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Demystifying Digital Signature Certificates (DSC): Importance, Types, and Application Process

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is a specialized form of digital certificate issued by licensed Certifying Authorities (CAs) in India, adhering to the Information Technology Act, 2000. Governed by the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), DSCs serve as legally recognized digital signatures, ensuring the authenticity, integrity, and security of electronic transactions and documents within the country.

Types and Usage of DSCs

DSCs are categorized into different classes, with Class 2 and Class 3 being prominent. Class 2 DSCs verify individuals against a trusted database, while Class 3 DSCs require in-person verification by a Registration Authority (RA). Although Class 1 DSCs only validate the name and email address, they are no longer available as of 2021. DSCs find extensive application in electronic transactions, including filing tax returns, GST submissions, digital document signing during company incorporation, online tendering, and various financial activities.

Application Process for DSCs

  1. Visit a licensed Certifying Authority’s website, available at
  2. Navigate to the Digital Certification Services section and choose the ‘organization’ option.
  3. Download the registration form, providing details such as Class of DSC (Class 3), applicant information, address, GST details, identity proofs, and a signed declaration.
  4. Prepare a demand draft (DD) or cheque payable to the local certifying authority.
  5. Submit the application along with the payment to the authority; DSC is typically issued within around five days.

Cost and Validity

The cost of a DSC varies, ranging from approximately Rs 300 to Rs 2,000, depending on the certifying authority and the validity period, which can be one or two years.


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