Social Insurance Number – What you need before you apply

3. What you need before you apply

To apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), to request a confirmation of your SIN or to amend your SIN record, you must provide primary documents that prove your identity and legal status in Canada.

If the name indicated on your primary documents is different than the name you are currently using, you must also provide supporting documents.

If you are applying for someone else, you may need to provide additional documents.

Notes:

  • You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.
  • All documents must be written in English or French or be accompanied by an official translation attested to by the translator before a notary public, or prepared by an officer of a foreign government or an official of a British or Canadian consulate.

Primary documents

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:

Notes:

  • You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.
  • All documents must be written in English or French or be accompanied by an official translation attested to by the translator before a notary public, or prepared by an officer of a foreign government or an official of a British or Canadian consulate.
  • In most cases, original Certificates of Birth and Birth Certificates are considered acceptable to apply for a SIN. However, some birth certificates, although they are original documents issued by a vital statistics agency, may no longer be considered valid by the issuing province or meet the requirements due to various reasons. Only upon review of the document is Service Canada able to determine its validity.
  • We do not accept Quebec proof of birth documents issued prior to 1994.
  • If you are a registered Indian and you want to register your status in your SIN record, you must provide:
    • your Birth Certificate (see section on Canadian citizens) and a Certificate of Indian Status issued by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

Permanent residents must provide an original of one of the following:

  • Permanent resident card issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Confirmation of permanent residence issued by IRCC, accompanied by either a travel document (for example, a foreign passport) or an alternate photo identification issued by a provincial/territorial authority (for example, a driver’s licence). Note: The Confirmation of permanent residence is acceptable if used within one year of the date you became a permanent resident. The permanent resident card is required after this period.
  • Record of Landing issued by IRCC before June 28, 2002.
  • Verification of Landing issued by IRCC. This document is provided when an original Record of Landing or the Confirmation of permanent residence is not available (if it has been lost, for example). This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to obtain a confirmation of an existing SIN.
  • Status Verification or Verification of Status issued by IRCC. This document is only acceptable to amend a SIN record or to obtain a confirmation of an existing SIN.

Temporary residents must provide an original of one of the following:

  • Work permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Study permit issued by IRCC, indicating that you are authorized to work in Canada:
    • a study permit that indicates the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada; or
    • a study permit and a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by IRCC prior to February 11, 2015.

      If neither of these requirements is met, you may contact IRCC to verify if you are eligible to apply for an amended study permit.

  • Visitor record issued by IRCC, indicating you are authorized to work in Canada.
  • Diplomatic identity card and a note of permission of employment issued by Global Affairs Canada.

Temporary residents will receive a letter confirming that a temporary SIN has been issued. For more information, refer to SIN that begins with a “9” .

Supporting documents

Notes:

  • You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

All documents must be written in English or French or be accompanied by an official translation attested to by the translator before a notary public, or prepared by an officer of a foreign government or an official of a British or Canadian consulate.

A supporting document is a legal document indicating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary document is different.

In addition to your primary document, you will need to provide an original of one of the following:

  • Certificate of Marriage, Record of Solemnization of Marriage or Marriage Statement (or a similarly titled document, depending on the issuing authority) to support your family name after marriage. (Note: This does not apply to Quebec residents, regardless of where they were married after April 1, 1981.)
  • Divorce Decree, Certificate of Divorce or Decree Absolute issued in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada for the dissolution of a marriage to support the family name requested on the SIN record when it does not appear on the primary document.
  • Legal change-of-name certificate or court order document issued in accordance with provincial name change legislation.
  • Adoption order certified by a Canadian Court (applies to adoptions in Canada only).
  • Notarial certificate, also called notarial adoption certificate, issued by the country of origin of a child adopted abroad and used by the adoptive parents to have the SIN issued in the adopted child’s Canadian name.
  • Request to Amend Record of Landing issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and used to amend a Record of Landing or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document.

Applying for someone else

Notes:

  • You must provide original documents; photocopies are not accepted.

All documents must be written in English or French or be accompanied by an official translation attested to by the translator before a notary public, or prepared by an officer of a foreign government or an official of a British or Canadian consulate.

Parents

  • In addition to your child’s primary document, you will need to provide your SIN when applying at a Service Canada office.
  • If you don’t have a SIN or if you are applying by mail, you must also provide a primary document proving your identity.

Legal guardians

  • In addition to the child’s primary document, you will need to provide an original or a certified copy of a document that confirms your legal guardianship, issued by a provincial/territorial authority (in Quebec, a notarized Will is an acceptable document).
  • If you are applying at a Service Canada office, you will also need to provide your SIN.
  • If you don’t have a SIN or if you are applying by mail, you must also provide a primary document proving your identity.

Legal representatives

Court-appointed lawyers or individuals or provincial/territorial employees can apply on behalf of a minor child or an adult. In addition to the primary document of the person for whom you are applying, you must also provide the following:

  • Valid photo identification confirming your identity. Note: Provincial/Territorial employees must provide valid employee photo identification.
  • An original document or certified copy of a document that confirms your legal representation, issued by a provincial/territorial authority (in Quebec, a notarized will is an acceptable document).
  • Provincial/territorial employees must also provide an original Letter of Authorization issued by the agency and signed by the agency’s Director/Administrator authorizing the employee to apply for a SIN on behalf of the agency; this letter must be on agency letterhead.
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