What is a SIN?
A SIN is an 9-digit identification number that the Canadian government assigns to people so that they can legally work and access government programs and benefits.
SINs are issued by Service Canada. Once you receive your SIN, you are responsible for protecting it.
Learn more about what situations you may need a SIN, and when you should avoid sharing it.
Who can apply for a SIN?
You can apply for a SIN if you are:
- a Canadian citizen
- a permanent resident
- a temporary resident
Everyone over 12 years old can apply for a SIN. In Ontario, a parent or legal representative can apply for youth under 18 years old. Caregivers can also apply for other adults in their care.
If you're a temporary resident and your SIN begins with a "9," you must keep your SIN record up to date. This means that you must :
- Check that your SIN expiry date matches the one on your work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- Destroy documents and cards with an expired SIN in a secure manner
- Know what to do if your temporary SIN expires
What documents do I need to apply for a SIN?
A primary identity document that proves your status in Canada:
- Canadian citizens can use birth certificates, certificates of Canadian citizenship, or passports
- Permanent residents can use a permanent resident card or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence issued by IRCC
- Temporary residents can use a work permit, study permit, or a visitor record
A secondary identity document that confirms your identity and date of birth, for example:
- a passport (Canadian or foreign)
- a Canadian driver's license or territorial ID card
Proof of address that confirms the address used on your SIN application that must:
- be issued by a government, a company, an institution, an organization, a landlord, or an employer
- contain the same name as all the other documents you're submitting
- contain an address that matches the one you entered on your online SIN application
A supporting document only if the name you currently use is different from the name on any other documents, for example:
- a legal change of name certificate
- a certificate of marriage or divorce
- an adoption order
All documents that you use to apply for a SIN must be:
- original documents
- valid (not expired)
- in English or French
Remember that you can only use one document for each category above. For example, if you use your passport as your primary identity document, you cannot use it for your secondary identity document.
For a full list of acceptable documents, check the required documents list provided by the Government of Canada.
Where can I apply for a SIN?
Gather your primary, secondary, supporting (if necessary), and proof of address documents and apply for your SIN online.
Complete the SIN application form and mail it along with your primary identity document and a supporting document (if necessary) to:
Social Insurance Registration Office
P.O. Box 7000
Bathurst, NB E2A 4T1
If you choose to apply by mail, Service Canada will return all your documents once your application is complete. Please not that Service Canada will not take responsibility for any documents lost in the mail.
Bring your primary, secondary, supporting (if necessary), and proof of address documents to your local Service Canada Centre. You may want to use their online service request form to try to get an appointment ahead of time.
What if I forgot the SIN I was issued?
If you've already been issued your SIN but cannot remember the number, you can find it on your:
- income tax return
- tax slips
- record of employment
- RRSP contribution
You can also confirm your SIN number by applying for it using the same process explained above. Please note that Service Canada will not issue you a new SIN if you've lost it or if it's stolen. They can only re-confirm the SIN that they issued you already.
For more information, contact Service Canada.