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The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number and it's importance for international students

Social Insurance Number – Overview

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.

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.

3. What you need before you apply

You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted

To apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), request confirmation of your SIN or to amend your SIN record, you must provide 2 documents:

a valid primary document that proves your identity and legal status in Canada; and

a valid secondary document to confirm your identity

If the name indicated on your primary or secondary document is different than the name you are currently using, you must also provide supporting documents.

If you are applying for someone else, you may need to provide additional documents.

If you are applying online, please consult the online application guide to ensure you have all the required documents ready before you apply.

Temporary residents must provide an original of one of the following:

  • 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

If neither of these requirements is met, you must contact IRCC to verify if you are eligible to apply for an amended study permit.

4. How to apply

There is no fee to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Where to find your SIN

If you don’t remember your SIN, there may be ways you can find it yourself. You can find your SIN in the following places:

  • on your income tax return
  • on your tax slips (T4s)
  • on your record of employment
  • RRSP contribution, or
  • you can request your SIN from your employer

Applying for a SIN

You can apply online or by mail to:

  • apply for a SIN
  • obtain a confirmation of your SIN, and/or
  • to amend your SIN record

If you are unable to apply online or by mail you have the option to apply in person.

If you apply for a SIN online or by mail and your application meets the requirements, you will receive a letter with your SIN by mail within 20 business days from the date the application is received. If more than 25 business days have passed and you would like to find out the status of your application, contact the SIN program.

There is no fee to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

We recommend that those applying carefully review the following instructions.

Apply online

Please consult the online application guide to ensure you have all the required documents ready before you apply.  Here is link to apply /submit online SIN application.

Apply by mail

What you need to apply by mail:

  • a completed SIN application form (if you are unable to print the application form, you can order the form by phone at 1-506-548-7961; long distance charges apply)
  • the required original documents

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

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.

Note: The above information, link and extract is available /copied from the government of Canada website. And it is solely for the information .

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