What is a Digital Signature Certificate? - An Overview
A digital signature certificate (DSC) is a secure digital key issued by recognised Certifying Authorities (CAs) to validate the identity of the certificate holder. It contains an individual’s name, digital signature, date of issuance of the certificate and date of expiry, and the name of the CA.
Benefits of a Digital Signature Certificate
Apart from authenticating the certificate holder’s identity, DSC helps in the following ways:
Time-Saving And Cost-Saving:
Digital signatures ensure a smoother workflow in an organization by limiting the time and cost spent on signing documents and contracts. Documents can be signed by the required persons in a click of a button. This is especially useful when the signer is located in a different area and there is no dependency for him/her to be physically present.
Added security features in DSC prevents unauthorised use of your document and data. No one can fake your signature, tamper the data or alter your document. DSC ensures your signature is valid, verified and legitimate.
According to the Information Technology Act, 2000, a DSC is accepted evidence in any court of law similar to the acceptance of any signed document.
Apart from government bodies like GST, MCA, Income Tax, etc., a DSC is being accepted in all the countries across the world as it offers greater security. DSC is important for companies looking to take part in government tenders.
Types of Digital Signature Certificate
There are three classes of DSC – Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 used for different purposes based on the type of entity and need.
Class 1 certificate is issued to both businesses and individuals, or private subscribers, to confirm the user’s name and email id as mentioned in the consumer database. This is just a basic assurance and is usually not considered to be of major significance.
Similar to Class 1, Class 2 certificate is issued to both the entities – businesses and private subscribers for confirmation of information in the database. It is used during monetary transactions or to access one’s personal information, and for other transactions, where there is a substantial risk of malicious activity. Also, Class 2 is used to file various government forms in India.
Class 3 certificate is an upgraded version of Class 2. It is issued to individuals and organisations that want to participate in bidding for government tenders or online tenders and auctions. Sometimes the applicants may be expected to be physically present before the CAs to receive a Class 3 certificate. Class 3 signatures are relevant to environments that are prone to data theft, fraudulence and failure of security.
How DSCs Work?
A DSC is created based on the PKI mechanism where two keys – a public key and private key are generated. The private key is kept by the signer and the public key is required by the receiver to decrypt the information regarding the identity of the user during information exchange. The user can store the private key on a computer or hard disk as a token and access it with his/her respective password issued.
During the transfer of information, both the keys are used by the browser and the server to encrypt and decrypt information, to authorise the identity of the user. The public key is disseminated with the encrypted information. The authentication process fails even if one of the keys does not match. Hence the encrypted data cannot be decrypted making it impossible for unauthorised access.
Documents required to get DSC
Indian Individuals Looking To Obtain DSC Must Submit:
- ID proof: Passport/Driving license or any Photo Identity issued by the Govt
- PAN card
- Address proof: Aadhaar card/Voter ID/Driving license/Registration Certificate
- Attesting Officer proof
Indian Organizations Looking To Get DSC Must Submit:
- Organizational PAN
- Partnership deed, if applicable
- List of Authorised Signatories which could be the list of Directors, Board resolution, etc.
- Authorised Signatory ID proof
- GST certificate
For Indian companies, the documents may differ depending upon the type of entity like Partnership, Proprietorship or sole ownership, LLP, etc.
Foreign Individuals And Organizations Looking To Obtain DSC Must Submit:
- Attested copy of applicant’s passport
- Attested copy of Visa, if the applicant is out of their native country
- Attested copy of Resident Permit certificate, if the applicant is in India
- Attested copy of any Govt-issued address proof
Foreign Attestation Procedure For DSC:
Authorisation letter must be sought with the respective company seal and signature.
- Embassy of native country (If applicant is out of native country)
- Apostilled by native country, after Public Notary (if country is in Hague Convention). For example Austria, Greece, Oman, Australia, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, etc.
- Consularized by native country, after Public Notary (if country is not in Hague Convention). For example, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, etc.
How to apply for a Digital Signature Certificate? - A detailed process
Step 1: Collect Basic Details
We will collect basic details like Name, Gender, Address, Nationality, Country, Email Id, Mobile number, and the usage type of DSC you are applying for. It could be for company incorporation, MCA e-filing, IT filing, GST filing, Foreign trade, e-Tenders or personal use. Accordingly, we will guide you in selecting the right class.
