Applying for a Social INsurance NUmber (SIN)

One of the first things a newcomer should do after they arrive in Canada is apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).  You must have a SIN to work in Canada.

A SIN is a unique nine-digit number issued to only one person in the form of a wallet-sized plastic card.  

You will also need a SIN to receive government services. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency uses the SIN for income tax purposes.

How to Apply

You can apply for a Social Insurance Number in one of two ways:

In Person

The fastest way to get your SIN is to submit your application at a local Service Canada Centre. Simply gather the documents you need and take them to the TimminsService Canada Centre. If your application and documents are in order, you will get a Social Insurance Number in one visit and receive your card within 10 business days.

To find the nearest office, visit Service Canada or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).

By Mail

If you need to apply by mail, please follow these steps:

  • Download an application form from the Service Canada website, or order the form by calling 1-800-206-7218 and    select ing option "3".
  • Send your completed application, original documents and payment  to:

Service Canada
Social Insurance Registration Office
P.O. Box 7000
Bathurst, New Brunswick
E2A 4T1

Tip:   If your SIN card is ever lost or stolen, you should contact Service Canada immediately. They will help you apply for a new SIN   card based on your individual circumstances.

What information or documents do I need to apply?

Primary Documents

You need to provide a primary document to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), replace your card or amend your SIN record (e.g. a name change).

A primary document is an official document that proves your identity and status in Canada. We need to see an original of your primary document. If the name on this document is different from the name you currently use, you will also need to provide a supporting document.

You must submit one of the following primary documents with your application:

Canadian citizens

  • Certificate of Birth or Birth Certificate issued by the vital statistics agency in the province or territory where you were born
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
  • Certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad issued prior to 1977 by CIC.

Registered Indians

If you are a registered Indian and you want to register your status on your SIN record, submit one of the following:

  • if you were born in Canada, you must submit your original primary document (see section on Canadian Citizens) and a Certificate of Indian Status issued by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
  • if you were born outside Canada, you must submit your original foreign birth certificate and a Certificate of Indian Status issued by INAC.

Permanent residents

  • Permanent Resident Card issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This is the only acceptable document if your claim was processed in Canada.
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence AND visa counterfoil affixed to a foreign passport or a travel document
  • Record of Landing issued before June 28, 2002.

Temporary residents

  • Work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
  • Study permit issued by CIC and a contract of employment from the learning institution or employer on campus where you obtained authorization to study by CIC (this contract must show the start and end date of employment and these dates must fall within the study permit dates).
  • Visitor record issued by CIC, indicating you are authorized to work in Canada.
  • Diplomatic identity card and a note of permission of employment issued by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT).

Supporting Documents

A supporting document is a legal document indicating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary document is different. Your supporting document must be an original, written in English or French.

In addition to your primary document, you will need to submit one of the following supporting documents with your application, if required:

  • 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, regardless of where they were married after April 1, 1981).
  • Legal change-of-name certificate or court order document issued in accordance with provincial name 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 card issued in the adopted child's Canadian name.
  • Request to Amend Record of Landing issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and used to amend a Record of Landing or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document..