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Obtaining SIN, Health Insurance, and driver's licence in Canada

Important Canadian Documents:


Social Insurance Number

One of the first things a newcomer should do after they arrive in Canada is apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

A SIN is a unique nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.

SINs that begin with the number "9" are issued to temporary foreign workers who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. These individuals must have employment authorization to work in Canada granted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

To apply for your SIN, simply gather all the required original proof-of-identity documents and take them to the nearest Service Canada point of service. If everything is in order, you will get your SIN at the time of your visit. To find the nearest office, visit the Service Canada Web site or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).

Remember: Your SIN is confidential. There are a number of things that you can do to protect it.

Permanent Resident Card

The Permanent Resident Card, available through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada. All permanent residents of Canada need this card to re-enter Canada by airplane, boat, train, or bus.

The American Green Card is often compared to the Canadian permanent resident card.

Health Insurance Card

When you arrive in Canada, you should apply for a Definition ofhealth insurance card. You need a health card to receive health care in your Definition ofprovince or territory. To apply for a health card, contact your province or territory’s health department. You can also read A Newcomer's Introduction to Canada which includes a section about what newcomers should know about health care.

Driver's licence

Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories each have their own driver's licence. Learn about how to apply for a driver’s licence in the province or territory where you plan to settle. To do so, you will have to contact the Provincial or Territorial government where you are settling.

Provinces and Territories:



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