sign DSC can only be used for signing documents. The most popular usage of is signing the PDF file for Tax Returns, MCA and other websites. Signing via DSC gives the assurance of not only the integrity of the signer but also the data. It is proof of untampered and unaltered data.
  • Encrypt – Encrypt DSC can only be used to encrypt a document it is popularly used in the tender portal, to help companies encrypt the documents and upload. You could also use the certificate to encrypt and send classified information. Encrypt DSC is fit for e-commerce documents, legal documentation and sharing documents that are highly confidential and contains information that needs to be protected.
  • Sign & Encrypt – Sign & Encrypt DSC can be used for both signing and encrypting. It is convenient for users who need to authenticate and maintain the confidentiality of the information shared. Its usage includes filing government form and application.

Validity of the Certificate: The certificates can be bought with a validity upto three years. The validity is controlled by law, and one cannot buy certificates more than three years and less than One year validity. 

Process for issuing DSC: The certificates can be issued to both an individual and an organization (Indian and Foreign). 

Class 3 DSC can be given to Foreign National after accommodation of required documents and by following appropriate validation. Digital Signature for Foreign Organization can be given to any representative who is residing in India and working for the concerned association. Citizens of different nations or their organizations, as well as Indian nationals abroad, can apply for a digital signature to securely transact in the nation.

Documents required for DSC

For Indian

1. Application Form – Duly Filled, Signed and applicant photo with across signature of applicant.

2. Authorization Letter from Organization.

3. Proof of identification – The following documents are accepted as a proof of identification:

  • Passport
  • PAN Card of the applicant
  • Driving License
  • Photo ID card issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of Centre/State Governments
  • Any Government-issued photo ID card bearing the signature of the applicant

4. Proof of Address – The following documents can be submitted as a proof of address:

  • AADHAAR Card
  • Voter ID Card
  • Driving License (DL)/Registration Certificate (RC)
  • Water Bill (Not older than 3 Months).
  • Electricity Bill (Not older than 3 Months)

5. Attestation of all Supporting Documents, Application Form. 

For Foreign National

1. Application Form – Duly Filled, Signed and applicant photo with across signature of applicant.

2. Authorization Letter from Organization.

3. Proof of Identity (All given below)

  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of VISA (If applicants are not living in their native country)
  • Copy of Resident Permit Certificate (if applicant is presently in India)

Note: Attested copy of PAN is mandatory if applicant has a PAN.

4. Proof of Address (Choose from options below)

  • Copy of passport (with address included).
  • Copy of any other Government/Bank issued documents.

5. Attestation of all Supporting Documents, Application Form.

Procedure for obtaining DSCs

A person can obtain DSC by applying to any Indian Certifying Authority (CA) authorized vendors to the certifying authority like eMudra at on a payment of some prescribed fees. The vendors further provide general or customer-oriented information regarding obtaining a DSC.

Licensed CA issues the digital signature. CA means the authority that has been granted a license to issue a digital signature certificate under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000. The vendors like e-Mudhra ( , TCS ( , Sify, MTNL, nCode ( provides  DSC’s for bidders. The time taken by Certifying Authorities to issue a DSC may vary from three to seven days.


Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc before acting on the basis of the above write up.  The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that Author / TaxGuru is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof. This is not any kind of advertisement or solicitation of work by a professional.

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One Comment

  1. sandeep says:

    This is a very informative and well-written article about digital signature certificates. It explains what they are, why they are necessary, the different types of DSCs, and how they work. The article also provides useful information about the advantages of using DSCs and the methods of obtaining them. Overall, this article is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about digital signature certificates and their importance in digital transactions.

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April 2024