building and flag

Getting your social insurance number

By Dana Hall

Posted on March 29, 2021

building with flag

A Social Insurance Number is also called a SIN. You will need a SIN in order to work and access government programs and benefits. A SIN is a nine-digit number and is unique to you.

How to apply

You can apply for your SIN online, in person at Service Canada stations, or by mail. There are even Service Canada stations in Toronto Pearson Airport and Vancouver International Airport, so you can apply immediately. You will need to have the right documents with you.

To apply in person, you need:

  • A primary document: This is a copy of your citizenship, residency card, work permit, study permit, or visitor record.
  • A secondary document: This is a copy of identification to prove your identity, like your passport. Any identification used that is not your passport will need to be issued by the Canadian government. This includes health cards and driver’s licences.
  • If you are below the “age of majority” and applying in person, then you don’t need a secondary document. These are the ages of majority in Canada:
    • Where the age of majority is 18:
      • Alberta
      • Manitoba
      • Ontario
      • Prince Edward Island
      • Quebec
      • Saskatchewan
    • Where the age of majority is 19:
      • British Columbia
      • New Brunswick
      • Newfoundland and Labrador
      • The Northwest Territories
      • Nova Scotia
      • Nunavut
      • Yukon

To apply online, visit this link. Use digital copies for your documents by scanning them. You will need:

  • A primary document: This is a digital copy of your citizenship, residency card, work permit, study permit, or visitor record.
  • A secondary document: This is a digital copy of identification to prove your identity. This will need to be your passport or identification from the Canadian government such as a health card or driver’s licence.
  • A digital copy of something to prove your address

To apply by mail, this is what you need:

  • An original primary document: This is a digital copy of your citizenship, residency card, work permit, study permit, or visitor record.
  • Your SIN application form: If you cannot print your form, call 1-866-274-6627 and they will send you one. If you are outside of Canada, you will need to call 1-506-548-7961 and pay the long-distance changes.

Applying with Children

If you have children, you will need to apply for a SIN on their behalf. If they are 12 or older, they can apply for a SIN on their own. You must be a legal parent or guardian in order to apply for a child’s SIN.

To apply for a child’s SIN in person, this is what you need:

  • An original primary document: This is the child’s proof of citizenship, residency card, work permit, study permit, or visitor record.
  • Your original primary document: You can also use your SIN if you have one already.
  • Your original secondary document: This is identification to prove your identity.

To apply for a child’s SIN online, these are the digital documents you will need:

  • A primary document: This is your child’s citizenship, residency card, work permit, study permit, or visitor record.
  • A secondary document: This is identification to prove your child’s identity.
  • Something to prove your address
  • Your own primary document
  • Your own secondary document

To apply for a child’s SIN by mail, these are the documents you will need:

  • An original primary document: This is the child’s proof of citizenship, residency card, work permit, study permit, or visitor record.
  • A SIN application form. If you cannot print the form, call 1-866-274-6627 and they will send you one. If you are outside of Canada, you will need to call 1-506-548-7961 and pay the long-distance changes.
  • Your own primary document

Applying with a changed name

If you have changed your name, you might need to show a document that explains why. This applies to online, mail, and in person applications. You only need to do this if the name on your first document is different than the name on your second document. Here are the documents you can show to prove your name change:

  • Certificate of marriage, record of solemnization of marriage, or a marriage statement
  • Certificate of divorce, divorce decree, or decree absolute
  • Legal change of name certificate
  • Adoption order (for adoptions within Canada)
  • Notarial adoption certificate (for adoptions outside of Canada)
  • Request to amend record of landing

If your child has changed their name, you might need to show a document that explains why. This applies to online, mail, and in person applications. You might also need to provide a document if you have changed your name. You can find a list of acceptable documents above.

Once you have your documents ready, you can go to this link and follow the instructions to submit your application.

Primary documents Secondary documents Proof of Address Application form
Applying in person Required Only if over the “age of majority” Not required Not required
Applying for your child in person Required: yours and your child’s Required: yours alone Not required Not required
Applying online Required Required Required Not required
Applying for your child online Required: yours and your child’s Required: yours and your child’s Required Not required
Applying by mail Required Not required Not required Required
Applying for your child by mail Required: yours and your child’s Not required Not required Required
Like or share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *