DSCs: Classes, Types, and How to Get a DSC

  • Seema Dhaka
  • 04-05-2024


  • Seema Dhaka
  • 04-05-2024

What is the DSC (digital signature certificate)?

A DSC is a safe digital key that proves the owner's identity when doing business online. The Information Technology Act of 2000 allows the use of a digital signature certificate on electronically issued documents. It works the same way as a real signature and proves who signed it. Getting the DSC from government-approved certifying bodies (CAs) is a key part of this process. Before giving the certificate, the CA goes through a strict process to make sure the person is who they say they are. A DSC contains the owner's name, their public key, and the name of the CA who issued it.

The Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) has selected Certifying Authorities (CA) to issue DSCs in India. The Office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) has granted 15 CAs the power to issue DSCs to individuals. A list of the CAs is given, along with a link to their pages. https://www.mca.gov.in/MinistryV2/certifyingauthorities.html

DSCs Types

DSC (Digital Signature Certificate)


A person can sign a paper with a sign certificate. Stick it to a PDF, file, or document to send in GST returns, income tax returns, MCA online forms, or other web-based services. It checks that the paper is correct and confirms that the user is who they say they are. It informs the recipient that there has been no alteration to the data or tampering with the paper.


The Encrypt Certificate can be used to protect files, papers, and other private and sensitive information. DSC encryption is used to keep data and papers private. Businesses and organisations can use it to encrypt files and send them to websites. You can also use this certificate to encrypt private information and send it safely. Encrypt DSC can be used for legal papers, e-tender filing documents, business documents, and other private records. 

Sign and Encrypt

You can use the Sign and encrypt Certificate for both signing and protection. People commonly use it to file government forms, papers, and applications. This works well for people who need to keep the information they send private and make sure it's real.

DSC Classes

The type of person applying for the Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) and the reason for getting it determine the type of DSC that person must ask for. The officials who certify things hand out three different types of digital signature certificates.

DSC for Class 1 
The Class 1 DSC serves as the fundamental digital certificate for secure email communication and limited online transactions. These certificates verify the user's email address to establish the sender's identity. Individuals commonly receive Class 1 DSCs without the need for extensive verification or supporting documentation.

DSC for Class 2 
Official signatories are given these so they can electronically file forms on the government platform, like the website for the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the website for income tax, the website for goods and services tax (GST), and so on.
But as of January 1, 2021, the Controller of Certifying Authority has told all certifying authorities to stop giving out Class 2 certificates. They will instead issue Class 3 certificates.

 DSC for Class 3
 Anyone in India can use these badges to bid in and participate in e-auctions and online tenders. Anyone who wants to bid on items online needs to have a Class 3 digital signature license.
On January 1, 2021, CCA stopped issuing Class 2 certificates. Now, anyone who needs to sign Registrar of Companies (ROC) forms, customs filings, income tax forms, patent and trademark filings, GST applications, or other government forms online must have Class 3 certificates. 

DSC Classes

How do I get a DSC (digital signature certificate)?

  • Find a government-approved certificate authority (CA) that fits your needs and do some research on them.

  • To get the registration form, go to the CA's website or call them directly.

  • Give correct and up-to-date details on the application form.

  • Get the supporting papers you need, like proof of your name and address, an Aadhar card, and a PAN card.

  • Get an attesting officer to sign off on the supporting papers.

  • Provide the CA with the completed application form, any supporting documents, and the required fees.

  • Please wait for the CA's review of your information and any necessary character checks.

  • The CA will give you a Digital Signature Certificate in the form of a USB token or a smart card once the checking process is over.

  • To use your Digital signature certificate, install the tools that the CA gives you.

Downloading and installing Digital Signature Certificate software

Once you have a digital signature certificate, you'll need to get the tools you need to use and install them. The certifying authority will provide you with the software, as well as complete instructions on how to set it up and install it. The CA will provide you with the device at an additional charge. These days, the software comes with a CD or a link to download it. It can also be a USB code reader or a smart card reader.

Here's what you need to do to run the software

  1. Insert the smart card or USB chip into your computer's USB port or smart card reader.

  2. Run the setup file that the certification organization provided.

  3. To finish the process, follow the steps shown on the screen.

  4. After the installation is complete, restart your machine.

  5. Once you restart it, the program should be ready to use.

  6. It is important to keep your digital signature certificate and tools safe. To stop people from using your certificate without your permission, don't give it or the software that goes with it to anyone else.


Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) are a great way to make sure that online contact and transactions are safe and legal. They're really important for businesses, lawyers, and ordinary people like us. It's very simple to get a DSC, and you can do many things with it once you have one. E-signatures can also add an extra layer of security to your online signatures. For extra peace of mind, you can even use them with DSCs. Have a safe signing! 📝🔒 
Kindly be informed that the information shared above is strictly intended for educational purposes only. It is highly recommended to seek the guidance of a skilled professional for any financial transactions or compliance services to guarantee legal adherence and mitigate any potential challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is an electronic form of identification that validates the authenticity and integrity of digital documents and transactions. It ensures that the signer's identity is verified, and the document has not been tampered with.

A DSC is required for secure and legally recognized online transactions. It is commonly used in India for filing income tax returns, GST filings, e-tendering, and other government-related processes where electronic authentication is necessary.

To obtain a DSC, follow these steps:
Choose a Certifying Authority (CA) approved by the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA).
Select the type of DSC you need based on your requirements.
Complete the application form and submit the necessary documents (proof of identity and address).
Undergo a verification process as per the guidelines provided by the CA.
Once the verification is successful, the CA will issue the DSC.

There are three types of DSCs:
Class 1 DSC: Generally used for securing email communication and validating user details.
Class 2 DSC: Used for filing income tax returns, GST filings, and other online transactions where a higher level of security is required.
Class 3 DSC: Provides the highest level of security and is primarily used in e-tendering, e-auctions, and other processes that involve monetary transactions.

The following documents are typically required:
Proof of identity (passport, PAN card, Aadhaar card, etc.)
Proof of address (bank statement, utility bill, voter ID, etc.)
Passport size photograph

The time taken to obtain a DSC varies based on the Certifying Authority (CA) and the type of DSC. Generally, it takes 2-3 working days from the submission of the application to receive the DSC.

The validity of a DSC can range from 1 to 3 years, depending on the type of certificate chosen. After the validity period expires, the DSC needs to be renewed.

No, physical presence is not required for obtaining a DSC. The application process can be completed online, and the necessary documents can be submitted electronically.

Yes, depending on the type of DSC obtained, it can be used for multiple purposes like income tax filings, e-tendering, GST filings, and more.

No, a Digital Signature Certificate is non-transferable. It is issued specifically to an individual or organization and cannot be transferred to another person.
Classes Types How To Get A Dsc