Social Insurance Number

01

Business Analysis

Eligibility

If you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a temporary resident, you need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.

Children who are 12 years of age or older may apply for their own SIN.

Parents and individuals who are legally authorized to act on behalf of the applicant (for example, a legal guardian or legal representative) can also apply for a SIN for children under the age of majority in their province, and adults in their care.

Getting Your Social Insurance Number(SIN)

1. Overview

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.

A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN. Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place—do not keep your SIN with you.

Service Canada is now issuing SINs in paper format (confirmation of SIN letter). Production of the plastic SIN card has stopped, however, SIN cards that are not expired and are currently in circulation can still be used.

If you are a parent of a newborn, you can apply for your child’s SIN through the Newborn Registration Service.

If you are an employer, learn about your responsibilities related to your employees’ SINs.

For more information, please contact the Social Insurance Number Program.

2. Eligibility

If you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a temporary resident, you need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.

Children who are 12 years of age or older may apply for their own SIN.

Parents and individuals who are legally authorized to act on behalf of the applicant (for example, a legal guardian or legal representative) can also apply for a SIN for children under the age of majority in their province, and adults in their care.

You are applying for yourself

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of an original valid primary identity document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of an original valid secondary document
  • a digital copy of a proof of address
  • a digital copy of an original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary identity document is different from the name on your secondary document or than the name on your online SIN application form)

Important:

  • If you are applying online, digital copies of your documents must be clear and legible
  • If you wish to have the confirmation of SIN letter mailed to an address other than your own, you must apply by mail

Note: for applicants over the age of 12, but under the age of majority:

The same document requirements apply to children over the age of 12, but under the age of majority, that are applying for themselves. If the child cannot provide the required documents, a representative must apply on the child’s behalf. To know which documents are required to apply on the child’s behalf, refer to one of the following sections:

  • you are a parent or legal guardian applying on behalf of a minor, or
  • you are a legal representative applying on behalf of someone else

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • an original valid primary identity document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order one by phone at:
    • 1-970 614 5829 (toll-free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-970 614 5829 (long distance charges will apply)
  • an original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary identity document is different from the name on your SIN application form)

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • an original valid primary identity document
  • an original valid secondary document (only applicable if you have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence)
  • an original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary identity document is different from the one on your secondary document or from the one you wish to register in the Social Insurance Register)

You are a parent or legal guardian applying on behalf of a minor

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of the child’s original valid primary identity document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of the child’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the child’s primary identity document is different from the one on the online SIN application)
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your original valid primary identity document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your original valid secondary document
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your proof of address
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary identity document is different from the one on your secondary document or from the parent’s or legal guardian’s name on the online SIN application form)
  • legal guardian only: a digital copy of an original or certified copy of a document that confirms your legal guardianship, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document

Important:

  • If you are applying online, digital copies of your documents must be clear and legible
  • If you wish to have the confirmation of SIN letter mailed to an address other than your own, you must apply by mail

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • the child’s original valid primary identity document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order one by phone at:
    • 1-970 614 5829 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-970 614 5829 (long distance charges will apply)
  • the child’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the child’s primary identity document is different from the name on the SIN application form)
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid primary identity document
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary identity document is different from the parent’s or legal guardian’s name on the online SIN application form)
  • legal guardian only: an original or a certified copy of a document that confirms your legal guardianship, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • the child’s original valid primary identity document
  • the child’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the child’s primary identity document is different from the name you wish to register in the Social Insurance Register)
  • parent or legal guardian: your SIN or, if you do not have a SIN, your original valid primary identity document
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid secondary document
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary identity document is different from the one on your secondary document)
  • legal guardian only: an original or a certified copy of a document that confirms your legal guardianship, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document

You are a legal representative applying on behalf of someone else

Court-appointed lawyers or individuals, or provincial or territorial employees, can apply on behalf of someone else.

