The world is becoming online today with people adopting innovative ways of transacting online. Hence, digital signatures have become crucial for verifying the genuineness of the information shared over the internet. One needs this facility to e-sign documents online. Some of the best uses of digital signatures are in filing IT, and GST returns. Businesses can use digital signatures to sign contracts and submit tenders. Government authorities can use digital signatures to verify documents and other materials issued by them. Therefore, we have different classes of digital signatures available today. These classes are as follows.
- Class 1 Digital Signature
- Class 2 Digital Signature
- Class 3 Digital Signature
- DGFT Signature
- Class 1 Digital Signature Certificate
A Class 1 Digital Signature certificate is the most basic digital signature certification. It is mainly for private individuals and business people in cases where there is a risk that the data will be compromised. This certificate does hold major significance but helps to ensure that the information of the person is the same as that mentioned in major consumer databases.
- Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate
The Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is the most common digital signature allotted to any individual or organization for different applications. Some of the critical uses include filing of IT returns, filing of ROC/MCA, claiming PF online, and many others. This signature is the most straightforward of all the digital signatures. Hence, there are no stringent rules for its application. Any individual can apply and obtain this DSC. The documents you need to support your application are your KYC documents such as Aadhaar card, PAN card, and photographs. The Class 2 Digital signature Certificate has a validity of 1, 2, or 3 years, depending on the user’s requirements.
- Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate
The issuance of this class of DSC requires the authentication of the applicant. On confirming the identity of the applicant, the Controller of Certifying Authorities allots the Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate. The rules stipulate that the applicant must be present before the certifying authority at the time of its issuance. This type of DSC is in high demand, as it is compulsory for online transactions such as e-auctions, e-tendering, high court filing, patent/trademark filing, e-procurement, and other Government applications.
There are different types of Class 3 digital signature certificates. They are Class 3 DSC individual signing only, Class 3 DSC individual signing and encryption, Class 3 DSC organization signing, and Class 3 DSC organization signing and encryption. Hence, this class of DSCs has higher authority as compared to Class 2 DSC.
- DGFT Digital Signature Certificate
This DSC applies to exporters and importers. DGFT is the abbreviated form of Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Hence, this class of DSC applies to exporters and importers when dealing with the DGFT. They have to use this signature when interacting with the official website of DGFT. It is a special type of DSC that every individual need not have. The individuals and organizations dealing in export and import of goods, commodities, and services need this DSC.
We have thus seen three different types of DSCs depending on the requirement of the applicant. The Class 2 DSC is the most common that any individual can apply and obtain. However, it is essential that you must apply for the right class when you want a digital signature. The time has now come when every person should possess a DSC, as he/she might have to do various acts online.