How to get a Canadian social insurance number

You really need to start here. Nearly everything else that you’ll want to set up relies on you having a Canadian social insurance or SIN number – it serves as your ID number for pretty much everything.  I’d suggest this is the first thing you should go and do; you’ll probably need one to set up a bank account and you’ll definitely need one  or cell (mobile) phone contract.

What’s more, before you go looking for a job in Vancouver, Canada, one of the first things you’ll need to do is to get a Social Insurance Number or 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.

Step by step guide to getting a Canadian social insurance number

I was actually surprised at how straightforward it was to get a social insurance number – although you can do it by post, the quickest way is to do it in person.

Before you go:

  1. Make sure you’ve got the correct documentation (your work permit that’s stapled to your passport)
  2. Make sure you’ve got your passport or some other proof of ID
  3. Make sure you’ve got an address (as they’ll need one to post your social insurance number card to you)

Now go and get it:

  1. Find your nearest ‘Service centre’
  2. Queue up for about 20 minutes
  3. Ask for a SIN number – and wait 5 minutes
  4. You get a social insurance number on the spot
  5. Wait for the social insurance number card to arrive in the post (it takes about 10 working days)

In summary

This is a pretty good service – from start to finish it only took 30 minutes – loads better than trying to get a national insurance number at a JobCcentre in the UK. Service Canada has made it easy for you to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), to replace your card, or to amend your SIN record at their Service Canada Centres.

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