UK - National Insurance Number

Death and taxes. Nothing in life is certain but them, we’re told, and you don’t escape this truth when you move overseas.

In order to work and earn – and pay taxes – in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a National Insurance Number (NIN). The NIN works in much the same way as a Tax File Number (TFN) in Australia, and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) in New Zealand.

Why do you need an NIN?

Your NIN is used for deducting both tax and national insurance from your earnings. It’s also used as a reference for the benefits and tax credits system in the UK (things like the NHS). You’ll need to quote your NIN in almost all government communications, from National Health Service use, HM Revenue and Customs queries, and interactions with the Department for Work and Pension.

If you don’t own an NIN when you start work you’ll have to pay a messy emergency tax, so it’s best if you sort it as soon as possible!

How do you get an NIN?

In order to apply for an NIN, you need to be within the United Kingdom. This means that it cannot be organised prior to your arrival. So, once you’ve arrived in the UK, you’ll first need to contact the National Insurance Number application line (the details can be found below). On the call they will ask you a series of identifying and qualifying questions about your visa status and place of residence in the UK.

From the information gained from that call, it will be determined whether you’ll be required to attend an interview at a local Job Centre branch. More commonly though, an application form will be sent to you in the mail. Within a few weeks of completing and returning the form, you’ll be the proud owner of an NIN! Let’s pay some tax.

National Insurance Number application line

Telephone: 0345 600 0643

Textphone: 0345 600 0644


Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Read more about applying for a National Insurance Number.