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 9-digit number that you need to work in Canada, to file taxes, or to have access to government programs and benefits. You should apply for a SIN if you plan to work in Canada.

If you are an international student, be sure you understand the eligibility requirements to work in Canada.

How do I get it?

You can apply for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Office

Domestic students

Bring your original birth certificate or other primary document to Service Canada when you apply.

International students

Take one of the following documents when you apply:

  • a study permit that states you “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada, OR
  • a study permit and a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by CIC prior to February 6, 2015, OR
  • a work permit (e.g. co-op, post-graduation, or spouse/partner work permit)

If you are eligible to work in Canada as a student but you do not have one of the documents listed above, you must (1) get a corrected study permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, then (2) take your new study permit in person to a Service Canada office. To get a corrected study permit, do one of the following:

  • If you switched from a program of study (which did not allow you to work off-campus) to a new program of study (which does allow you to work off-campus) AND your study permit states "This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off campus employment in Canada," change the conditions of your study permit ($150 fee). Check the processing time here.
  • Otherwise, amend your study permit (free). Read the document checklist carefully and include all necessary documents, including an up-to-date enrolment letter. We suggest you mail the application to Ottawa using a secure mailing method, such as Canada Post Xpresspost. Check the processing time here.

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: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday
  • Take the 99 B-Line bus, get off at Granville Street, and walk 3 blocks east

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