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of the represented person’s original valid primary identity document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of the represented person’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the represented person’s primary identity document is different from the one on the online SIN application form)
  • legal representative: a digital copy of your proof of address
  • legal representative: a digital copy of your original valid photo identification confirming your identityNote: Provincial and territorial employees must submit a digital copy of their original valid employee photo identification
  • legal representative: a digital copy of an original or certified copy of a document that confirms proof of legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document
  • provincial and territorial employees: a digital copy of an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director or administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency; this letter must be on the agency’s letterhead

Important:

  • If you are applying online, digital copies of your documents must be clear and legible
  • If you wish to have the confirmation of SIN letter mailed to an address other than your own, you must apply by mail

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • the represented person’s original valid primary identity document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order one by phone at :
    • 1-970 614 5829 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-970 614 5829 (long distance charges will apply)
  • the represented person’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the represented person’s primary identity document is different from the one on the SIN application form)
  • legal representative: your original valid photo identification confirming your identityNote: Provincial and territorial employees must provide an original valid employee photo identification
  • legal representative: an original or certified copy of a document that confirms proof of legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document
  • provincial and territorial employees: an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director or administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency. This letter must be on the agency’s letterhead

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • the represented person’s original valid primary identity document
  • the represented person’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the person’s primary identity document is different from the one you wish to register in the Social Insurance Register)
  • legal representative: your original valid photo identification confirming your identity.Note: Provincial and territorial employees must provide valid employee photo identification
  • legal representative: an original or certified copy of a document that confirms proof of legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document
  • provincial and territorial employees: an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director or administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency; this letter must be on the agency’s letterhead

You are a legal representative of an estate requesting a confirmation of SIN for a deceased person

The legal representative of an estate can request the SIN of a deceased person.

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of the deceased person’s original primary identity document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of the deceased person’s original supporting document (if the name on the deceased person’s primary identity document is different from the one on the online SIN application form)
  • a digital copy of the death certificate
  • legal representative of the estate: a digital copy of your original valid primary identity document
  • legal representative of the estate: a digital copy of an original or certified copy of a document proving that you are legally authorized to represent the estate
  • legal representative of the estate: digital copy of your proof of address

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • the deceased person’s original primary identity document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order the form by phone at:
    • 1-970 614 5829 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-970 614 5829 (long distance charges will apply)
  • the deceased person’s original supporting document (if the name on the deceased person’s primary identity document is different from the one on the SIN application form)
  • a death certificate
  • legal representative of the estate: your original valid primary identity document
  • legal representative of the estate: original document or certified copy of a document proving that you are legally authorized to represent the estate

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • the deceased person’s original primary identity document
  • the deceased person’s original supporting document (if the name on the deceased person’s primary identity document is different from the one in the Social Insurance Registry)
  • a death certificate
  • legal representative of the estate: your original valid primary identity document
  • legal representative of the estate: original document or certified copy of a document proving that you are legally authorized to represent the estate

Descriptions and examples of the required document types

In this section:

  • Primary identity document
  • Secondary document
  • Supporting document
  • Proof of address

Primary identity document

A primary identity document is an official document that proves your identity and status in Canada.

Important: If you apply in person or by mail, you must provide your original primary identity document; photocopies are not accepted.

If you apply online, the digital copy of your document must be clear and legible. You must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side.

If there are minor variances between the information you provided on your online application and the information as it appears on your primary identity document, the information will be entered in the Social Insurance Registry as it appears on your primary identity document.

To determine which primary identity document you must provide, please refer to the appropriate section below:

  • Canadian citizens
  • permanent residents
  • temporary residents
  • individuals residing outside Canada with no legal status in Canada

Canadian citizens must provide 1 of the following documents:

  • certificate of birth or birth certificate issued by the vital statistics agency in the province or territory of birth
  • certificate of Canadian Citizenship issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
  • certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad issued by CIC before 1977

Note

  • Most original certificates of birth and birth certificates are acceptable to get a SIN. However, some birth certificates, although original documents issued by a vital statistics agency, may no longer be considered valid by the issuing province or meet the requirements for various reasons. Service Canada must review the document to determine its validity.
  • Service Canada does not accept Quebec proof of birth documents issued prior to 1994.
  • If you have Indian status under the Indian Act and you want to register your status in your SIN record, you must provide your primary identity document and a Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada.

