The Importance of an Individual Tax Number When You Move to Canada


When you live in the United States, especially in the North, traveling to Canada can be somewhat commonplace.  While it is not quite as simple as visiting another state, crossing the international border for a little weekend road trip is pretty simple.

Moving from the United States to Canada, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. Even though the border that the US and Canada share is the longest international border on the planet, and even though both countries share many social policies, they are, in fact, two different countries. And because of that, when you move from the United States to Canada, you will have to do a little paperwork and jump through a few proverbial hoops, especially if you plan to bring your car along with you.


In the United States, every citizen must have a social security number.  Someone who immigrates to the US will eventually get an SSN, too, and this will allow the new citizen to earn a legitimate income as well as participate in various social and government programs.

In Canada, every natural citizen has a Social Insurance Number. This number is assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (and, yes, it is a lot like the Internal Revenue Service, in the United States).  If you immigrate to Canada—and you want to participate in government programs—you will probably have to get an ITN.

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ITN stands for Individual Tax Number and it is basically the same thing as the SIN, in Canada, but for people who are not naturally born citizens.  People who move to Canada and want to participate in government programs (like income earnings and filing taxes) need an ITN. In addition, international students who have won a scholarship will also need an ITN (because that, technically, qualifies as a type of income).


In order to get your ITN, you need to take $30 to an appropriate agency and provide the necessary documentation for processing. This includes:

  • A photocopy of your passport’s biodata page
  • A photocopy of your entire Canada including the Canada entry stamp
  • Your study permit (if you are an international student who has received a scholarship)
  • Your ITN application

It is important to completely fill out the application and bring your required documents with you, as any discrepancies or errors will complicate—and likely prolong—the process.

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