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. As a new immigrant, you cannot sign up for any government program without it. A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN. So, it is important that you store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place. This post will focus on how to get your Social Insurance Number in Canada.
If you are a parent of a newborn, you can apply for your child’s SIN through the Newborn Registration Service.
Requirements to Get Your Social Insurance Number
If you are 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. As a parent, you are legally authorized to act on behalf of your child who is less than 12. Therefore, you can apply for a SIN for children under the age of majority in your province.
What you need before you apply
- a valid primary document that proves your identity and legal status in Canada; and
- a valid secondary document to confirm your identity
If you are applying for someone else, you may need to provide additional documents.
Primary documents Required
You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted. A primary document is an official document that proves your identity and status in Canada.
As a permanent resident, you must provide an original of one of the following:
- Permanent Resident card issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence issued by IRCC, accompanied by either a travel document (for example, a foreign passport) or an alternate photo identification issued by a provincial/territorial authority (for example, a driver’s license). Note: The Confirmation of Permanent Residence is acceptable if used within one year of the date you became a permanent resident. The permanent resident card is required after this period.
- Record of Landing issued by CIC before June 28, 2002
- Verification of Landing issued by IRCC or CIC. This document is provided when an original Record of Landing or the Confirmation of permanent residence is not available (if it has been lost, for example). This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to obtain a 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 obtain a confirmation of an existing SIN
For temporary residents, an original of one of the following must be provided:
- work permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
- study permit issued by IRCC or CIC, indicating that you are authorized to work in Canada:
- a study permit that indicates the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada, or
- a study permit and a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by IRCC or CIC prior to February 11, 2015
Supporting Documents Allowed
You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted. This is a legal document indicating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary or secondary document is different.
- 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)
- 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 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 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and used to amend a Record of Landing or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document
Secondary documents Allowed
You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted A secondary document is an official document that confirms your identity.
- you need to provide an original secondary document if you are applying for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Centre
- the secondary document requirement does not apply to:
- applicants below the age of majority in their province or territory of residence, and/or
- applicants applying by mail
The secondary document presented must be valid, original and issued by a government (federal or provincial). The document must contain the following two elements:
- legal name (Surname and Given Name), and
- date of birth
Examples of acceptable secondary documents:
- a passport (Canadian or foreign)
- a provincial or territorial ID card or driver’s license
- any other government-issued ID
Applying for someone else
You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.
Parents Applying in person for someone
In addition to your child’s original primary document, you will need to provide:
- your SIN or if you do not have a SIN your original primary document, and
- an original secondary document