Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. You also need a SIN to file Canadian taxes.*

*If you are not eligible for a SIN, you can apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) for tax purposes.

What You Need to Know - Social Insurance Number


International students need one of the following documents to apply for a SIN in person at a Service Canada Office:

A work permit e.g. Co-op, post-graduation (if applicable)


A study permit containing one of the following authorization-to-work conditions:

  • May accept employment on the campus of the institution where they are registered full-time (for on-campus only)
  • May work 20 hrs. per week 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

Authorization-to-Work Conditions on the Study Permit

You must apply online to change the conditions of your study permit and pay a fee if:

  • Your study permit has “This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada,”, printed on it
  • You have changed your program of study (completed ESL programs such as Green Path, Fair and AEP and started the degree program), and now you are eligible to work on and off-campus

Changing the conditions is the same as extending study permit application with similar processing times.

You must apply on paper for request to amend your study permit free of charge if:

  • The authorization-to-work conditions are not printed on your study permit and
  • You are eligible to work on or off campus and you have to mail your completed application to the Operations Support Centre (OSC) in Ottawa. Please check the Processing time for Amendment of Valid Temporary Resident Documents

Please note if your study permit will be expiring soon, when you apply to extend it, the extended study permit automatically will have the authorization-to-work conditions. You don’t need to apply separately to change the conditions of your study permit.

Apply for a SIN

Service Canada requires individuals to apply in-person at a Service Canada Centre with your original documents.

The easiest location to access from U of T Scarborough is the:

Toronto Scarborough Service Canada Centre
200 Town Centre Court
Canada Centre, 1st Floor
Scarborough, ON. M1P 4X9 
Open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4pm

Right documents to apply

  • Valid passport and
  • Valid work permit OR study permit with work authorization conditions

Processing time: 30 minutes if you have the required documents in order.

Cost: Free

Validity of your SIN

Expiry date of the SIN is based on the permit that authorizes you to work in Canada. Each time you extend your study or work permits and you want to continue working or file your taxes, you have to renew you SIN with the new or renewed permits.