How to apply for a UK National Insurance Number

You've jumped through all the hoops - UK Visa Application, flights, travel insurance - and now you're in the UK, getting ready to kick off some time working and living abroad! So, what's next?

You're going to need a National Insurance Number!

What is a UK National Insurance Number?

The National Insurance number is a number used in the United Kingdom in the administration of the National Insurance or social security system. It is also used for some purposes in the UK tax system. The number is described by the United Kingdom government as a "personal account number". The number is sometimes referred to as a NIN or NINO.

In short, you need one, and you need to provide it to your UK employer to ensure you are taxed correctly!

If you’ve just moved to the UK...

You may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP). You don’t need to apply for a National Insurance number if you already have one, or one is printed on your BRP.

If you don’t have a National Insurance number, you must apply for one. You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

Working without a National Insurance Number...

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it.

When you begin work without an issued NIN, you will be put on something called an 'emergency tax code'. This means that you can begin working, but that you will be taxed at a higher rate (until you supply your new/issued NIN).

National Insurance Number interview....

Jobcentre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, such as:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

You’ll be told at the interview how long it’ll take to receive your National Insurance number.

If you change your address before you receive it, tell the Department for Work and Pensions by contacting the National Insurance number application line.

How to apply for a National Insurance Number?

You need to apply by phone for a National Insurance number once you are in the UK, and have confirmed employment. To apply, call the number below. They will take some information from you over the phone, and will then send out your application forms/package by mail.

Once you have received your application forms/package - just fill everything out in full, and return it by mail. 

You will be issued and will receive your NIN in 3-4 weeks time (in most cases). You are likely to receive a letter with your NIN first, with your NIN card to follow.

National Insurance number application line:
Telephone: 0800 141 2075
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (GMT)

For more information on your UK National Insurance number, go here: https://www.gov.uk/national-insurance