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 nine-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.

Applying for a Social Insurance Number

Domestic students

1. E-SIN Application (Online SIN application)

2. Pre-Booked Appointment at Service Canada

You may use your original birth certificate or another primary document when you apply for your SIN.

International students

1. E-SIN Application (Online SIN application)

2. Pre-Booked Appointment at Service Canada

You may use 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).

For more information about the application process, please review our Social Insurance Number Application Guide:



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:

  • Determine if you need to “amend” or “change conditions” of your study permit. Choose the path that’s relevant to you:
    • 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.
    • 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.

Service Canada Centre

The closest Service Canada Centre to UBC is:

Service Canada Centre

471 Queensway Avenue, Suite 106
Kelowna, BC (right next to the Queensway Bus Depot)
Toll free: +1 800 622 6232


Open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Closed Saturday and Sundays.

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, at which case you can apply for a new SIN which does not start with the number ‘9.’