Digital Signature Certificate: A Quick Study

Last Updated at: Jan 22, 2021
Employees provident Fund Organisation has further simplified compliance for employees by requiring them to use emails to receive digital signatures during times when they are experiencing difficulty in accessing digital or Aadhaar enabled e-sign.

1. What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate is an e-document that validates the identity of an individual or an organization. Using a digital signature, the certificate binds the identity of an individual or an organization (using the name, email ID, pin code, location, issuing authority date of issuance) with a public key. Every time a DSC is in usage, the public key verifies identity.

How Digital Signature works_

DSCs are issued by legally-empowered licensed Certifying Authority (CA), who is legally empowered to do so. When one applies for a DSC, it is the CA that assesses and approves each application and issues the DSC.

2. What are the different types of DSCs?

The different types of Digital Signature Certificates are based on their application and their environment of usage. They are as follows;

  • Individual Digital Signature Certificates (Signing Certificates)
  • Server Certificates 
  • Encryption Certificates

Reach the following link to know about Class 3 Digital Signature

3. What are the advantages of a digital signature?

Digital signatures ensure documents are signed and signatures are approved electronically. The advantages are as follows;

    1. Saves time
    2. Cost-effective
    3. Workflow efficiency
    4. Better customer experience
    5. Security
    6. Legal validity
    7. Future validity
    8. Environmental benefits
    9. Business efficiency

Apply For Digital Signature

4. How do I create a DSC?

A DSC can be availed either by approaching the Certifying Authority directly or online through third-party service providers like Vakilsearch. All the original documents and self-attested copies are required. The DSC applicant has to undergo eKYC authentication process as well. The authorities accept the certified documents of the applicant, issued by the bank authorities, which contains the applicants’ information as recorded in the bank’s database. Usually, it takes 3 to 7 working days to issue a DSC.

5. What is the process of acquiring a digital signature certificate?

Step 1: Log in to the Portal 

Choose from any of the 9 Certifying Authorities (CAs) that issue DSC and select the type of entity under which you want the DSC. It may be for an individual or an organization or any other class of person.

  2. (n) Code Solutions CA
  3. SafeScrypt CA Services, Sify Communications Ltd
  4. IDRBT Certifying Authority
  5. National Informatics Center (NIC)
  6. CDAC
  7. NSDL
  8. Capricorn
  9. Verasys

Step 2: Fill the form with the following information

  • Applicant name
  • Validity of DSC
  • Document for identity proof
  • Contact details
  • Type of DSC opted
  • Document for Address Proof
  • Class of DSC
  • Residential Address
  • GST Number & Identity Details

You will then be required to submit a signed declaration form, with a recent photograph. As we as attested copies of address and ID proof. You will also be required to furnish details of the attesting officer.

Step 3: Attestation of documents

Attest the documents for address and identity proof by a legally recognized officer.    

Step 4: Payment: 

Payment should be made in the form of a demand draft or a cheque addressed to the respective Certifying Authority where the online digital signature certificate is applied for.

6. Where are digital signatures used?

1. To sign electronic emails or documents (PDF, Ms-word, etc).

2. To identify individuals and encrypt the information sent.

3. To identify organizations and encrypt the information sent.

4. Secure transmission of communications, via server certificates, for secure online transactions

5. For filing online applications (company registration, income tax filings, etc.).

7. How can I check my digital signature online?

1. On your computer, open the file that contains the digital signature. 

2. A dialog box will appear, with the option to view the file.

3. Click on ‘File’, from the top menu, and then the ‘Info’ option. Under it, you will see the option to ‘View Signatures’.

4. Click on it to see the list of signatures in the system. Select the signature of your choice, and click on the arrow below it to see the option – ‘Signature Details’.

5. Click on it, and a box will appear with the following information on the selected signature; Valid, Invalid, Recoverable error, and partial signature. 

8. What is the difference between an electronic and a digital signature?

An electronic signature is merely an electronic copy of a physical signature through which the signatory indicates his/her acceptance to the terms mentioned in the document he/she signs. However, there is no authority or credibility for an electronic signature.   

A digital signature, on the other hand, is issued by a certifying authority who is legally empowered to do so. It can be used to verify the identity of the signatory and secure a document as well.