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Getting your Social Insurance Number

Updated: May 12, 2020

If you haven’t heard already, the Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9-digit number that is required if you intend to work in Canada, or have access to government programs and benefits.

To apply for a SIN, you need a primary document that proves your identity and legal status in Canada, and a secondary document that proves your identity. To put it simply, a primary document could be your study permit, work permit or confirmation of permanent residency (COPR). A secondary document could be the passport from your home country. There is a full list of eligible documents available on the Government of Canada website if you have special circumstances.

There is no cost to apply for a SIN, and you should ignore anyone who offers to help with getting you one. There is no need to use an agent or pay someone else to do something which is otherwise very easy to do.

Usually, one can apply in person at a Service Canada Center and get the SIN on the spot. But this facility has been temporarily suspended because of COVID-19, and the best way to do it is apply online.

You may not have a permanent address in Canada when you apply for your SIN. It is okay to provide the address of a friend or relative who has a permanent residence, but do remember to change the address through the portal as soon as you have one of your own.

Once you receive your SIN, keep the printout in a safe place. Although it is not very difficult to get a replacement, it is still a hassle if you lose it. One thing to keep in mind is that you should not laminate your SIN printout. It is the norm to laminate documents in many countries but it is not in Canada.

Once you have your SIN, you can open a bank account, start working and investing in Canada.

Disclaimer: We make our best efforts to ensure that the information presented is accurate, but we take no responsibility for guaranteeing the same. We are not an expert advisor and the information presented should take that into consideration. We may have affiliate or referral partner agreements with some or all of the products and services we recommend. We make our best efforts to ensure that the cost of the referral commission is not passed on to our members, but we cannot guarantee it.

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