Step 2: Submission Of Supporting Documents
All the necessary documents like PAN card, address proof, passport, etc. with relevant attestation will be collected.
Step 3: Documents Validation
Once the payment is made and the information is verified against the PAN card as in the Income Tax portal, we will validate your documents in two ways:
Video recording: You will receive a video link to your registered mobile number and email address, where you need to record your personal information like name, DOB, etc. and send it to us.
SMS: You will then receive an SMS with the DSC application ID and a mobile number to which you need to reply with your DSC application ID, name, mobile number and email ID.
Upon successful verification we will dispatch your Digital Signature Certificate USB token, which is a password-protected physical device containing your digital signature. A USB token also called e-token, dongle or digital signature has a special built-in software that recognises and opens your digital signature.
We are authorised providers of Digital Signature Certificates, partnered with some of the prominent and licensed Certifying Authorities in India. Some of the best reasons to choose Buiznest for DSC are:
- Simple and speedy process
- Delivery of Digital Signature USB tokens that are compliant with FIPS security standards
- All three classes of DSC provided
- Digital signature with advanced SHA-256 algorithm as mandated by the Government of India
- Data confidentiality assured
- Guidance on accessing and using USB tokens for e-filings
- You will also get Zero Balance Current Account – Powered by DBS Bank *
FAQs on DSC (Digital Signature Certificate)
What is the validity of a DSC?
From where can I get a Digital Signature Certificate?
What are the rules of starting an LLP?
Who is a Digital Certifying Authority?
Who are all the Digital Certifying Authorities in India?
Who is a Registration Authority (RA)?
Where can I use my DSC?
When should a person use class 2 DSC?
Registration process of private limited companies: 1. Application for DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) and DIN (Director Identification Number)
2. for Directors
3. Application to check the availability of the proposed name
4. Filing of the EMoa and EAOA
5. Application for PAN and TAN
6. Incorporation certificate
Registration Process Of LLPs 1. Application for DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) and DIN (Director Identification Number) for Partners
2. Application to check the availability of the proposed name
3. Application for PAN and TAN
4. Incorporation certificate
5. Drafting of LLP agreement The duration of registration for both the companies take around 20 days
Cost And Maintenance: A new business wouldn’t be in a very strong financial position to spend and hence comparing the costs is an essential part. A minimum of Rs 15,000 is required to register a private limited company which includes documentation, taxes, agent fees, etc, an addition of Rs 15,000 to 20,000 per year to comply with all the MCA’s mandatory compliance requirements. Another recurring Rs 15,000 per year to fulfil all the auditing requirements. This sums up to Rs 40,000 to 45,000 per year. An LLP is much cheaper. The registration fee comes up to 11,000 and around Rs. 4,000 for MCA’s compliance. Moreover, auditing has to be conducted only when the annual turnover exceeds Rs. 40 lakh and the paid-up capital of over Rs. 25 lakh. This means that for the price of starting a private limited company you can start and maintain an LLP in its first year.
Penalties: some private limited companies do not care to comply with MCA regulations. which can lead to hefty fines of up to Rs. 1 lakh per year. With an LLP, given its low costs, it is very unlikely that companies would not comply. So LLP is a better choice to start a small business that does want to increase funding or offer ESOPs to employees.
Ownership With respect to ownership, private limited companies offer much more benefits as the ownership is based on shareholding. There can be a maximum of 200 shareholders in a private limited company abd they do not directly get involved with the management and are disticnt. In LLP companies, the owners and management are the same. As both handle the business affairs and take the management powers equally.
Compliance: Although the compliance requirements are almost similar for both the entities, LLP has its own compliance perks. There is no yearly audit for LLPs if the annual turnover is below 40 lakhs and the capital investment is below Rs 25 lakhs. Whereas Private limited companies have to go for a mandatory yearly audit. If you are still confused, take time to dwell on this question and do in-depth research, approach a professional legal service provider because once you decide to register an LLP, there are high chances to get several licenses and approvals in its name (profession tax or shops and establishments registration, for example). If at any point, you need to switch from an LLP to a private limited company, considerable effort would be required.
When should a person use class 3 DSC?
How long does it take to get a DSC?
What type of DSC do I need for e-filing on MCA portal?
What type of DSC is required for procuring tenders and trademark/patent filing?
Can I get more than one DSC?
Is it necessary to get the USB token?
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