How to get a UK National Insurance number

October 23rd, 2016 | by Kimberly Gonzalez
How to get a UK National Insurance number

If you plan to find a job in the UK or you think you have a claim for certain benefits from the state, a National Insurance number (abbreviated to NI number or NINO) is necessary. Other than being at least 16 or over, you also need to have a residence in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. You have the option to begin working without an NI number but you still have to apply for one immediately (More info: So, if you are already employed or you are planning to start working, talk to your employer so you can apply for a temporary and then your permanent National Insurance number.

National Insurance number – basic facts

The primary function of an NI number is to keep track of your National Insurance contributions and taxes the law obliges you to pay. Every working citizen who earns more than 155 pounds per week has to pay these contributions. Furthermore, the NI number will follow you for the rest of your life, serving as the main reference code by which the social security system will recognize you. It will also be of use when you deal with the HMRC or Department for Work and pensions, for example. NINO is unique for every citizen and you can never use other people’s NINO. Once you reach 16 years of age, you can apply for a NINO number, you personal combination of letters and numbers (two letters, six numbers and one more letter, to be exact).

Who gives me my NI number?

The usual process for UK citizens is that they receive their NI number just before they turn 16. If, by some chance, you do not get your number and you are between 16 and 20 years of age, make sure you contact the National Insurance number helpline.

Also, if you are not a UK citizen and you wish to work and live in the UK, you will need an NI number. You have to contact the Jobcentre Plus. This service is responsible for everything concerning NI numbers. You will have to answer a couple of questions which mainly concern your employment status and you address. Once this has been cleared, an apointment will be set up. We advise you to bring as much of important identification documents to the apointment, such as your passport, driving licence, identity card, residence permit, birth certificate, work contract, proof or employment and address and so on. If everything is in order, your NI number should be in your mailbox in about three weeks time.

This procedure is the same for EU and non-EU citizens, with the only difference that non-EU citizens need the prove their right to work or study in the UK. Some countries out of the EU have signed an agreement with the UK concerning social security. This agreement allows the citizens of these countries to obtain a National Insurance number without having  to pay National Insurance.

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Kimberly Gonzalez

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