Canada requires all nationals and immigrants to get SIN Number in Canada or have a Social Insurance Number. Like the US that provides an SSS number to each of its registered residents, the SIN works similarly as a unique 9-digit number, that identifies individuals who earn money through work and investments, pay taxes, contribute to pension plans and use government services. With that said, this number is very essential to get around, to work and to partake in government programs. By law and logic, all citizens, newcomers (temporary or permanent) must secure their SIN in Canada right away including students.

Get SIN Number in Canada

Although the number itself is no form of identification, it’s still very crucial to have it because employers and businesses use this as a way of identifying and checking your credit rating. Also, employers require you to submit your SIN documents three days after your employment date.

If you’re interested in getting one here are a few pointers to get you started.

In-Person Application

The application process for your Social Insurance Number in Canada can be done in three ways. You can either apply in person, have someone else process it for you or send your application by mail. If you choose to apply in person you don’t need to worry because there are over 600 Service Canada Centres spread across the country with some operating in some of Canada’s most remote and isolated areas making it easy to process your SIN number as long as you have all the necessary documents with you. Since COVID-19, Service Canada Centres have started reopening and serving clients within 100 km of where they live. Click here to find out if your Local Service Canada Centre is open. You can request an appointment through the online service request form. If you choose to apply with a representative, you must complete the Use a Representative form, and have them sign it. 

Online Application

To apply for your SIN online, make sure you have all the necessary documents. Click here to start your online SIN application.

Mail Application

If you are not comfortable with an online application or are unable to find an accessible Centre near you, another option is to send your application by mail. Send your completed application form and original documents (photocopies are not accepted) to:

Service Canada

Social Insurance Registration Office

PO Box 7000

Bathurst NB E2A 4T1



Once you have decided how you’re gonna apply, the next step is to compile the documents needed to get your SIN. Centres only accept unique records, so before you decide to move to Canada, make sure to secure multiple copies of your important documents (if the agencies permit). That way you will avoid paying higher processing fees and mailing fees should the same documents be required again later on.

For immigrants, one of the following documents must be included in your application.

  • Permanent Resident Card

This document shows that you have passed all your suitable records to the IRCC or CIC and you have passed the qualifications to become a Canadian Resident.

  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence

The IRCC will directly supply this document to you once your application for immigration has been approved. This needs to be submitted together with a travel document or an alternate photo identification issued by any Canadian provincial/territorial authority.

  • Record of Landing

If you decide to leave the country for some time, you will be asked to submit these documents as well to update your SIN or confirm that you do have a Social Insurance Number.

  • Verification of Landing

In case an original Record of Landing is not available, this will be issued by IRCC or CIC.

  • Status Verification or Verification of Status

Only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to get confirmation of an existing SIN.

For a complete guide on what documents you might need according to your specific situation, consult this page

How Long Does SIN Application Take?

If you are applying in-person, you will be given a Confirmation of SIN number letter, which is a printed paper with your SIN number in it. For online applications, there is no specific processing time provided by the government. For mail applications, SIN number will be received within 20 days from the receipt of your application. 

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