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.

List of abbreviations

SIN
Social Insurance Number
IRCC
Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada
CIC
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
COPR
Confirmation of Permanent Residence

Translation requirements

If you submit a document that is neither in English nor 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 is translated by a certified translator, you must submit an attestation. An 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 is translated by a translator who is not certified, you must submit an affidavit. An 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 a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or first cousin.)

In order to determine which documents you must provide, please refer to one of the following sections that applies to you:

Note: Failure to provide required documentation will result in the rejection of your application.

You are applying for yourself

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of an original valid primary document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of an original valid secondary document
  • a digital copy of a proof of address
  • a digital copy of an original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary document is different from the name on your secondary document or than the name on your online SIN application form)

Important:

  • If you are applying online, digital copies of your documents must be clear and legible
  • If you wish to have the confirmation of SIN letter mailed to an address other than your own, you must apply by mail

Note: for applicants over the age of 12, but under the age of majority:

The same document requirements apply to children over the age of 12, but under the age of majority, that are applying for themselves. If the child cannot provide the required documents, a representative must apply on the child’s behalf. To know which documents are required to apply on the child’s behalf, refer to one of the following sections:

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • an original valid primary document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order one by phone at:
    • 1-866-274-6627 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-506-548-7961 (long distance charges will apply)
  • an original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary document is different from the name on your SIN application form)

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • an original valid primary document
  • an original valid secondary document (only applicable if you have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence)
  • an original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary document is different from the one on your secondary document or from the one you wish to register in the Social Insurance Register)

You are a parent or legal guardian applying on behalf of a minor

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of the child’s original valid primary document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of the child’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the child’s primary document is different from the one on the online SIN application)
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your original valid primary document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your original valid secondary document
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your proof of address
  • parent or legal guardian: a digital copy of your original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary document is different from the one on your secondary document or from the parent’s or legal guardian’s name on the online SIN application form)
  • legal guardian only: a digital copy of an original or 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

Important:

  • If you are applying online, digital copies of your documents must be clear and legible
  • If you wish to have the confirmation of SIN letter mailed to an address other than your own, you must apply by mail

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • the child’s original valid primary document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order one by phone at:
    • 1-866-274-6627 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-506-548-7961 (long distance charges will apply)
  • the child’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the child’s primary document is different from the name on the SIN application form)
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid primary document
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary document is different from the parent’s or legal guardian’s name on the online SIN application form)
  • legal guardian only: 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 in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • the child’s original valid primary document
  • the child’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the child’s primary document is different from the name you wish to register in the Social Insurance Register)
  • parent or legal guardian: your SIN or, if you do not have a SIN, your original valid primary document
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid secondary document
  • parent or legal guardian: your original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on your primary document is different from the one on your secondary document)
  • legal guardian only: 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

You are a legal representative applying on behalf of someone else

Court-appointed lawyers or individuals, or provincial or territorial employees, can apply on behalf of someone else.

Applying online

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • a digital copy of the represented person’s original valid primary document (you must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side)
  • a digital copy of the represented person’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the represented person’s primary document is different from the one on the online SIN application form)
  • legal representative: a digital copy of your proof of address
  • legal representative: a digital copy of your original valid photo identification confirming your identity

    Note: Provincial and territorial employees must submit a digital copy of their original valid employee photo identification

  • legal representative: a digital copy of an original or certified copy of a document that confirms proof of legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document
  • provincial and territorial employees: a digital copy of an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director or administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency; this letter must be on the agency’s letterhead

Important:

  • If you are applying online, digital copies of your documents must be clear and legible
  • If you wish to have the confirmation of SIN letter mailed to an address other than your own, you must apply by mail

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • the represented person’s original valid primary document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order one by phone at :
    • 1-866-274-6627 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-506-548-7961 (long distance charges will apply)
  • the represented person’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the represented person’s primary document is different from the one on the SIN application form)
  • legal representative: your original valid photo identification confirming your identity

    Note: Provincial and territorial employees must provide an original valid employee photo identification

  • legal representative: an original or certified copy of a document that confirms proof of legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document
  • provincial and territorial employees: an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director or administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency. This letter must be on the agency’s letterhead

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • the represented person’s original valid primary document
  • the represented person’s original valid supporting document (only applicable if the name on the person’s primary document is different from the one you wish to register in the Social Insurance Register)
  • legal representative: your original valid photo identification confirming your identity.

    Note: Provincial and territorial employees must provide valid employee photo identification

  • legal representative: an original or certified copy of a document that confirms proof of legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority. In Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document
  • provincial and territorial employees: an original letter of authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s director or administrator, authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency; this letter must be on the agency’s letterhead

You are a legal representative of an estate requesting a confirmation of SIN for a deceased person

The legal representative of an estate can request the SIN of a deceased person.