Permanent residents must provide 1 of the following documents:

  • Permanent Resident card issued by IRCC or CIC
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued by IRCC, accompanied by a travel document (for example, a foreign passport), or an alternate photo identification issued by a provincial or territorial authority (for example, a driver’s license)Note: If the COPR is used within one year of becoming a permanent resident, it is acceptable. After this period, the Permanent Resident Card is required
  • Record of Landing issued by CIC before June 28, 2002
  • Verification of Landing issued by IRCC or CIC when an original Record of Landing or the COPR is not available (for example, if it has been lost). This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to get the confirmation of an existing SIN
  • Status Verification or Verification of Status issued by IRCC or CIC. This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to get a confirmation of an existing SIN

Temporary residents must provide 1 of the following:

  • work permit issued by IRCC or CIC
  • study permit issued by IRCC or CIC, and meets one of the following requirements:
    • indicates the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada
    • is supported by a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by IRCC or CIC prior to February 11, 2015Note: If you do not meet either of these requirements, contact IRCC to verify if you are eligible to apply for an amended study permit
  • visitor record issued by IRCC or CIC, indicating you are authorized to work in Canada
  • diplomatic identity card and a work authorization issued by Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Individuals residing outside Canada with no legal status in Canada

Individuals residing outside Canada, who are not Canadian citizens nor Registered Indians with no legal status in Canada but who are eligible to receive a Canadian government benefit or pension must provide both following original documents:

  • birth certificate issued by a state authority from your country of birth. If the document is not in English or French, see Translation requirements
  • letter confirming eligibility for pension or benefits from Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security or Régime des rentes du Québec

Secondary document

A secondary document is an official document that confirms your identity.

The secondary document must be valid. It must be a document issued by a Canadian government (federal, provincial or territorial) or be a foreign passport. The following information must appear on the document:

  • legal name (surname and given name), and
  • date of birth

Examples of acceptable secondary documents:

  • a passport (Canadian or foreign)
  • a Canadian provincial or territorial ID card or driver’s license
  • any other Canadian government-issued ID

Supporting document

A supporting document is a legal document stating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary identity document is different from the one you are currently using or different from the name on your secondary document.

Examples of acceptable supporting documents:

  • certificate of marriage, record of solemnization of marriage or marriage statement (or a similarly titled document, depending on the issuing authority) to support your family name after marriage. Note: This does not apply to Quebec residents married after April 1, 1981, regardless of where they were wed
  • divorce decree, certificate of divorce or decree absolute issued in accordance with a court (Canadian or foreign) for the dissolution of a marriage to support the family name requested on the SIN record when it does not appear on the primary or secondary document
  • legal change of name certificate or court order document issued in accordance with provincial or territorial name change legislation
  • adoption order certified by a Canadian court (applies to adoptions in Canada only)
  • notarial certificate, also called notarial adoption certificate, issued by the country of origin of a child adopted abroad and used by the adoptive parents to have the SIN issued in the adopted child’s Canadian name
  • request to Amend Record of Landing issued by IRCC or CIC and used to amend a Record of Landing or a COPR

Proof of address

A proof of address is a document issued by an institution or organization, which contains the following information (you should redact any other personal information on the document):

  • applicant’s name (surname and given name) or, if applying on behalf of someone else, the parent, legal guardian or legal representative’s name (surname and given name)
  • applicant’s address or, if applying on behalf of someone else, the parent, legal guardian or legal representative’s address

Note: Correspondence from the SIN Program, such as a previous Confirmation of SIN letter or a reject letter, is not accepted as proof of address.

The outside of an envelope is not accepted as proof of address.

Examples of acceptable proofs of address:

  • a letter or document from a federal, provincial, territorial or foreign government.
  • a letter or document from a financial institution. For example:
    • bank statement
    • credit card statement
    • mortgage contract or statement
  • a residential tenancy agreement or lease
  • a bill. For example:
    • from a telecom provider
    • from a cable provider, or
    • from a utility provider
  • a document issued by:
    • a school
    • a college, or
    • a university
  • an employment contract (must contain a section that confirms your mailing address)
  • a letter from an organization, institution or employer that:
    • attests the mailing address of the applicant, and
    • is signed by the organization, institution or employer

5. After you receive your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

After a SIN is issued, Service Canada stores your personal information in the Social Insurance Registry.

