What is Digital Signature Certificate?

What is Digital Signature Certificate?

Lawdef- What is Digital Signature Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate is basically like a handwritten signature which establishes the identity of the sender filing the documents through electronic mode. The crucial point to be noted is that the signature once attached cannot be revoked. Further a Digital Signature Certificate is not only a digital equivalent of a handwritten signature but it also adds extra data electronically to any message or a document where it is used to make it more authentic and more secured. Also, it ensures that no tampering of data is done once the document has been digitally signed.

A DSC once issued is normally valid for the time period of 1 or 2 years, after which the holder is required to obtain a renewal for the same.

Type of Digital Signature Certificates

The various types of digital signature certificates are as follows-


This is the most popular form of DSC that can only be used for signing a document. It can be used for signing the PDF file for Tax Returns, MCA and other websites.


This kind of DSC would be used to encrypt the document, it is popularly used in the tender portal, to assist companies for encrypting the documents and upload them. Moreover, it can be utilized to encrypt and send classified information.

Sign & Encrypt

Through this category, both Sign & Encrypt DSC can be obtained.

Classes of DSC

Digital Signature Certificate can be broadly classified into three classes stated below-

Class 1 DSC

The digital signature certificate of this class is used for verifying the association of an email address with a person. However, it can never be used for validating any documents and therefore holds no legal validity in the signing of documents.

Class 2 DSC

The Digital Signature’s of this class is used for electronic filing of documents with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and the Income Tax Department. The digital certificates under Class 2 are issued to a person as a USB token after the proper verification of self-attested copies of identity and address proof. Also, Class 2 DSC is used for company registration, LLP registration, IT return filing, MCA return filing and IE code registration.

Class 3 DSC

The Digital Signature under class 3 is the most secure form of Digital Signature Certificate. Class 3 Digital Signatures are issued only after the Registering Authority verifies the identity of the applicant, in-person. These DSC are used to establish the identity of the person signing in e-commerce and e-tendering. Moreover, Class 3 DSC can also be used for trademark registration.