Digital signature is a method of online identification. Just like passports, driving licenses and PAN cards allow you to verify your identity offline, digital signatures also allow you to verify your identity online. To do this, you need a digital signature certificate, and you can use digital signature documents. If you want to know how to get a digital signature certificate, what it is, or even why you need it, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about digital signature certificates.
Is digital signature the same as electronic signature?
No, digital signatures are different. The electronic signature is unencrypted, just as simple as you send “I accept” via email to indicate your CA or fund manager. Digital signatures need to be encrypted and contain information about your identity, and these digital signatures can be used to access sensitive personal information, such as your account on the Income Tax Bureau website.
Where can I use a digital signature certificate?
Digital signature certificates are very useful in India because digitally signed documents have been accepted by various government agencies and are also acceptable in courts. You can use digital signature certificates to electronically file your income tax returns, electronic filing at the company registry, online auctions (such as e-bidding), and signing documents (such as PDF).
If you have a digital signature certificate, you do not have to send a paper copy of the signed document. This will save you a lot of time, not to mention the work required to sign multiple documents. Since encryption is used in these certificates, you can also ensure that the person or company receiving the files knows that the files are authentic.
What are the different categories of digital signature certificates?
Digital signature certificates are divided into three categories, and their functions are as follows:
- Type 1: You can verify the name and email address of an individual. Companies must not use this feature.
- Type 2: The second type of digital signature certificate verifies the identity of a person based on a pre-verified trusted database. This is required for companies or trust institutions to submit tax returns.
- Category 3: This is the highest and most secure digital signature certificate available in India. For this, a person needs to show his identity in front of the registration authority to prove his identity. People who want to participate in online auctions or bidding need this category.
How do I obtain a digital signature certificate in India?
The Head of Certification Authority (CCA) of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has authorized certain certification bodies to issue digital signature certificates. You can find a complete list of approved certification authorities on the CCA website. The types of digital signature certificates are different, and not all licensed certificate authorities can issue all of these certificates. As of May 2018, the various digital signature certificates provided by various licensed certification agencies are as follows.
How long is the validity period of the digital signature certificate?
There are many types of digital signature certificates available, and when you get the certificate, you can also choose the validity period. Currently, you can purchase a digital signature certificate with a validity period of up to three years and a minimum period of one year.
How much does it cost to obtain a digital signature certificate?
Certification agencies in India usually do not sell level 1 certificates. The reason may be because Type 2 and Type 3 certificates are the most commonly used certificates on government portals, and Type 1 does not authenticate anything except your name and email address. The price of a digital signature certificate varies from provider to provider, and you can check the price of each certificate yourself. We checked Emudhra and their website provides a digital signature certificate of Rs. 899 to Rs. 5,999, depending on the category, duration and type of certificate required.
Does anyone provide free digital signature certificates in India?
If you are willing to buy a USB token to store your digital signature certificate (about 750 rupees), then you can even get the certificate for free through websites such as free DSC.
What documents are required to obtain a digital signature certificate?
For level 2 and level 3 digital signature certificates, the required documents are as follows: Proof copy Proof of identity and address. You need to certify these documents by the official or bank manager published in the Gazette. Identity certificates include passports, PAN cards, driving licenses or other government-issued IDs and other documents. You can confirm with the certification authority.
Proof of address includes documents such as the latest telephone bills, electricity or water bills, or voter ID cards, passports, etc. These files vary from company to company, so it’s best to contact your certification agency again before proceeding.
How long does it take to obtain a digital signature certificate in India?
It takes three to seven working days for most certification bodies in India to issue digital signature certificates.
Where is my digital signature certificate stored?
The digital signature certificate is a soft copy that can be stored on the computer. Alternatively, you can purchase 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, you cannot recover it. You will have to revoke the digital signature certificate and apply for a new certificate.
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