Getting a SIN number, and why do I need one

2488477As per Service Canada definition, “you need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.” If you are planning to work in Vancouver you need to get a SIN number (stands for Social Insurance Number). It is is a 9-digit number, which will start with a 9 if you are not a Canadian citizen/permanent resident.

How to get a SIN number in Vancouver, BC?

You can get your first SIN number at the Service Canada office (address locator in the links below) free of charge – you need to provide sufficient documentation, and an application.

Documents required:

1) Your ID (passport, BC driver’s license or BCID);

2) Work Permit – if you are working off-campus (part-time or co-op);


Study Permit + Contract of Employment (if you are working on campus of your University/College)

3) Application for a Social Insurance Number (available at Service Canada);

The application is 1 page long, requiring your name, date of birth and residential address.
Upon completing the application, you are being interviewed by a Service Canada officer (asking general questions about your job expectations, and plans in Canada), and after they determine you are eligible to receive a SIN number, you receive a temporary paper sheet, and the plastic card is mailed to you within 2-3 weeks. The temporary card is valid upon receipt, and if you have a job to go to, you can use it right away. Make sure to shred or destroy it later, because you do not want anybody except your employer to know your SIN number.

SIN number is not an ID. It is not to be put on your resume or cover letter under any circumstances. You only need to show it if you are being accepted at a job. It is issued for a duration of validity of your Work/Study Permit, and is extendable upon renewing the work permit.

I have received mine at the North Vancouver Service Canada center. I came there on a Wednesday afternoon, and, with almost no line-up, have received my SIN within 20 minutes.

For links and comments, click Read More Office locator for the nearest Service Canada Center List of documents you need (Service Canada article)