Applying for a Social Insurance Number

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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Applying for a Social Insurance Number
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Request other formats online or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). If you use a teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-926-9105. Large print, braille, audio cassette, audio CD, e-text diskette, e-text CD and DAISY are available on demand.

When residing in Canada

All applicants residing in Canada should apply in-person; however, special measures are in place to accommodate individuals who cannot apply in-person at a Service Canada point of service.

Applying at a Service Canada Centre

When applying in-person, gather all the required documents and take them to the nearest Service Canada point of service. If everything is in order, you will get your SIN during your visit.

Applying by mail

  • If you live in an inaccessible area or 100 kilometers or more from a Service Canada point of service, you are eligible to apply by mail. If you are unsure if you are eligible, visit the Social Insurance Number page to confirm your eligibility to apply by mail using your postal code or contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (select option #3).
  • If you are unable to apply in person due to other extenuating limitations there are alternate options which include having another individual submit your application for you in person. If you cannot have another individual submit an application in person on your behalf, you must contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (select option #3) to confirm if you are eligible to apply by mail.

When residing outside Canada

You are eligible to apply by mail. Please consult the Application for a Social Insurance Number – Information Guide for Applicants for more information on how to apply.

Documents needed in order to apply

When you apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), you must provide a valid original primary document to prove your identity and status in Canada. You may also need to provide a valid supporting document if the name indicated on your primary document is different than the name you are currently using. There is no fee to apply for a SIN.

Note: You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

If you are applying for someone else, you may need to provide additional documents.

Acceptable primary documents

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

  • Certificate of birth of birth certificate issued by the province or territory in which where you were born
    • In most cases, original certificates of birth and birth certificates are considered acceptable. 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/territory 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
    • If you are a registered Indian and you want to register your status in your SIN record, you must provide your birth certificate (see section on Canadian citizens) and a Certificate of Indian Status issued by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or
  • Certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad issued before 1977 by CIC

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

  • Permanent resident card issued by IRCC or 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 licence)

    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 IRCC or CIC
  • Study permit issued by IRCC or CIC, that:
    • indicates the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada; or
    • is accompanied by a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by IRCC or CIC prior to February 11, 2015

    Note: 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 or that was issued under Regulation 186 (except for R186[a] - see Note) or 187 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations or Regulation 19 of the repealed Immigration Act or issued to a member of the clergy.
  • Note: Clients who are coming to Canada under R186 (a) as “business visitors” are not entering the Canadian labour market and for this reason cannot obtain a SIN.

  • Diplomatic identity card and a note of permission of employment issued by Global Affairs Canada or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

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 married

  • Divorce decree, certificate of divorce or decree absolute or a similarly titled document issued in accordance with a provincial/territorial court in Canada for the dissolution of a marriage to support the family name requested on the SIN record when it does not appear on the primary document.

    Note: Documents issued by a foreign country are not acceptable

  • 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 IRCC or CIC and used to amend a Record of Landing or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document.

Applying for someone else

Parents

  • If you are applying by mail, you must also provide a valid primary document proving your identity.

Legal guardians

  • In addition to the child’s valid primary document, you will need to provide 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).
  • If you are applying by mail, you must also provide a primary document proving your identity.

Legal representatives

Court-appointed lawyers or individuals or provincial/territorial employees can apply on behalf of a minor child or an adult. In addition to the valid primary document of the person for whom you are applying, you must also provide the following:

  • Valid government-issued photo identification confirming your identity.

    Note: Provincial/territorial employees may provide valid employee photo identification in lieu of government-issued 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.

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, sister, brother, spouse, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or first cousin.)

For more information

Visit: Social Insurance Number

Call:

  • Inside Canada
    • 1-800-206-7218 (Option 3)
    • TTY: 1-800-926-9105
  • Outside Canada
    • 1-506-548-7961 (long-distance charges apply)
    • TTY: 1-800-926-9105
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