Social Insurance Number (SIN)

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

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9-digit number that you need to work and be paid in Canada and access  government programs and benefits. It is also used to file taxes, although certain students get an Individual Tax Number (ITN) instead. You must 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 to apply

Domestic students

You can apply for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Office. Your SIN will be issued the day you apply. Bring your original birth certificate or another primary document to Service Canada when you apply. 

International students

You can apply for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Office. Your SIN will be issued the day you apply.

Bring any one of the following documents to 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 IRCC prior to February 6, 2015, OR

  • a work permit (e.g. co-op, post-graduation, or spouse/partner work permit)

My study permit states that I can NOT work, or accept employment, but I am eligible to work according to immigration regulations

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. Determine if you need to "amend" or "change conditions" of your study permit. Choose the path that's relevant to you:
    • My situation has changed. I switched to a program of study that now makes me eligible to work off campus.
    • There was a mistake when I was issued the study permit. I need to correct the language
  2. Follow the instructions that apply to you (amend OR change conditions) to get a study permit that states you "may work" or "may accept employment" from Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  3. Take your new study permit that states you "may work", or "may accept employment" in person to a Service Canada Office to apply for a SIN

Keep your SIN valid

If you're an international student, 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 instructions above.

Note: International students get a SIN starting with the number ‘9,’ which lets employers know that you are a temporary resident in Canada. Your SIN will remain the same unless you become a permanent resident, in which case you can apply for a new SIN which does not start with the number ‘9.’

International student work eligibility

Related content

Contact us

International Student Advising

Talk to an advisor

International Student Advisors are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) who can help.

When emailing us, include the following information in the email:

  1. Your student number in the subject line
  2. Your name
  3. Your citizenship(s)
  4. All permit and visa expiration dates (if applicable)
  5. Currently in Canada (YES or NO)
  6. If you request specific assistance, please provide detailed information including applicable documents, such as a rejection letter
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