Applying for a Social Insurance Number in Canada

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9-digit number that you need to work and be paid in Canada and access government programs and benefits. It is also used to file taxes.

(*If you are not eligible for a SIN, you can apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) for tax purposes.)

You are responsible for protecting your SIN. Ensure that you store documents containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place. For more information about protecting your SIN, please visit.

* International students get a SIN starting with the number ‘9,’ which lets employers know that you are a temporary resident in Canada.

How to apply for a SIN

You can apply for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Office. Your SIN will be issued the day you apply.

Document needed:

  1. A valid original primary document to prove your identity and legal status in Canada. A primary document can be:
    • A Work Permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
    • A Study Permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  2. A valid original secondary document to confirm your identity. A secondary document can be:
    • A passport (Canadian or foreign)
    • A provincial or territorial ID card or driver’s license
    • Any other government-issued ID


Validity of your SIN

Expiry date of the SIN is based on the permit that authorizes you to work in Canada. Each time you extend your study or work permits and you want to continue working or file your taxes, you have to renew you SIN with the new or renewed permits.

Work Eligibility

A valid SIN alone does not automatically make you eligible to work on or off campus. You must still meet the eligibility requirements in order to legally work. Students in degree programs do not need a work permit to work off-campus.

Please visit the Student Services Advisor if you see “This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada” under the condition section of your study permits.


Disclaimer: This is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Always refer to the government’s websites for the most updated information.