Movebubble - Doing it for renters  the header image

How to get a National Insurance number in the UK


How to get a National Insurance number in the UK

How to get a National Insurance number in the UK The UK National Insurance number has been an obligatory part of working in the UK since it was introduced as part of the National ...

How to get a National Insurance number in the UK

The UK National Insurance number has been an obligatory part of working in the UK since it was introduced as part of the National Insurance Act in 1911, and ensures that every employed citizen over the age of 16 provides a regular contribution to welfare, healthcare and state pension services. While it may sound a little complicated, the process is actually relatively straightforward. Read on for all the information you could possible need on the what, why, when and how to get a National Insurance number in the UK, for both EU Residents and Non-EU residents.

What is a National Insurance Number?

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Also referred to as an ‘NI’ number, a National Insurance number is the unique code (made of numbers and letters) given to every UK citizen who is eligible to pay contributions. Residents automatically receive one just before their 16th birthday, and your NI number remains the same for life, even if you marry, change names or move abroad. The National Insurance number records your personal National Insurance contributions and taxes, for every job you have during your lifetime. It also allows you access to NHS services, benefits, and to register to vote in the UK elections.

When do you need one?

You can only apply for a National Insurance number once you’re in the UK and have a postal address and phone number. However, it is possible to start your new job in the UK before your National Insurance number has arrived. It’s a relatively common situation and your employer can provide you with a temporary number, but you will need to organise your permanent NI number as soon as possible (see below for details on how).

Who needs one?

Everyone over the age of 16 who is either employed or self-employed in the UK, needs an NI number. As soon as your income rises above a certain threshold, you are eligible to pay taxes and National Insurance contributions. For the 2015/16 tax year, this threshold is £155 per week to pay National Insurance contributions, and you’ll be required to pay 12% of your income as a contribution.

Process for European Citizens


Photo credit:

Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a National Insurance number online. Applicants must call the  Jobcentre Plus – National Insurance number allocation service to request one. Phone: 0345 600 0643 Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm During the call you will be asked a few questions about your residential and employment status, and will be given an appointment at your local Job Centre Plus, depending on availability. You’ll then be sent a text and a letter to confirm this appointment. On the day, make sure you bring all your identification documents such as:
  • passport/identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth/adoption certificate
  • marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence
  • work contract
  • proof of employment/studies
  • proof of address (rental agreement, letter or bill)
You’ll be asked a few questions about your reasons for needing a National Insurance number, and if everything is in order after filling out a few forms, you should be sent your number within three weeks.

Process for Non-European Citizens


Photo credit:

The process of applying for a National Insurance number is the same for Non-EU citizens, although you must have the right to work or study in the UK to obtain it. However, if you come from a country that has a bilateral agreement on social security with the UK (and a certificate to prove it), you do not have to pay National Insurance or obtain a number. These countries are: Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Isle of Man, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Guernsey, Republic of Korea, Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, and the USA.

What if you lose your National Insurance card?

If you lose your National Insurance Card but have used the number for any previous or current employment, you should be able to find it on your tax return, payslips or P60. If not, you can either phone the National Insurance helpline and answer a few questions, or fill out form CA5403 on the official government website and send it to the National Insurance Office to get written confirmation of your number. HM Revenue and Customs are unable to tell you your National Insurance number over the phone. National Insurance Helpline: 0300 200 3502 Download form CA5403  

Hello! I'm Cat Byers, one of Movebubble's resident experts and researchers, alongside my work as a freelance writer, photographer and food stylist. My work keeps me up to date on the best new food events and openings in London, so I love to write about new pop-ups and places to go out! I also write London area guides, advice and information for renters.

Comments ( 177 )

  1. ReplySaj
    Hey one of my friends has a Italian passport he's lived there for 13 years l.. What's the process of him coming here for work??? What does he need too do exactly??
  2. ReplyJennyO
    Hi. This is also a question about a Blue Badge. I am Australian, 72, and have permanent residency in the UK. I have lived here since 2010 but have never needed a NI number as I haven't worked here. I get the Australian pension and have an Australian passport, as I don't actually have citizenship here. I am wanting to apply for a Blue Badge as I have been having severe hip and knee problems all this year which are getting worse. I think I would fit the criterion for difficulty of walking, as I am finding it very painful to walk even a few steps, but it seems they require a NI number. There is no such thing in Australia, so I am a bit puzzled as to how it all works. Can anyone help? I might try the number given in the post above too.
  3. ReplyPaul
    Hi there, i`m a student from Romania and I`m studying mfa fine arts in London UK. I need a national insurance number in order to apply for a loan to be able to pay my studies. Every time i phone to that number (0345 600 0643) they are busy so how can I speak to someone ? It is imposible that every day of the week to be busy and i phone 2-3 hours per day. Are any other methods to get national insurance number ?
  4. ReplyBeatriz
    Hi, I'm in London looking for a job but I have a doubt, What documents are necessary for doing the National Insurence Number? Only the Identification ducument? So, the Proof of Address it's not necessary for de NIN? Thank you so much.
  5. ReplyIra
    Hello Everybody! I am calling 03456000643 in order to apply for a NINO for the last two days and it is constantly busy. Is there any alternative way? I am in a rush to start getting paid soon and this is so annoying! Thank you!
  6. ReplyAlena32
    Hi, I am originally from Slovakia. I have - Isle of Man National insurance Number. I came to work to Isle of Man in 2008, applied for a NIN and worked and stayed there only for about 2-3 months. But then in 2009 I moved permanently to UK and since 2009 til now 2017 I have been living and working -using NIN from Isle of Man. Does it mean that all my contributions go there to Isle of Man? But what about my benefits if i want to use them in future ( like Maternity allowance, state pension etc) Do I have to make a request to Isle of Man? Do I have to use this isle of man national insurance number for the rest of my life even when planning to stay permanently here in UK? Or is it possible to change it somehow? Thank you for any advice. Many thanks. Alena
  7. Replycharlie
    Hi there, My partner is moving to the UK from Guernsey, What is the process in gaining a NI Number?
  8. ReplyBen
    Hello there, thanks for the info. I hold a dual citizenship, Australian (born there) and just recently got a British passport. Having acquired my British passport, is there a shortcut process for getting my NI number due to now being a citizen (i.e was there a number created for me when I was issued my passport/citizenship?) or do I need to still apply for one once I move to the UK? I will be moving there within a month and looking for a house and job, needing to open a bank account, phone number etc. it seems I can’t get one without the other.. haha help?
  9. ReplyCathe
    Hi, I had an idea get my father from Czech republic to England to work instead me while I am on holiday for 3 weeks on January. But there is little bit problem with national insurance number..I guess he needs to apply for it while he is in England and then an invitation for an appointment can takes few weeks and in this time maybe he will be away from England. Or is it chance go to this an appointment instead him? I think it doesnt sounds realistic, right? Thank you for your answer.
  10. Replybruce
    i have moved to UK to buy a house, retiring at 67 with a british passport. National insurance number seems to be needed for so many registration items. how do I get one when i will not be working or if so self-emplyed?

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.