Every person born in the United States receives a social security number.  This unique numerical identifier stays with you for your entire life, picking up data as you earn wages, pay taxes, and nuance other benefits.  Anyone who moves to the United States can also get a social security number if this immigrant goes through something called “naturalization”.  This, of course, can take a long time, but as long as you are working on the naturalization process—and remain a documented immigrant—most of the benefits available to natural born American citizens will be available to you as an immigrant (even if your citizenship has not yet been finalized).

In Canada, the equivalent of the Social Security Number is the Social Insurance Number and it works pretty much the same way as the SSN in America.  Canada is different, however, in that someone who immigrates to the country cannot get a Social Insurance Number. Instead, immigrants to Canada can apply for an Individual Tax Number, or ITN.

Who Can Get An Individual Tax Number?

There are, essentially, only two groups of people who will need to fill out Clearit itn requests upon moving to Canada:

  • International students who are technically not permanent residents but have received a scholarship or other monetary award, because these technically qualify as income
  • Any person who wishes to file a Canadian tax return (and/or participate in any other government program)

When Should I Get My Individual Tax Number?

If you are, indeed, moving to Canada—and you fall into one of the two categories—you need to file your tax return, basically, before tax season. Essentially, you should apply for this Individual Tax Number as soon as possible—even before you make the move—because it can take as long as 8 weeks to process.  To be honest, the earlier you can get started on this process, the better off you will be.

And to help you, visit this url to download the Individual Tax Number application and to find other instructions and information that can assist you in the Individual Tax Number application process:


About The Author

Lyle Hollar