Social Insurance Number 

WHO: Most domestic and international students.

WHAT: A social insurance number (SIN) is a 9-digit number that is provided by Service Canada.

WHY: obtaining a SIN allows you to work in Canada (international students will also require additional documentation to be able to work in Canada), access certain government benefits and also file your taxes.

HOW: The best way to obtain for a SIN is to apply online. There is no fee to apply for a SIN.

THINGS TO NOTE:

  • If you are an international student, check your study permit conditions to confirm whether you are allowed to work in Canada.
  • Certain students may not be eligible for A SIN such as exchange students who do not have a study permit.
  • Your SIN will usually have the same expiry date as your study permit. Make sure you keep your SIN valid by extending your SIN and maintaining your status in Canada.
  • Keep your SIN private. Often, many fraudulent calls or e-mails will ask for it. Do not give this personal information out.

BC SERVICE CARD

WHO: All residence in Canada including domestic and international students.

WHAT: A card that gives you access to health services (through MSP) and government services. This is a mandatory card to have while staying in BC.

WHY: In addition to accessing many important health and government services, you can use this card for photo ID.

HOW: The best way to obtain a BC service card is to apply online. There is no fee to apply for a BC service card.

THINGS TO NOTE:

  • In order to receive a service card, you MUST enroll in MSP.
  • If you have a BC Driver’s License, you may be able to combine that with the BC service card so that you only have to hold one card. 

BCID

WHO: All residence in Canada including domestic and international students (who are staying in Canada longer than 6 months).

WHAT: An optional identification card that can be used as a government photo ID.

WHY: You can use the BCID as a government photo ID if needed. This is an alternate for individuals who are not drivers but want the same security features as a B.C. driver’s license. It is also an alternate to carrying your passport around as proof of identification.

HOW: Visit an ICBC local driver licensing office with two pieces of ID and pay for the BCID card. 

THINGS TO NOTE:

  • The cost for purchasing a BCID is $35 and it is optional to purchase.