Applying for a Social Insurance Number

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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Note: There is no fee to apply for a SIN.

If you live in Canada

Applying at a Service Canada Centre

Bring all the necessary documents to the nearest Service Canada Centre. If everything is in order, you will get a SIN during your visit.

Applying by mail

Normally you must apply for a SIN in person, or have someone else apply for you in person. However:

  • if you live in a remote area with no Service Canada Centre within 100 km, you are eligible to apply by mail. To confirm this is the case, you can use your postal code to check your eligibility on the Service Canada website or call Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (select option 3).
  • if you are unable to apply in person or to have someone else apply for you in person, you may be eligible to apply by mail. You must call Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (select option 3) in order to find out if you can apply by mail.

If you do not live in Canada

You are eligible to apply by mail. In order to apply, consult the Application for a Social Insurance Number – Information Guide for Applicants.

Documents needed

When you apply for a SIN, you must provide a valid original primary document to prove your identity and legal status in Canada. If the name on your primary document is not the name you are currently using, you may also need to provide a valid supporting document.

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

Important: All documents must be valid originals. Photocopies are not accepted.

Acceptable primary documents

Canadian citizens must provide one of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate (also known as Certificate of birth) issued by the province or territory in which you were born.
    • In most cases, original birth certificates (certificates of birth) 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.
    • Service Canada does not accept Quebec proof of birth documents issued before 1994.
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
  • Certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad issued before 1977 by CIC.

    Note: 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 one of the following documents:

  • 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: You can use the Confirmation of Permanent Residence within 1 year of the date you became a permanent resident. After that you must use the permanent resident card.

  • 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 Confirmation of Permanent Residence is not available (if it has been lost, for example). This document is acceptable only to update a SIN record or confirm an existing SIN.
  • Status Verification or Verification of Status issued by IRCC or CIC. This document is acceptable only to update a SIN record or confirm an existing SIN.

Temporary residents must provide one of the following documents:

  • work permit issued by IRCC or CIC.
  • study permit issued by IRCC or CIC, that:
    • states that 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 before February 11, 2015.

    Note: If neither of these requirements is met, you may contact IRCC to ask if you are eligible to apply for an amended study permit.

  • visitor record issued by IRCC or CIC, stating that you are authorized to work in Canada or that was issued under:
    • Regulation 186 (except for R186[a] – see Note)
    • 187 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
    • Regulation 19 of the repealed Immigration Act; or
    • issued to a member of the clergy.

    Note: Anyone who comes to Canada under Regulation186 (a) as a “business visitor” is not entering the Canadian labour market, so they cannot get a SIN.

  • diplomatic identity card and a work authorization note/letter issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

Acceptable supporting documents

  • certificate of marriage, record of solemnization of marriage, marriage statement or a document with a similar name — to support your family name after getting married

    Note: This does not apply to Quebec residents married after April 1, 1981, regardless of where they were married.

  • divorce decree, certificate of divorce, decree absolute or a document with a similar name issued by a Canadian court — if the family name you request on your SIN record is different from the name on the primary document because of a divorce

    Note: Divorce documents issued by a foreign country are not acceptable.

  • legal change of name certificate or court order document issued in accordance with provincial/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 Confirmation of Permanent Residence document

Applying for someone else

Parents

If you are applying by mail for your child, you must provide a valid primary document proving your identity in addition to all required documents for them.

Legal guardians

In addition to the child’s valid primary document, you must 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 valid primary document proving your identity

Legal representatives

3 types of legal representatives can apply for a SIN for a child or an adult:

  • provincial/territorial employees
  • lawyers who are appointed by a court; or
  • individuals who are appointed by a court.

All legal representatives must provide:

  • a valid primary document for the person for whom they are applying
  • valid government-issued photo identification confirming their identity; and
  • an original document or certified copy of a document that confirms their legal representation, issued by a provincial or territorial authority (in Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document).

Additional information regarding provincial/territorial employees

  • they must also provide the following document: an original letter on agency letterhead authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency. The letter must be issued by the agency and signed by its director or administrator.
  • they may also provide valid employee photo identification in lieu of government-issued photo identification.

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 in front of 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

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