Getting a UK National Insurance Number

When you move to the UK you must apply for a National Insurance number.

A UK National Insurance number is like a personal ID or account number. (Like the PPS number in Ireland).
It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the UK Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

You will need a National Insurance Number (NINO) to work in the UK or to claim any benefits or tax credits

If you are claiming welfare benefits – your application for a new national insurance number will be made as part of the benefit claim process.

If you are starting work or setting up as self-employed you will need a National Insurance number.

It is  not mandatory to have a National Insurance number before starting work. But , many employers insist on potential employees producing an NI number before giving them a job.

To start the process you have to telephone Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643 (lines are open 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday) .

If you are not an EU citizen  you will be asked  why you want an NI number. If you don’t already have a job or job offer, then you need to say you want to be self-employed (as long as your UK visa allows this). Otherwise they may not let you apply.

They will then ask for your visa type, end date of your visa, your nationality, the first time you entered the UK, your name, and your address. So have this information ready before you call. If you are a non-EU citizen AND you first came to the UK in the last few months, you will get a postal application. If not you will need to schedule an appointment at a Jobcentre Plus

You will possibly have to attend an ‘Evidence of identity’ interview -.
You will need to bring some forms of ID with you to prove your identity. (originals, not photocopies)

For example a: * valid passport (UK or foreign)
* national identity card (UK or foreign)
* residence permit or residence card
* full birth or adoption certificate
* full marriage or civil partnership certificate
* driving licence (UK or foreign)

Temporay National Insurance Numbers

Do not use a temporary National Insurance number. It used to be allowed – but is not anymore. A temporary National Insurance number uses the prefix ‘TN’, the date of birth and M or F to denote gender e.g. TN131160M. These are no longer accepted and must not be used.