By Surina Nath
A Social Insurance Number, or SIN is a nine-digit number that is necessary in order to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. There are no fees tied to a SIN application but the process to register or renew a SIN can be complicated without some guidance.
SIN for temporary workers or foreign students who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents begin with the number 9 and is only valid until the expiry date that is indicated on the immigration documents.
It is vital that SIN records are up to date to ensure the expiry date on your SIN is the same as the document from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that permits you to work in the country.
Once the expiry date on your SIN has passed you have to visit a Service Canada office in order to ask if the date can be extended. This is reliant on the fact that your planning to stay in Canada and if you have the needed documents to prove your status in the country. This is referred to as ‘implied status’ which is the title given until a decision is rendered by the IRCC, this status means you may be allowed to work even though your SIN is expired.
As soon as a decision has been made by the IRCC permitting you to continue working in Canada, you must update your SIN records with the new expiry date by taking your new immigration document to Service Canada.
How to Renew an expired SIN
When first applying for a SIN you must have two documents; a valid original primary document to prove your identity and legal status in Canada, and a valid original secondary document to confirm your identity.
Examples of primary documents include:
Examples of secondary documents include (not needed if applying through the mail):
For online applications, you will also need a digital copy of a proof of address and all documents must be clear and legible. You can apply for a SIN online on the Canadian Government website here.
Applying for a SIN through the mail or in-person is also possible if you cannot obtain digitized copies of the necessary documents. If you are planning to apply for a SIN through the mail or in-person but you must make sure you consult the Government of Canada’s website and read the Information Guide for Applicants