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. Be sure you understand the eligibility requirements to work on campus and off campus.
How do I get it?
You can apply for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Office.
Bring your original birth certificate or other primary document to Service Canada when you apply.
Over the past ten months, there have been multiple changes to the SIN application process for international students – an indirect result of changes to immigration legislation effective June 1, 2014. The way temporary residents (such as international students) obtain a SIN has now changed. Students who expect to accept employment should plan ahead as it may take 1-2 months to obtain the proper documents.
Letters written by employers are no longer needed. To obtain a SIN, international students now need to take one of the following in person to a Service Canada office:
- a study permit that states the student “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada, OR
- a work permit (e.g. co-op, post-graduation, or spouse/partner work permit), OR
- a study permit AND a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) prior to February 6, 2015 (CIC no longer issues such letters)
Students who are eligible to work (http://students.ubc.ca/career/resources/working-canada) but do not have a study permit with the phrase “may accept employment” or “may work” need to get a corrected study permit from CIC before applying for a SIN. Depending on their situation, these students need to either amend or change the conditions of their study permit. Details are on our website below. Processing times vary over time but generally take 1-2 months. At this time, there is no way to expedite the process.
UBC’s online information about applying for a SIN (http://students.ubc.ca/enrolment/finances/financial-advice/taxes-international/sin).
Please contact International Student Development (http://students.ubc.ca/international) if you need additional direction.
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.
Study Permit for International Students