You can apply for a Canadian Social Insurance Number either in person or by mail. However, Employment and Social Development Canada no longer issues SIN cards. Instead, it will send you a SIN confirmation letter, typically within 20 business days of receiving your application.
Social Insurance Number
To work in Canada, take advantage of government programs or receive government benefits, you must have a Social Insurance Number. This nine-digit number is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada. ESDC does not charge a fee for issuing a SIN confirmation letter.
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Potential employers will use your SIN to deduct taxes and insurance premiums from your pay check. A SIN is also required for financial aid programs and certain savings plans.
The Newborn Registration Service is available to parents who reside in Labrador, Alberta, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. After you give birth, NRS will register the birth of your child and apply for a SIN on your child's behalf. If the birth takes place in Ontario or British Columbia, NRS will also apply for your child's birth certificate. Contact the local Vital Statistics office in your area to sign up for NRS. Service Canada, in extension of ESDC, provides links to these offices at the bottom of its Newborn Registration Service page.
Apply for your SIN in person at your local Service Canada office. Service Canada provides a list of locations online, searchable by province or territory, city or postal code. Bring proof of your identity and Canadian status with you. If you are a Canadian citizen, acceptable documents include a certificate of birth, citizenship or Indian status card. If you are a permanent legal resident, bring your permanent resident card, verification of status, record or verification of landing, or confirmation of permanent residence. Other acceptable documents include marriage certificates, divorce decrees and name change certificates. The SIN application requires information about you, such as your place and date of birth, and your parents' names. Service Canada may issue your SIN the same day or mail it to you within 20 business days.
If you live 100 or more kilometers away from a Service Canada office, you can apply for a SIN by mail. You can also apply by mail if there are extenuating circumstances, such as being hospitalized and unable to travel, and no one is available to submit the application on your behalf. Confirm eligibility to apply by mail by calling (800) 206-7218 and select Option 3. Next, obtain the Social Insurance Number Application from Service Canada's website or call (506) 548-7961 to receive the application by mail. Return the completed application to Service Canada, Social Insurance Registration Office, P.O. Box 7000, Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 4T1, Canada. Include proof of your identity with your application. The document must be original and will be returned after your application is processed. Your SIN will be sent by mail within 20 business days. If you don't hear back after 25 business days, call the SIN program at (800) 206-7218 to check the status of your application.
- British Columbia: Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Service Canada: Newborn Registration Service
- Service Canada: How Do I Apply for a SIN, Obtain a Confirmation of My SIN, or Amend My SIN Record (e.g., a Name Change)?
- Service Canada: List of Forms
- Service Canada: Application for a Social Insurance Number, Information Guide for Applicants
- Service Canada: What Information/Documents Do I Need to Apply?
- Service Canada: Fact Sheets - Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Service Canada: Contact Information for the Social Insurance Number Program