Any X.509 v3 Certificate may be signed by CA which means that validating the signature requires access to the X.509 v3 Certificate belonging to the signing CA. Whenever an application validates a Certificate (see OPC 10000-4) it shall recursively build a chain of Certificates by finding the issuer Certificate, validating the Certificate and then repeat the process for the issuer Certificate. The chain ends with a self-signed Certificate.

The number of CAs used in a system should be small so it is common to install the necessary CAs on each machine with an OPC UA application. However, applications have the option of including a partial or complete chain whenever they pass a Certificate. This includes GetEndpoints, SecureChannel negotiation and during the CreateSession/ActivateSession handshake.

All OPC UA applications shall accept partial or complete chains in any field that contains a DER encoded Certificate.

Chains are stored in a ByteString by simply appending the DER encoded form of the Certificates. The first Certificate shall be the end Certificate followed by its issuer. If the root CA is sent as part of the chain, it is last Certificate appended to the ByteString.

Chains are parsed by extracting the length of each Certificate from the DER encoding. For Certificates with lengths less than 65 535 bytes it is an MSB encoded UInt16 starting at the 3rd byte.