Applying online for a Social Insurance Number is the quickest option for international students and workers ahead of the winter season

News release

December 15, 2023      Gatineau, Québec             Employment and Social Development Canada

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is integral to life in Canada. This 9-digit number is fundamental to working and accessing Government of Canada programs and services. Each year, Service Canada sees an increase in demand for SIN applications in the summer and in the winter from international students and temporary foreign workers.

As international students and workers arrive, Service Canada encourages them to apply for a SIN online. It is a quick and convenient option and applicants can view their SIN via My Service Canada Account within 5 days. Applicants will also receive their SIN by mail within 10 business days from the date the application was submitted.

Students and others who need help to apply for their SIN can participate in a SIN clinic, held in a post-secondary institution or community organization. Clinics provide in-person support to those who cannot complete their application online or visit a Service Canada Centre or a Scheduled Outreach Site. Since September 1, 2023, Service Canada held more than 280 SIN clinics and has helped more than 9,000 international students and workers. More clinics are scheduled across the country in the coming weeks.

Service Canada has made it even easier for new arrivals to obtain their SIN quickly through in-person SIN application services at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.  This service is also offered in other select airports during peak seasons, including the Montréal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport, the Vancouver International Airport, the Calgary International Airport, the Edmonton International Airport and the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. International students and workers entering Canada in any of these airports should look out for a Service Canada counter.    


“Leaving your home country to work or study in Canada can be an exciting and stressful experience, and Service Canada is here to make that transition easier for you. If you are eligible to work in Canada, one of the first things you need is a Social Insurance Number. Your employer can participate in one of our SIN clinics, which are available virtually or in-person—or look for Service Canada at the airport when you land.”

– Minister of Citizens’ Services, Terry Beech

Quick facts

  • Service Canada will process the Social Insurance Number within 5 business days if the online application is complete with all required documents. Once the application is processed, the Social Insurance Number will show up on the client’s My Service Canada Account.

  • 90% of online SIN applications are processed within 5 business days.

  • Applicants can also apply by mail or in person at one of more than 300 Service Canada Centres across the country.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Erik Nosaluk 
Director of Communications 
Office of the Minister of Citizens’ Services, Terry Beech

Media Relations Office 
Employment and Social Development Canada 
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