The Social Insurance Number, also known as SIN number, is a government-issued private identifier that’s connected to your personal, income tax, credit and benefits information.
Citizens, permanent residents, international students and foreign workers who meet the eligibility requirements to work or access government services in Canada can apply for a SIN number. Applying for a new Social Insurance Number is easy and free of charge.
SIN number application
Service Canada, a federal employment and social development department, accepts and processes all the SIN number applications in Canada.
If you’re applying online or at a Service Canada location, you don’t need to fill out the application form but you must carry the applicable documents with you. If, however, a representative is applying in person on your behalf, you’ll be required to provide a completed and signed application form accompanied with necessary documents.
The applicant must complete and sign the SIN number application form (GC-NAS2120) when applying for a SIN by mail. An application for a child under 12 years of age needs the parent or legal guardian to sign the application form. In the case of a child over 12 years of age and under the age of majority in their province/ territory of residence, the child, parent or legal guardian must sign the application form.
A legal guardian or legal representative must sign the application form in the case of represented SIN application for a minor child or an adult. Using “X” as a signature on the form requires two witnesses to sign in the signature portion, state their relationship to the applicant, and provide the necessary documentation.
Before submitting your SIN number application with Service Canada, make sure you have the right documentation and know the next steps in the process.
Depending on your residency status in Canada, you’re required to submit one of the following valid primary identity documents:
- By birth: Birth certificate issued by an authorized agency in the province or territory where you were born. Documents issued before 1994 in Quebec are not accepted.
- By naturalization: Certificate of Canadian citizenship or registration of birth abroad issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
- By Indigenous origin: Registered Indians wanting to register the status in their SIN record must provide a birth certificate and certificate of Indian status issued by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
Canadian permanent residents:
- Permanent resident card issued by Immigration, IRCC.
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued by IRCC, if brought in within one year of becoming a permanent resident. Plus, a photo identification, a travel document or foreign passport, or a provincial/ territorial authority such as a driver’s license.
- Record of landing issued by IRCC before June 28, 2002.
- Work permit for foreign workers issued by IRCC.
- Diplomatic identity card and note of permission of employment issued by Global Affairs Canada.
- Study permit issued by IRCC, indicating whether or not the international student is authorized to work in Canada.
- Visitor record issued by IRCC, indicating you are authorized to work in Canada.
Non-residents who are not Canadian citizens or registered Indians with no legal status in Canada and are eligible to receive a Canadian government benefit or pension need to provide both of the following documents:
- Birth Certificate issued at the place of birth by a state authority.
- Confirmation letter for pension or benefits eligibility from Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) or Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ).
If the name on any primary documents doesn’t match the SIN number application, you’ll also need to provide one of the following supporting documents:
- Certificate of marriage or a similar document to support your family name after marriage (not applicable to Quebec residents who were married after April 1, 1981, regardless of the place of marriage).
- Divorce decree or similar document issued per the provincial/ territorial court in Canada for the dissolution of marriage(documents issued by a foreign country are not acceptable).
- Legal change of name certificate or court order document issued per the provincial/ territorial change of name act in Canada or similar legislation.
- For a child adopted in Canada, an adoption order certified by a provincial/ territorial court for adoption.
- For a child adopted from abroad, a notarial adoption certificate issued by the country of origin.
- Request to amend the record of landing issued by Immigration or IRCC.
In addition to the above primary and/or supporting documents, in-person applications must accompany an original and valid secondary document issued by a federal or provincial government.
Applicants below the age of majority in their province/ territory of residence and those applying by mail are excluded from this requirement.
The document should include your legal surname and given name as well as your date of birth, such as:
- A Canadian or foreign passport.
- A Canadian provincial/ territorial ID card or driver’s license.
- Any other government-issued ID in Canada.
Documents for representatives
A parent or legal guardian applying on behalf of a minor child who’s under the age of majority in their province or territory of residence must provide these original and valid documents:
- The child’s primary identity document listed under the primary documents.
- The child’s supporting name change document, if applicable.
- Your own primary proof of ID listed under the primary documents.
- Your own secondary proof of ID, if applying in person.
- Your own supporting name change document, if applicable.
- Certified copy of a document confirming legal guardianship issued by a provincial/ territorial authority or similar legislation (a notarized Will in Quebec is an acceptable document).
A legal representative, such as a court-appointed lawyer, provincial/ territorial employee or individual who’s applying on behalf of a minor child or an adult, must provide these original and valid documents:
- The child’s or adult’s primary identity document listed under the primary documents.
- The child’s or adult’s supporting name change document, if applicable.
- Your employee photo ID or government-issued identification, such as a valid driver’s license or passport.
- Your own supporting name change document, if applicable.
- Certified copy of a document confirming proof of legal representation issued by a provincial/ territorial authority or similar legislation (a notarized Will in Quebec is an acceptable document).
- If you’re a provincial/ territorial employee, you must provide an original letter of authorization issued on agency letterhead by the agency’s director or administrator authorizing the legal representative to represent the agency in applying for a SIN.
Note that if your documents are in a different language, you must submit an English or French translation. Additionally, you’ll need to present an attestation if you used a certified translator or an affidavit for a translator who’s not certified.
Ways to apply for a SIN
To make the SIN number application accessible and convenient for everyone, Service Canada accepts applications in-person, online or by mail.
- Apply in person: If it’s convenient, you can visit one of over 600 Service Canada offices near you to apply for a SIN. Make sure you carry your original identity documents to avoid any delays. You’ll receive your SIN immediately if your paperwork is in order.
- Apply for a SIN online: Visit the Service Canada website (apply section) to follow an easy and secure application process. Be prepared to upload your valid and legible digital copies of the required documents. Once your application is received, you can expect a letter with your SIN in the mail within 10 business days.
- Apply by mail: If you’re mailing your SIN number application, you’ll have to send your valid original documents for verification to the Social Insurance Registration office. You can find the address on the Service Canada website (apply section).
SIN application issues to watch for
Incomplete applications or photocopied identity documents will not be accepted. So when you send your original documents, use a secure mailing service like tracking to safeguard your package.
If you wish your Confirmation of SIN letter to be sent to another address, Service Canada will only accept your application by mail. Once your application is received and reviewed, you’ll receive a mailed letter with your SIN in the next 20 working days.
In case you don’t hear back from the Service Canada office in the given time frame — after waiting for five more days, you can reach out to the office (by phone, mail or in person) to check your SIN number application status.
Frequently asked questions about SIN number application
You can apply for your SIN with Service Canada in-person, online or by mail. Make sure you have the required documents and know the processing times.
You can get your SIN number immediately when you apply in person at a Service Canada office, provided your application and supporting documents are in order.
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