By Iman Khan
Applying for a Social Insurance Number in Canada is a fairly straight-forward and free of charge process. It is one of the first things you should be taking care of upon your permanent move into Canada as an immigrant.
Why do I need a SIN?
Social Insurance Number is a unique 9-digit identifier that is essential for purposes of employment, including setting up a sole proprietorship business or incorporation. It is also required to gain access to benefits and programs endowed by the Canadian government to its residents and citizens. It enables employers to pay their workers, file for income taxes, and make contributions towards pension plans.
Where do I go to obtain a SIN?
The Social Insurance Number is issued to an individual through any Service Canada office. Search for one of their 184 offices in the province of Ontario here. Identify the agency closest to your location and visit them in person with clearly marked and labeled personal documents.
As of early 2014, the SIN is no longer printed on a plastic card, but is being issued in a paper format.
How do I apply for a Social Insurance Number?
Barring a few exceptional circumstances, it is required by the Government of Canada that all individuals apply for their SIN in-person at a Service Canada registered office. A parent or guardian is eligible to apply for a Social Insurance Number on behalf of a child below 12 years of age.
Walk into any location with your SIN application and primary documents at hand. Proof of residence, landing papers or citizenship documents are required to process a Social Insurance Number.
Make sure all credentials are original and in the English or French language. Paperwork in languages other than these two is to 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 the British or Canadian Consulate.”
There is no fee that is applicable towards the issuance of a Social Insurance Number.
After submitting all your relevant documents, your Service Canada representative should be able to furnish your unique SIN in 15-20 minutes.
Do I apply for a Social Insurance Number for my newborn or minor child?
Turns out it is never too early to apply for a SIN! By having one handy for your newborn or underage child, you are in the best position to take advantage of various relevant government education schemes such as the RESPs, Canada Education Savings grant, etc.
What if I am not eligible for a Social Insurance Number?
If you are a temporary permit holder, or an international student and unable to apply for a SIN, you may be able to obtain an ITN (Individual Tax Number).
Can I open a bank account without a Social Insurance Number?
Typically, financial institutions do not require you to submit a SIN while opening an account with them.
Your Social Insurance Number is confidential data, and should not be shared with everyone. Be careful and use your discretion when handing out private information. For any direct queries or concerns, visit the Service Canada website here.
Do not miss our versatile 17-point checklist to make sure you are up to speed with your big move to Canada here!