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. Be sure you understand the eligibility requirements to work on campus and off campus.

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.

Where do I get it?  

The closest Service Canada Centre to UBC is the West Broadway Centre. You can also search for a location near you.

  • 1263 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC
  • Hours: 8:30am – 4:00pm, Monday to Friday
  • Take the 99 B-Line bus, get off at Granville Street, and walk three blocks east

How you apply for a SIN depends on your situation

To find out how to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), pick the situation that applies to you to see what documents and steps you need to take before going to a Service Canada Centre to apply.

STEP 1
From the list below, pick the first one that applies to you.
"I have a ...
"
STEP 2
Get the documents you need
STEP 3
Present the document(s) below in person at a Service Canada office
  Proof of Enrolment1 Written job offer with specific information2 ISA verification of an on-campus job offer3 CIC confirmation to work off campus4  
A) WORK PERMIT No No No No
  • Work permit
B) STUDY PERMIT that has "may accept employment" or "may work" written anywhere on it No No No No
  • Study permit
C) ON CAMPUS JOB OFFER (UBC is the employer)
+
STUDY PERMIT that does NOT have "may accept employment" or "may work" written anywhere on it
Yes Yes No No
  • Study Permit
  • Proof of Enrolment
  • Job offer letter with specific information
D) ON CAMPUS JOB OFFER (UBC is NOT the employer)
+
STUDY PERMIT that does NOT have "may accept employment" or "may work" written anywhere on it
Yes Yes, submit to an International Student Advisor (ISA) for an "ISA verification of an on-campus job offer" Yes No
  • Study Permit
  • Proof of Enrolment
  • ISA verification of an on-campus job offer
E) STUDY PERMIT that does NOT say, "may accept employment" or "may work" written anywhere on it, but I am *eligible to work off-campus Yes, submit  with a case-specific enquiry for a "CIC confirmation to work off campus" No No Yes
  • Study permit
  • CIC confirmation to work off campus

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.

Make sure you're eligible to work on campus - important definitions for immigration purposes

You may work on campus, starting the first day of the term, if you have a valid study permit and you are a full-time international student. Full-time has many definitions at UBC; this is how UBC has defined it for immigration purposes.

  • "Full time"

    This definition is for immigration purposes to denote students who may be eligible to work on or off campus. Starting June 1, 2014, full time status is what you need if you want to work on or off campus

    International students who are eligible to work may start work on the first day of the term. New regulations state that international students will not have to wait 6 months after the start of their studies before working off campus.

    UBC students will be considered by UBC to be “full time for immigration purposes” in a given term if they are:

    • Undergraduate Students (including post-baccalaureate programs), registered for 9 or more credits per term
    • Graduate Students
      • Registered (“REGI” on the SISC) or
      • Continuing (“CONT” on the SISC)

    OR any one of the following:

    • Undergraduate summer students registered for 9 or more credits in summer session (both terms combined) or
    • Undergraduate summer students registered or eligible undergraduate students during summer session who were registered for 9 or more credits during each of the previous two winter terms and whose degrees have not been conferred or
    • Final term Undergraduate students registered for any number of credits in their final term (final term as determined by their academic advising office) or
    • Visiting International Research Students (VIRS; check with Go Global if you think this applies to you) or
    • Students who are considered full-time as per accommodations determined by Access & Diversity (Vancouver) or the Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) or
    • Outbound exchange or
    • Co-op; or
    • UBC's Okanagan campus' English Foundation Program