Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN) card

After receiving a work permit or an on-campus job offer, international students and members of their families who wish to work must obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This is a government-issued number that is legally required for all work in Canada.

Your SIN is also used for filing a tax return and claiming a Goods and Services Tax refund. International Student Services recommends that all students file their taxes, in order to receive the GST rebate.

Service Canada has recently changed the requirements for international students to apply for Social Insurance Numbers (SIN).

All students who wish to work in Canada—either on or off campus—need to obtain a Social Insurance Number.

Applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Full-time Degree, Diploma or Certificate Students

If you have a valid study permit that states you “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada, present your study permit to a Service Canada office to apply for a SIN. 

If you have a valid study permit, but it DOES NOT state that you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada, but you are eligible to work off-campus (i.e. you are studying full-time, in a degree, diploma or certificate program at UAlberta) you must first apply for an amendment to your study permit

After your amendment is approved, present your amended study permit to a Service Canada office to apply for a SIN.

If you have a valid study permit but it states "This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada, but you are now eligible to work off campus without a work permit (e.g. you were an ELS student and transferred to a full-time, eligible program of study) you must apply to change the conditions of your study permit and pay the applicable fee.

After your study permit is changed, present your new study permit to Service Canada office to apply for a SIN.

If you hold a valid work permit (e.g., a co-op or post-graduation work permit) you may present it at a Service Canada office to apply for a SIN.

Exchange, Visiting & ELS Students

Exchange students, visiting students and students in the English Language School (ELS) are asked to see an international student advisor about their eligibility to work on campus/social insurance number.

For more information about Social Insurance Numbers, please contact International Student Services or visit the Service Canada website.