Social Insurance Number (SIN)

After receiving a study permit with remarks indicating that you "May work" or "May accept employment," international students who wish to work either on- or off-campus must obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This also applies to spouses or common-law partners of full-time students who receive an open work permit and wish to work in Canada. The SIN is a government-issued number that is legally required for all workers 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 to receive the GST rebate.

Applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Full-time Students (Including Exchange Students)

If you are studying full-time and 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.

SIN applications can also be submitted online or by mail. Detailed information about how you can apply for a SIN is available on the Government of Canada website here.

If you are eligible to work on- or off-campus, but your study permit DOES NOT state that you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada, (i.e. you are studying full-time, in a degree, diploma or certificate program at UAlberta or you are a full-time exchange student), connect with an International Student Specialist for assistance to get the correct work authorization remarks printed on your study permit. 

After your amendment is approved, you receive your study permit with work authorization remarks, you can 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, you can apply for a SIN.

If you hold a valid work permit (e.g., a co-op or post-graduation work permit), you can use this document to apply for a SIN.

ELS Students

Full-time students in the English Language School (ELS) are eligible to work only on campus.  You may connect with an International Student Specialist to find out more about your eligibility to work on campus and/or the social insurance number.

You can also visit the Service Canada website.