A digital signature certificate (DSC) can help you sign a document online, which means that you do not have to be physically present in order to submit an important form. 

DSCs are so commonly used now that you can carry out a host of important chores online, including government related work, by using your DSC. It certainly makes it so much more convenient to be able to do things from home. One of the most common applications of a DSC is to register a new company or business. Thus, if you are planning to be a part of India’s start-up culture, you need a DSC to operate. 

Procedure to get a DSC

There are two main ways of getting a DSC – offline and online. In order to get a DSC through offline methods, all you need to do is visit your registered Certified Authority (CA). 

As a registered CA is the only one who can issue these documents. You can find out if a CA is authenticate or not by cross checking whether their name is listed on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs under the registered CAs list. 

To get your DSC through a CA in person, you must:

  • Make an appointment with the CA
  • Bring along essential documents like your Aadhaar card and PAN card
  • Fill out the required forms and pay the fees quoted by the CA

Keep in mind that if you have eKYC documents that are linked to your Aadhar Card, you may not need to hand over physical copies of the same. 

Another way to get your DSC is by applying for it online. In this case, you must go to the website of the registered CA and click on the section on DSCs. Then, you need to click on the type of DSC you need and based on the same, you will be presented with a form. You may save the form to your computer and then fill it out. 

After you have filled out the form, you must make a cheque or demand draft in the name of the Local Registering Authority (LRA). Place both–the form and the cheque or DD–in an envelope and mail the same to the office of the LRA. 

Typically, it takes 2 days for the DSC to be approved. Once that is done, you can use it for anything you need to. 

Using a DSC to sign a document

Once you have your DSC, you can use it to sign a document quite easily. 

If you are trying to sign a PDF document, you have to start by opening the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click on the tools option, and then select the certificate option from the menu that appears. On doing so, you will see a menu bar appear. This menu bar will contain three options – digitally sign, time stamp and validate all. You must click the digitally sign option.

Next, a dialog box will appear. Click ok and you will then see a plus sign appear on the mouse’s pointer. You must use the mouse to drag a box on the area where you want your signature to appear. When you make the box, a dialogue box will appear asking you to select the DSC of your choice. Click on the required DSC and then click sign. 

Once the signature has been placed wherever you need it to be, you can then save the PDF as a signed copy and then send it back to whoever you need to send it to. 

Similarly, if you want to digitally sign a MS Word document, you must open the desired document, scroll down to the end of the document where you want the signature to be placed and click once so that the cursor appears. Then, click the insert option from the menu bar. You’ll see another option saying Signature line, click that. A dialogue box will appear and you must click ok. Then, another dialog box will appear asking you to select the desired DSC, the same way it did with the PDF. Select the desired signature, and then click Sign. You will then see the signature appear in the document. Save it and then share it with the concerned party. 

Signing documents digitally with a DSC is as easy as that!

Also read: How to Install SSL Certificate on Your Business Website