This information includes:

  • your name
  • date of birth
  • place of birth, and
  • your parents’ names

Dates of death are also recorded in the Registry.

The importance of protecting your SIN

Your SIN is confidential. You should not use it as identification or provide it for job applications, rental applications, etc. See Protecting your social insurance number for information on:

  • when to use your SIN
  • how to protect your SIN, and
  • what you should do if you suspect someone is using your SIN

Updating information linked to your SIN

If you are legally changing your name

By law, you must update your SIN record when you change your name. To update or request any changes to your SIN record, you will need to submit an application and provide required documentation.

If you would like to have your disc number removed from your SIN record

You can do so in person, by mail, or online by submitting an application and providing required documentation.

If you are changing your gender designation

You now have the option to have your gender marked as “X” or not to declare your gender. Service Canada will add a note to your record indicating your choice. However, until our computer systems are upgraded to register this information, “male” or “female” will still appear on your SIN record.

To update or request any changes to your SIN record, you will need to submit an application and provide required documentation.

If your temporary SIN expires

If your SIN begins with a “9”, you must update your SIN record to ensure that the expiry date always corresponds with the expiry date on your document from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) authorizing you to work in Canada.

If you apply for renewal of your work or study permit and your permit expires before a decision is made, paragraph 186(u) and section 189 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides you the right to continue working or studying under the same conditions, pending a determination of your application for renewal, as long as you remain in Canada. This is referred to as “implied status”. You will have implied status until a decision is rendered by the IRCC, which means you are allowed to work even though your SIN has expired.

As soon as a decision has been rendered by the IRCC authorizing you to continue to work in Canada, you must apply with your new immigration document to Service Canada for your SIN record to be updated with the new expiry date.

Moving

You do not need to notify Service Canada about a change of address unless you are waiting to receive a confirmation of SIN letter.

Lost or stolen SIN

If your confirmation of SIN letter or SIN card was lost or stolen, Service Canada will not issue a new SIN. If you don’t remember your SIN, you can find it on your income tax return or you can request a confirmation of your SIN from Service Canada. For more information on how to get a confirmation of your SIN, see the What you need before you apply web page.

Service Canada may issue a new SIN only if there is proof that the SIN was used fraudulently.

Finding someone else’s SIN

If you find confirmation of SIN letter or SIN card, immediately bring it to a Service Canada Center or mail it to Service Canada.

Following a death

When someone dies in a Canadian province, you do not have to notify Service Canada (the provincial vital statistics agency will notify Service Canada). If the death occurs in one of the territories or outside Canada, you must notify Service Canada.

Informing Service Canada’s SIN program of the death reduces the risk of the person’s SIN being used fraudulently. The SIN can still be used for estate purposes.

To report a death, you must provide the SIN of the person who died and proof of death, such as a statement of death from the funeral director or a copy of the death certificate issued by the vital statistics agency. Submit the documents by mail or in person to a Service Canada Centre.

If you have forgotten your SIN

If you already have a SIN but do not remember it, there may be ways you can find it yourself. You may also obtain a confirmation of SIN letter by submitting an application and all required documentation online, by mail or in person.

Accessing your personal information

If you live in Canada, the Privacy Act gives you the right to access and correct personal information about yourself that is held by federal government organizations. This means you can ask for information about your SIN record.

To request copies of SIN application forms you have previously submitted:

  • submit a request online using the Access to Information and Privacy Online Request Service, or
  • submit a request by mail by filling out a Personal Information Request Form and mailing it to the following address:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
Phase IV Floor 12 Mail Stop 123
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau QC  K1A 0J9

Requesting someone else’s personal information

To request personal information under the Privacy Act and Regulations about someone else:

  • you must provide the person’s signed and dated written consent (stating their name and your name), or you must be:
    • a lawyer or trustee, or have power of attorney for the person, or
    • a representative of the person defined in the Privacy Act as “a guardian, curator, committee, executor administrator or other legal representative”

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