The Social Insurance Card or Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that is required by law to work in Canada, file income tax returns, or to have access to government programs and benefits. A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else.

If you are born in Canada, then it is likely that your parents or legal guardians applied for or procured a SIN on your behalf. Aside from that, you might have obtained it when you were a teenager, maybe before your first job. You are tasked with protecting your SIN.

Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place—do not keep your SIN with you. Note that Service Canada is now issuing SINs in paper format (confirmation of SIN letter). Production of the plastic SIN card has stopped; however, SIN cards that are not expired and are currently in circulation can still be used.

If you’ve lost a SIN card or confirmation letter, Service Canada will not replace the Social Insurance Number they will reissue a confirmation letter. The only time they will give you a new number, is if you can prove that your SIN was stolen or being used in identity theft.

Steps to Replace Your Social Insurance Card in Canada

To replace a lost SIN card or confirmation letter you’ll need to:

  1. Visit your local Service Canada Centre

To replace a lost SIN card, you have to bring all the necessary documents to the nearest Service Canada Centre. If everything is in order, you will get the confirmation letter during your visit. Normally you are expected to apply in person, or have someone else apply for you in person.

However, if you live in a remote area with no Service Canada Centre within 100 km, you are eligible to apply by mail. To confirm this is the case, you can use your postal code to check your eligibility on the Service Canada website or call Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627

Also, if you are unable to apply in person or to have someone else apply for you in person, you may be eligible to apply by mail.

You must call Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627 in order to find out if you can apply by mail. You are also eligible to apply by mail if you do not reside in Canada. In order to apply, consult the Application for a Social Insurance Number – Information Guide for Applicants and Replacements.

  1. Bring with you appropriate identity documents

Often times, you will be expected to provide 2 documents of identification: A valid original primary document to prove your identity and legal status in Canada; and a valid original secondary document to confirm your identity. Note that if the name on your primary or secondary document is different from the name you are currently using, you must also provide supporting documents.

If you are applying for someone else, you may need to provide additional documents. A supporting document is a legal document indicating the name you currently use. It is required if the name on your primary or secondary document is different.

All documents must be valid originals. Photocopies are not accepted. Once you provide all these documents, you will receive a SIN confirmation letter that same visit and it is free.

What Documents Do You Need to Replace a SIN Card?

  1. Citizens of Canada

Canadian citizens will be required to submit one of the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate – This declaration is obtained from the Vital Statistics office in the jurisdiction you were conceived. This is only for Canadian citizens.
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship – This file is obtained from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. This category is for individuals born anywhere but in Canada.
  • Certificate of Indian Status – When you’re a certified Indian born anywhere but in Canada, you must have this paperwork. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada issue travelers a Certificate of Indian Status. This is for individuals who are indigenous or Aboriginal.
  1. Permanent Residents

Permanent residents (also known as “landed immigrants”) will be required to present one of the following paperwork:

  • Permanent Resident Card Permanent Residence Proof and Visa Counterfoil in Foreign Passport
  • Proof of Permanent Residence and Visa counterfoil on Single Journey Document for Resettlement to Canada
  1. Temporary Residents

Foreign employees as well as undergraduates are examples of temporary residents. Foreign residents must produce any of the following paperwork.

  • Work Permit (also known as an Employment Authorization) – Available from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.
  • Study Permit – This permit is provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. If your permit was approved on February 6, 2015, then that should indicate that you are entitled to work in Canada. If it was approved prior to February 6, 2015, you must offer both a study permit and an IRCC “confirmation to work off campus” letter.
  • Visitor Record from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada demonstrating your authorization to work in Canada.
  • Diplomatic Identification Card – Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. You will also require a letter of authorization to work.
  1. If You Have Another Name

If your name differs from that shown on your paperwork, you must submit one of the following relevant paperwork:

  • Marriage certificate or marriage registration – This record can be used to demonstrate a modification in your maiden name (or surname). If you reside in Quebec and had been married since April 1, 1981, you can’t use the above record. A marriage license is not valid.
  • Divorce Decree – This file can be used to prove your last name (or surname) alteration.
  • Legal change of name document – This is either a lawful document or a court ruling.
  • Request to Amend Record of Landing – You will receive this form from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada if you apply to update your Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence.
  • Adoption order – A Canadian Court has validated this record. If you decided to adopt a child in Canada, you should be using this record.
  • Notarial certificate – It is also known as a notarial adoption certificate. This file is used to obtain a SIN for your adopted kid if the kid was adopted from outside of Canada. This report must be obtained from the nation for which your child was adopted.


If your SIN was stolen or you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, Service Canada recommends that you first report this to the police, review your bank account and credit cards for any unusual activity, watch your mail for any changes or disruptions, and get a credit report to check for unusual activity.

However, it is important to keep your SIN card or confirmation of SIN letter safe and report a missing card or letter right away. If someone finds your card or letter they could use the information to commit fraud against you or someone else.