What is a National Insurance number and how to apply for it



A National Insurance number is a personal account number used in the UK in the administration of the National Insurance or social security system as well as for some purposes in the tax system.

A foreign national must have the right to work or study in the UK in order to get a National Insurance number.

It is only possible to apply for the National Insurance number once you’ve come to the UK.

You can apply by phone for a National Insurance number.

The National Insurance number application line
– Telephone: 0345 600 0643
– Textphone: 0345 600 0644
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

-Welsh language: 0345 602 1491
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm

What to do if you’ve lost your National Insurance number
If you have lost your National Insurance number, you should fill in form CA5403 or call the National Insurance numbers helpline.

Can you start working without a National Insurance number?
Yes, if you can prove you have legal right to work in the UK, you can start work before your National Insurance number arrives. All you need to do is tell your employer that you’ve applied for the National Insurance number, and give it to them when you have it.

National Insurance number interview
You may receive a letter from the Jobcentre Plus asking you to come for 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, e.g.: passport or identity card; residence permit; birth or adoption certificate; marriage or civil partnership certificate; or driving licence.

At the interview you’ll be informed how long it’ll take to receive your National Insurance number.

What to do if you turned 16 but didn’t get a National Insurance number

Normally the National Insurance number is sent automatically just before your 16th birthday if you live in the UK.

In case you didn’t receive yours and you are under 20, please call the National Insurance numbers helpline.

And if you’re over 20 and haven’t been sent one, call the Jobcentre Plus application line.

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