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What documents do I need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

When you apply for a SIN you need to show certain documents. The documents you need depend on your status in Canada.

All your documents must be originals. You cannot use a photocopy. If you apply by mail, you have to send in these documents with your application. Only some people are eligible to apply by mail. If you apply for a SIN in person, then you can keep your documents with you.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens have to show 1 of these documents:

  • Birth Certificate – You get this document from the Vital Statistics department in the province or territory where you were born. This is for people who were born in Canada.
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship – You get this document from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This is for people who were born outside of Canada.
  • Certificate of Indian Status – You need these documents if you are a registered Indian born outside Canada. You get a Certification of Indian Status from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. This is for native or Aboriginal people.

Permanent Residents

Permanent residents (sometimes called “landed immigrants”) have to show 1 of these documents:

  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence and Visa counterfoil in foreign passport
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence and Visa counterfoil on Single Journey Document for Resettlement to Canada

Temporary Residents

Temporary residents have to show 1 of these documents. Temporary residents include foreign workers and foreign students:

  • Work Permit (sometimes called an Employment Authorization) – From Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Study Permit (sometimes called a Student Authorization) – From Citizenship and Immigration Canada and an employment contract from an on-campus employer or a student work permit (off-campus work permit or co-op work permit).
  • Visitor Record that shows you are authorized to work in Canada – From Citizenship and Immigration Canada and an employment contract.
  • Diplomatic Identity Card – From the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. You also need a letter of permission to work.

What if I have a different name?

If your name is different from the one on your documents, you have to send in 1 of these supporting documents:

  • Marriage certificate or marriage registration – You can use this document to show your last name (or surname) change. You cannot use this document if you live in Quebec and were married after April 1, 1981. You cannot use a marriage licence.
  • Divorce Decree – You can use this document to show your last name (or surname) change.
  • Legal change of name document – This is a legal certificate or a court order.
  • Request to Amend Record of Landing – You get this from Citizenship and Immigration Canada if you apply to change your Record of Landing or your Confirmation of Permanent Residence document.
  • Adoption order – This document is certified by a Canadian Court. You use this document if you adopted a child in Canada.
  • Notarial certificateThis document is also called a notarial adoption certificate.You use this document to get a SIN for your adopted child, if that child was adopted from another country and not in Canada. You need to get this document from the country where you adopted your child.

For More Information

Last Updated: May 21, 2014
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