Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you're going to work in Canada, you will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number. Find out what it is and how you get it. 

What is a Social Insurance Number?

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. You should apply for a SIN if you plan to work in Canada.

How do I get it?

You  apply in person at a  Service Canada Centre for a SIN. Be sure to take the required documents, which are described in detail below.

Keeping your SIN valid

Make sure you keep your SIN valid by renewing your SIN each time you extend your temporary residency in Canada (for example, when you extend your study permit or get a post-graduation work permit).

To extend or amend your SIN, follow the same application instructions.

If you hold a valid work permit (e.g., a co-op or post-graduation work permit) you may present it at a  Service Canada Centre to apply for a SIN.

If you have a valid study permit that states you “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada, you may present it to Service Canada to apply for a SIN.

If you have a valid study permit, but it DOES NOT state that you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada, you are studying full time for immigration purposes, AND you have an on-campus job offer, you can go to a Service Canada Centre with the following documents:

  • Your original passport
  • Your original study permit
  • UBC Proof of Enrolment (see below)On-campus job offer  (see below)

If you have a valid study permit, but it DOES NOT state that you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada, AND you have no on-campus job offer but you are eligible to work off-campus (e.g. you are studying full-time for immigration purposes in a degree, diploma or certificate program at UBC), you must:

  1. Obtain a "Proof of Enrolment" letter from UBC
  2. Submit your request by uploading the letter at the Case Specific Enquiry form on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website (in the "type of application" drop-down menu, select "International Student - Confirmation letter to work off campus" regardless of whether you want to work on or off campus)
  3. Wait for CIC to issue you a "Confirmation to Work" letter (this can take two weeks or more)
  4. Present the "Confirmation to Work" letter to Service Canada to apply for a SIN.

UBC Proof of Enrolment

Your "Proof of Enrolment" letter from UBC must indicate that:

  1. Your status is full time, and
  2. You are in a program of six months or more leading to a degree, diploma or certificate (e.g., "Master of Engineering").

You may download a letter of enrolment from the Student Service Centre (SSC), but check that these two pieces of information are clearly stated. If not, contact your Enrolment Services Professional (ESP) to request a more detailed version of the letter.  If you do not have an ESP (e.g. graduate students), you can email questions@askme.ubc.ca. If your request is urgent, you may request the letter in person by visiting Enrolment Services (Brock Hall Info Centre or Irving K. Barber Room 260).

If you have a valid study permit, but it DOES NOT state that you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada, AND you are eligible to work only on-campus (e.g. you are a visiting, exchange, unclassified, Continuing Studies, or Access Studies student at UBC and you are a full time student), you will need a job offer in order to apply for a SIN.

 For more information about Social Insurance Numbers, please contact International Student Development or visit the Service Canada website.

Overview of letters from UBC for immigration purposes

 

Proof of Enrolment Letter

(SSC)

Confirmation of Enrolment Letter

(Enrolment Services)

Enrolment Letter

(Academic Advising)

Program Completion Letter

(SSC)

What is it? A standard letter proving your enrolment in a given session

A standard letter confirming your status as a full-time student 

A personalized letter with detailed information about your academic enrolment, specifically your academic progress and expected completion date

A standard letter confirming the completion of your program requirements

When do I need it?

To  extend your study permit

To prove you are a full-time student (e.g. to apply for a SIN or show to an employer)

To prove you are a full-time student in non-standard situations (ONLY necessary if this information is unclear in the SSC Proof of Enrolment letter)

To extend/apply for a new study permit ONLY in non-standard situations (e.g. your studies are taking longer than usual; you took a break from studies for military service)

To confirm your anticipated program completion date

To apply for a post-graduation work permit after you complete your program but before written confirmation of your completion is available (e.g. official transcript)

How do I get it?

 

  1. Log on to the SSC
  2. Select “Grades & Records”
  3. Select “Proof of Enrolment Letters”

 

Email your Enrolment Services Professional (ESP), subject line: “request for a tailored confirmation of enrolment letter for the purpose to work”

If you do not have an ESP (e.g. graduate students), email:

questions@askme.ubc.ca

If your request is urgent, go to Brock Hall in person

Undergraduate students: Request a letter from your academic advising office

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students: Request a letter from your department staff or academic supervisor

  1. Log on to the SSC
  2. Select “Grades & Records”
  3. Select “Program Completion Letter”

If your request is urgent, ask your academic advising office (undergrads) or department staff (grads)