Social Insurance Number
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that is required for every worker in Canada. If you plan to work while in Canada, either as an on-campus or off-campus employee, or a teaching or research assistant, you must have a Social Insurance Number in order to receive payment for work in Canada.
Note: Only full-time students are eligible to work on-campus or off-campus. Students must stop working if their status changes to part-time or if they take a break from their studies (e.g. a term off or year off). If you are no longer eligible to work, you can keep your SIN but you cannot work. For more information on eligibility to work, please visit IRCC's webpage on students working in Canada.
To apply for a Social Insurance Number, you need to go in person to a Service Canada Centre. Applying for a SIN is free of charge. If everything is in order, you will get your SIN during your visit.
Register for one of the International and Exchange Student Centre's SIN Clinics scheduled throughout the year at the IESC. Visit the IESC's Events Calendar for details.
SINs that begin with a "9" (also called 900-series SIN) are issued to individuals who are neither Canadian citizens nor Permanent Residents and who need a SIN for employment purposes.
900-series SINs are temporary and have an expiry date that coincides with the date on your primary immigration document (Study Permit or Work Permit) issued to you by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 1
Social Insurance Number expiring soon?
For those students who are employed on or off campus, your Social Insurance Number expires on the same date as your Study Permit. In order to avoid interruption of employment, make sure that you apply for a Study Permit renewal well in advance before it expires. This will ensure that there is sufficient time to apply for the renewal of your SIN (which must be done after you receive your renewed Study Permit).
You will need to extend your SIN each time that you extend your stay in Canada (for example, when you extend your Study Permit, or receive a Post-Graduation Work Permit).
Existing 900-series SIN holders updating/renewing their Social Insurance Number, will receive a confirmation of SIN letter with the new expiry date. There is no fee for this service. To renew your Social Insurance Number, please follow the instructions on applying for a Social Insurance Number above. Your previous confirmation of SIN or SIN card is no longer valid and should be destroyed in a secure manner. 2
Your Social Insurance Number is personal information. The SIN is not a piece of identification. It is a client account number for specific Government of Canada programs, such as Employment Insurance or the Canada Pension Plan. Unless it is required by law, it should not be shared.3 "Each SIN is issued to one person only. It cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN. Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place. Don’t keep it with you." 4
Please note that a SIN is no longer required to:
- Complete an Income Tax return or apply for certain tax benefits (Canada Child Tax Benefit)
- If you are not eligible for a SIN, you can apply for an Individual Tax Number to be used for tax purposes only
- Open a bank account
- Receive scholarship or bursary monies
Use your SIN with caution! Do not give your number unless it is required by law. If your SIN is not required by law, ask why it is being requested, how it will be used, and with whom it will be shared and offer a different proof of identity. Service Canada provides information on what to do if an organization asks for your SIN but it is not legally required.