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.* We recommend filing an income tax return if you are already in Canada, but we encourage you to find out find out more about eligibility and processes on our website or by booking an appointment with a Transition Advisor.
In mid-January of 2022, the Enrolment Services Office sent an email to all students requesting that they record their Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Individual Tax Number (ITN) on ACORN prior to January 31, 2022.
If you are a new international student who is not residing in Canada and have not yet received your study permit, you will not be eligible to get your SIN at this time. Once you arrive in Canada and receive your study permit, you can apply online for a SIN and update your profile on ACORN. As of now you can ignore this message. There won’t be any penalty as you can always update your SIN at a later date.
If you are currently in Canada and have a Canadian address, please apply online for a SIN and update your profile on ACORN once you receive the SIN.
Please refer to the Student Accounts website for more information.
*If you are not eligible for a SIN, you can apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) for tax purposes. However, please talk to an international student advisor first before applying for an ITN.
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
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.
Please note that during Covid, you have to apply online for your SIN inside Canada. You can’t go in person to a Service Canada Office.
In addition to a passport, study, or work permit, you have to provide proof of Canadian residential address to apply. Please consult the online application guide to ensure you have all the required documents ready.
If you are a new international student who is not residing in Canada and have not yet received your study permit, you will not be eligible to get your SIN at this time. Once you arrive in Canada and receive your study permit, you can apply for a SIN.
Processing time: 20 days
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.
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 your SIN with the new or renewed permits.