Applying by mail

If you are applying by mail, you must provide the following documents:

  • the deceased person’s original valid primary document
  • a completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order the form by phone at:
    • 1-866-274-6627 (toll free number) or,
    • if outside Canada, at 1-506-548-7961 (long distance charges will apply)
  • the deceased person’s original valid supporting document (if the name on the deceased person’s primary document is different from the one on the SIN application form)
  • a death certificate
  • legal representative of the estate: your original valid primary document
  • legal representative of the estate: original document or certified copy of a document proving that you are legally authorized to represent the estate

Applying in person

If you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • the deceased person’s original valid primary document
  • the deceased person’s original valid supporting document (if the name on the deceased person’s primary document is different from the one in the Social Insurance Registry)
  • a death certificate
  • legal representative of the estate: your original valid primary document
  • legal representative of the estate: original document or certified copy of a document proving that you are legally authorized to represent the estate

Descriptions and examples of the required document types

In this section:

Primary document

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

Important: If you apply in person or by mail, you must provide your original primary document; photocopies are not accepted.

If you apply online, the digital copy of your document must be clear and legible. You must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side.

If there are minor variances between the information you provided on your online application and the information as it appears on your primary document, the information will be entered in the Social Insurance Registry as it appears on your primary document.

To determine which primary document you must provide, please refer to the appropriate section below:

Canadian citizens must provide 1 of the following documents:

Note

  • Most original certificates of birth and birth certificates are acceptable to get a SIN. However, some birth certificates, although 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.
  • Service Canada does not accept Quebec proof of birth documents issued prior to 1994.
  • If you have Indian status under the Indian Act and you want to register your status in your SIN record, you must provide your primary document and a Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada.

Permanent residents must provide 1 of the following documents:

  • Permanent Resident card issued by IRCC or CIC
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued by IRCC, accompanied by a travel document (for example, a foreign passport), or an alternate photo identification issued by a provincial or territorial authority (for example, a driver’s license)

    Note: If the COPR is used within one year of becoming a permanent resident, it is acceptable. After this period, the Permanent Resident Card is required

  • Record of Landing issued by CIC before June 28, 2002
  • Verification of Landing issued by IRCC or CIC when an original Record of Landing or the COPR is not available (for example, if it has been lost). This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to get the 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 get a confirmation of an existing SIN

Temporary residents must provide 1 of the following:

  • work permit issued by IRCC or CIC
  • study permit issued by IRCC or CIC, and meets one of the following requirements:
    • indicates the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada
    • is supported by a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by IRCC or CIC prior to February 11, 2015

      Note: If you do not meet either of these requirements, 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

Individuals residing outside Canada with no legal status in Canada

Individuals residing outside Canada, who are not Canadian citizens nor Registered Indians with no legal status in Canada but who are eligible to receive a Canadian government benefit or pension must provide both following original documents:

  • birth certificate issued by a state authority from your country of birth. If the document is not in English or French, see Translation requirements
  • letter confirming eligibility for pension or benefits from Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security or Régime des rentes du Québec

Secondary document

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

The secondary document must be valid and issued by a government (federal, provincial or territorial). The following information must appear on the document:

  • 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

Supporting document

A supporting document is a legal document stating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary document is different from the one you are currently using or different from the name on your secondary document.

Examples of acceptable supporting documents:

  • 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, regardless of where they were wed
  • 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 or territorial 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 IRCC or CIC and used to amend a Record of Landing or a COPR

Proof of address

A proof of address is a document issued by an institution or organization, which contains the following information:

  • applicant’s name (surname and given name) or, if applying on behalf of someone else, the parent, legal guardian or legal representative’s name (surname and given name)
  • applicant’s address or, if applying on behalf of someone else, the parent, legal guardian or legal representative’s address

Note: Correspondence from the SIN Program, such as a previous Confirmation of SIN letter or a reject letter, is not accepted as proof of address.

The outside of an envelope is not accepted as proof of address.

Examples of acceptable proofs of address:

  • a letter or document from a federal, provincial, territorial or foreign government.
  • a letter or document from a financial institution. For example:
    • bank statement
    • credit card statement
    • mortgage contract or statement
  • a residential tenancy agreement or lease
  • a bill. For example:
    • from a telecom provider
    • from a cable provider, or
    • from a utility provider
  • any document issued by:
    • a school
    • a college, or
    • a university
  • an employment contract
  • a letter from an organization or an institution attesting the mailing address of the applicant. The organization or institution and the applicant must sign the letter confirming the mailing address
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