The SIN number is your social insurance number.  You need this  9 digit SIN number,  if you are to find work in Canada. This will also give you access to  Canadian government benefits and programs further useful for Canadian working holiday.

Once the SIN number is issued, you are solely responsible for it.  It can not be used by anyone else, only you.  You must keep the number in a secure location. Do not walk or travel around with the number on you.

 Please note, the SIN number will not now be issued on a plastic card.  The policy now, is for any new SIN number to be sent via the post. However, your existing number on a plastic card can still be used. If you have a new born child, you need to apply for the SIN number through the Newborn Registration Service.


Service Canada Centre

One very simple way of obtaining your SIN number is to visit a Service Canada Centre.  Details about their location can be found by visiting the official Canadian immigration web site.

You will need to have primary proof of identity documents.  The documentation must be either written in English or French.  Photocopies are not accepted.

You must submit and show you have a current and up to date passport, if you are a non Canadian national.

If you are a permanent resident , you will need to show the following documents:


Permanent Residents

  • A permanent residents card. This must have been issued by the CIC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • A Confirmation of Permanent Residence.  The CIC issues this.  You will need a passport or for example a Canadian driver’s license, issued by a territory of province. This provides an alternative official photo identification.   Confirmation of Permanent Residence is accepted for up to a year after you became a permanent resident.  You will need to use the permanent residents card after that date.
  • You will need a Record of Landing, issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, before June 28th
  • You may need a Verification of Landing. This was issued by the CIC. This will only be acceptable if there is a need to amend your SIN or confirmation is wanted regarding an existing SIN.
  • Verification of Status/Status Verification, issued by the CIC. Again, this will only be acceptable if there is a need to amend your SIN or confirmation is wanted regarding an existing SIN.


Temporary Residents

  • You  have a work permit from the CIC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • You have a study permit. Issued by the CIC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  This can either be a study permit, which has the provision for students who “may accept employment ” or  “may work”, during their time as a student, or a study permit and a “confirmation to work off campus” letter from the CIC which was issued before June 28th, 2002. This is to check that you can apply for an amended study permit.
  • You might need a Visitor Record, from the CIC, stating that you are allowed to work in Canada. You may also need a Visitor Record, issued under the 186 or 187 Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. Alternatively, you may need a Visitor Record from the repealed Immigration Act. A Visitor Record can also be obtain from a member of the clergy.
  • You can also obtain a Diplomatic Identity Card, along with a note of permission of employment.  This is issued by the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.


Proof of Identity Documents

There will be the need for supporting legal documentation if the name on your main identity document, such as your passport has been changed or is different.  These supporting documents include:

  • A marriage certificate,  marriage statement or a record solemnizing a marriage with your family name, after you are married.  Please note that in Quebec this is not applicable, after April 1st1981, no mater where you were married.
  • A Court Order or a Legal Change of Name Document.
  • A Notarial Certificate, or a Notarial Adoption Certificate.  This is issued by the original country for a child who is adopted abroad.
  • A Request to Amend Record of Landing.  This is issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada CIC.  This is to amend either a Confirmation of Permanent Residents or a Record of Landing.
  • Divorce Decree documents from out side of Canada are not accepted.


A SIN Application For Another Person.

This is for parents or guardians applying for a Sin Application for children younger than 12 years old, at a  Service Canada point of service.

This should include:

  • The child’s individual proof of identity documents.
  • You must bring valid employee identification showing your  photo ID, or an equivalent government issued ID.
  • An original document or a certified copy that states and confirms you are the legal guardian, issued by a Canadian province or territory.  If this is Quebec, a notarized will would be acceptable.
  • If you are a provincial employee,  you can obtain a letter of authorization issued by a province or territory, stating that you are the legal representative of a child. This does not apply to court appointed lawyers or individuals appointed by the court, this letter is not needed.
  • Finally, photocopies are not accepted.


There is no application fee required for obtaining SIN documentation.


 Some Further Points.

If you are coming from abroad and your documentation is not written in either English or French, then you will need:

  • Any official translated document must be attested by a public notary, through a foreign government officer, or via an official at a British or Canadian consulate.
  • Most Birth Certificates and similar documentation will be accepted as part of a SIN application, however in some circumstances these documents may not be accepted.  Service Canada will need to be able to review these documents.


If You Have Lost Your SIN Information.

The best thing to do is to do in Canada is to contact the police. Then check all your bank statements and credit card details etc, to see if there are any irregularities.  A new number can be obtained from Service Canada.