Social Insurance Number – What you need before you apply

3. What you need before you apply

Important

You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

  • Translation requirements

    If you submit a document that is not in English or French, you must also submit:

    • an English or French translation of the document, and
    • an attestation or affidavit written and signed by the translator

    If the document has been translated by a certified translator, you must submit an attestation. The attestation is a document stating that the translation is a true and accurate version of the original text. (A certified translator is a member of a provincial or territorial organization of translators and interpreters.)

    If the document has been translated by a translator who is not certified, you must submit an affidavit. The affidavit is a document stating that the translation is a true and accurate version of the original text. The translator must sign the affidavit before a commissioner for oaths or a commissioner for taking affidavits. (A commissioner for oaths or a commissioner for taking affidavits is appointed by a province or territory.)

    Note

    Translations by family members are not acceptable. (A family member is defined as being a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or first cousin.)

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

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.

Primary documents

You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

A primary document is an official document that proves your identity and status in Canada.

Canadian citizens must provide an original of one of the following:

Note

  • In most cases, original certificates of birth and birth certificates are considered acceptable to apply for a SIN. However, some birth certificates, although they are original documents issued by a vital statistics agency, may no longer be considered valid by the issuing province or meet the requirements for various reasons. Service Canada must review the document to determine its validity
  • We do not accept Quebec proof of birth documents issued prior to 1994

Registered Indians

If you are a registered Indian and you want to register your status in your SIN record, you must provide:

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

  • Permanent Resident card issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence issued by IRCC, accompanied by either a travel document (for example, a foreign passport) or an alternate photo identification issued by a provincial/territorial authority (for example, a driver’s license). Note: The Confirmation of Permanent Residence is acceptable if used within one year of the date you became a permanent resident. The permanent resident card is required after this period.
  • Record of Landing issued by CIC before June 28, 2002
  • Verification of Landing issued by IRCC or CIC. This document is provided when an original Record of Landing or the Confirmation of permanent residence is not available (if it has been lost, for example). This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to obtain a confirmation of an existing SIN
  • Status Verification or Verification of Status issued by IRCC or CIC. This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to obtain a confirmation of an existing SIN

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.

  • Visitor record issued by IRCC or CIC, indicating you are authorized to work in Canada
  • Diplomatic identity card and a work authorization issued by Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Temporary residents will receive a letter confirming that a temporary SIN has been issued. For more information, refer to Social Insurance Number that begins with a “9”.

Individuals residing outside Canada

Individuals residing outside Canada, who are not Canadian citizens or Registered Indians with no legal status in Canada but who are eligible to receive a Canadian government benefit or pension must provide both of the following original documents:

  • birth certificate issued by a state authority from your country of birth (if not in English or French, see translation requirements above), and
  • letter confirming eligibility for pension or benefits from Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) or Régime des rentes du Québec (RRQ)

Supporting documents

You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

A supporting document is a legal document indicating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary or secondary document is different.

In addition to your primary and secondary document, you will need to provide an original of one of the following:

  • 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 married after April 1, 1981)
  • divorce decree, certificate of divorce or decree absolute issued in accordance with a court (Canadian or foreign) for the dissolution of a marriage to support the family name requested on the SIN record when it does not appear on the primary or secondary document
  • legal change of name certificate or court order document issued in accordance with provincial name change 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 issued in the adopted child’s Canadian name
  • request to Amend Record of Landing issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and used to amend a Record of Landing or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document

Secondary documents

You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted

A secondary document is an official document that confirms your identity.

Notes

  • you need to provide an original secondary document if you are applying for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Centre
  • the secondary document requirement does not apply to:
    • applicants below the age of majority in their province or territory of residence, and/or
    • applicants applying by mail

Requirements

The secondary document presented must be valid, original and issued by a government (federal or provincial). The document must contain the following two elements:  

  • legal name (Surname and Given Name), and
  • date of birth

Examples of acceptable secondary documents:

  • a passport (Canadian or foreign)
  • a provincial or territorial ID card or driver’s license
  • any other government-issued ID

Applying for someone else

You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

Parents

Applying in person

In addition to your child’s original primary document, you will need to provide:

Applying by mail

In addition to your child’s original primary document, you will need to provide an original primary document proving your identity.

Legal guardians

Applying in person

In addition to the child’s valid original primary document, you will need to provide:

  • your SIN or if you do not have a SIN your original primary document
  • an original secondary document, and
  • an original or a certified copy of a document that confirms your legal guardianship, issued by a provincial or territorial authority (in Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document)

Applying by mail

In addition to your child’s original primary document you will need to provide:

  • an original primary document proving your identity, and
  • an original or a certified copy of a document that confirms your legal guardianship, issued by a provincial or territorial authority (in Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document)

Legal representatives

Court-appointed lawyers or individuals or provincial/territorial employees can apply on behalf of a minor child or an adult. You must provide the following documentation:

  • the applicant’s (the child or adult you are applying for) original primary document  
  • valid photo identification confirming your identity. Note: Provincial/territorial employees must provide valid employee photo identification
  • an original document or certified copy of a document that confirms your legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority (in Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document)
  • provincial/territorial employees must also provide an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director/administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency; this letter must be on agency letterhead
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: