Do you need a SIN to open a Bank account in Canada?

Short Answer

Yes, you need a current a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) to open a bank account in Canada, unless you are a tourist with a ‘Temporary Resident Visa’ (TRV), who wants to have an interest-free bank account.

Detailed Answer

What is a SIN?

SIN, meaning Social Insurance Number is a 9-digit unique identification number issued by Service Canada. It is mandatory that every Canadian citizen, a non-citizen who is a permanent resident, or a temporary resident, register for and obtain their respective SINs. Kids who are older than 12 years can apply for their own SIN.

Purposes of a SIN

It is necessary that you disclose your SIN when you:

  • Are involved in the employment workforce, be it full-time, part-time, or casual
  • Obtain the Canadian government’s social security benefits
  • Participate in a pension scheme

Opening a bank account in Canada

It is important to open a bank account to have your money in a safe haven. It is handy to receive your salary, pay bills, and purchase essentials. Given that, the Canadian banks have a worldwide reputation, you are assured to receive the best services, tailored to your needs.

Do I need a SIN to open a bank account in Canada?

Yes, it is mandatory that you provide a current and valid SIN along with your application form and two other identification proofs authenticating your name, age, and address, to open a bank account in Canada. It is applicable for all types of personal bank accounts, be it a Chequing account or a savings account. However, there are a few exemptions that are discussed in the latter part of the article.

Why is it important to have a SIN while opening a bank account?

Entering your SIN is the first step for filing tax returns and it acts as an identification tool. It is vital that you link your bank account with SIN, in order to evaluate your assessable income, precisely. This assessable income includes the interest received from your bank account too.

SIN and bank account for international students

It is essential for international students to have a functional bank account in Canada, for them to receive money from their homeland. Some students commence part-time jobs to support their living expenses whilst studying. In such cases, it is important that they have a bank account to receive their salaries.

Hence, international students are eligible to apply for their SIN in both online and offline modes, depending on their convenience. However, their SIN comes with an expiry date that is the same as their study or work permit. If a student contemplates extending their education or taking up post-graduation work in Canada, he/she is obliged to extend their SIN’s validity period.

Exemption from having a SIN

The only way to open a bank account in Canada, without having a SIN is when you are a tourist with a ‘Temporary Resident Visa’ (TRV).

As we had already disclosed, interest earned from your bank account also forms a part of your assessable income in Canada, hence, it is important that you open an interest-free bank account that simply acts as a transactional tool.

A few banks provide a zero-interest bank account for tourists that don’t require a SIN and some of them are:

  • Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

SIN and Canadian bank accounts

It is compulsory that you disclose your current and valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), to open a bank account in Canada unless you are a tourist with a ‘Temporary Resident Visa’ (TRV), who wants to have an interest-free bank account.

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Categories: Canada
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