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Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work (and get paid) in Canada.

Detailed information about the SIN is on the Service Canada website.

When do I apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?


Employers must ask for the SIN  of all new employees as soon as they are hired. You may apply for a SIN before you start working or up to three days after your start date. A SIN number is also required for taxation purposes.
 

How do I get a SIN?


You should apply for your SIN in person, and there is no charge for first-time applications. Your Social Insurance Number will be issued during your visit to Service Canada.
 

What documents do I need to get a SIN?

 

On or off campus work authorization on your study permit

A valid study permit may be amended if one of the following conditions/remarks does not appear on the document:

  • May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies
  • May work 20 hrs off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR **
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria

If your study permit does not have one of the above conditions or remarks, you must submit a request for an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN. There is no fee for this request. The Request to Amend can only be submitted by mail and according to the CIC website, the current processing time for amendments is one month: http://www.cic.gc.ca/English/information/times/other.asp

** Ineligible programs of study:

 Students are ineligible if any of the following apply:

  • they are a visiting or exchange student;
  • they are registered in a general interest program; or
  • They are registered in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program

 

The SIN will begin with the number "9". Your SIN expires on the date indicated in the “expires on” field of the letter. This expiry date is based on the CIC document that authorizes you to work in Canada.

 

Where do I get a SIN?


International Students may apply for the SIN at their local Service Canada Centre. To locate the nearest Centre, call 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232), or use Service Canada's online locator.

The Centre nearest to McGill's downtown campus is:

Montreal Downtown/Southwest Montreal Service Canada Centre
Guy-Favreau Complex, Office 034
200 René-Lévesque Blvd West
Montreal, Quebec
Phone: 514-522-4444
Fax: 514-496-5951

The Centre nearest to McGill's Macdonald campus is:

Pointe-Claire Service Canada Centre
6500, route Transcanadienne, ground floor, office 100
Pointe-Claire, Québec
Phone: 1 800 622-6232


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


1.  What if I have implied status and am eligible to work, but I don't have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) yet (or my SIN has expired)?

A) If you're extending your status as a Student, you can legally continue to work under the same conditions as a student.  If you've previously had a SIN, you can continue to work on your expired SIN until it is renewed.  If you have never had a SIN, Service Canada will not issue one until you have your new Study Permit, however you may be able to work - please see an advisor at ISS for more information.

B) If you've applied for your Post-Grad Work Permit (PGWP) before your Study Permit expired, you can legally work while waiting for your PGWP.  If you've previously had a SIN, you can continue to work on your expired SIN until it is renewed.  If you have never had a SIN, Service Canada will not issue one until you have your PGWP, however you may be able to work - please see an advisor at ISS for more information.

1.  What if I have implied status and am eligible to work, but I don't have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) yet (or my SIN has expired)?

A) If you're extending your status as a Student, you can legally continue to work under the same conditions as a student.  If you've previously had a SIN, you can continue to work on your expired SIN until it is renewed.  If you have never had a SIN, Service Canada will not issue one until you have your new Study Permit, however you may be able to work - please see an advisor at ISS for more information.

B) If you've applied for your Post-Grad Work Permit (PGWP) before your Study Permit expired, you can legally work while waiting for your PGWP.  If you've previously had a SIN, you can continue to work on your expired SIN until it is renewed.  If you have never had a SIN, Service Canada will not issue one until you have your PGWP, however you may be able to work - please see an advisor at ISS for more information.