What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in Canada?

SIN, social insurance number Canada

SIN stands for Social Insurance Number and is the same as your Tax File Number in Australia, your Social Security Number in the USA or your Numéro de Sécurité Sociale en France.

If you are going to work in Canada, you will need a SIN number to get paid.

How do I get a Social Insurance Number in Canada?

You will want to get this sorted as soon as you arrive in Canada. It is not difficult. The application form even comes with instructions!

You can pick the form up straight away in the airport when you arrive or in any Post Canada or Service Canada office.

Then it’s as simple as finding your nearest Service Canada office on arrival and dropping in the form.

Don’t forget to bring your passport and work permit to prove you are you. They will also ask for a permanent address, but you can use your place of work, a hostel or a friend’s address if you don’t have one yet.

You will receive your Canada SIN on the same day.

You should make sure to protect your SIN. It’s a piece of paper that is very easy to lose, so don’t! Staple it into your passport, take a picture of it and email it to yourself, or keep it someplace secure.

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Remember, you cannot receive your SIN online, so you will need to look after the paper copy. You can download and print the papers from the internet, but you cannot submit them electronically.

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Who should apply for a SIN?

You may be wondering whether or not you need to apply for a SIN when you enter the country.

A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident will always be eligible to apply for a SIN number.

However, this is not always the case for temporary residents – only Work Permit and Study Permit (if allowed to work) holders are eligible for a SIN.

A visitor to the country does not need to apply for a SIN.

Will I need the SIN to open a Canadian bank account?

The short answer to this is no.

Under the Income Tax Act, banks will ask you for your SIN when you open an interest-bearing account. However, other bank accounts can be opened without your SIN.

The SIN is one of a list of documents that you can use as evidence of identification when opening a Canadian bank account.

It’s not easy to get this back if you lose it. Your SIN will expire on the day that your visa expires.

What documents do I need to get my SIN?

You must provide original documents of what you are giving.

A primary document is an official document that proves your identity and status in Canada.

Canadian citizens must provide an original of one of the following:

  • Work permit
  • Study permit

The same goes for if you wish to replace a stolen or lost SIN.

How long will it take to receive my SIN?

Provided all goes well, you should receive your SIN number on the very same day you apply for it.

The next thing you need to be sure you get paid is a bank account. We suggest walking out of the Service Canada office and crossing the street to your nearest bank the same day. Check out our banking section to read more about this.

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