If you’re moving to the UK to work, you’ll need to get a National Insurance Number for foreigners (NIN or NI Number). All citizens receive their number automatically in the mail when they turn 16, but if you’ve moved to the UK you’ll need to apply for yours manually.
Here’s what you need to know. In order to be eligible for a NIN, you must be in the UK and have the right to work or study in the UK.
How to get a National Insurance Number
Unfortunately, this application process isn’t online yet. To apply for a National Insurance Number, you’ll need to call the application line.
Telephone: 0800 141 2075
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Welsh language: 0800 141 2349
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
If you’ve received a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa (sometimes called a Working Holiday visa) you may be working with an immigration company like Swap Working Holidays. If that’s the case, Swap (or a company like BritBound in the UK) will provide you with help getting your National Insurance Number. In most cases, they will give you a form to fill out, return to them and they will finish up the process.
What’s Next? After you’ve applied for your NIN
In mail, you’ll receive a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions regarding an appointment at Jobcentre Plus. At the interview, you’ll be asked about your particular situation and why you need a National Insurance Number.
It’s vital that you bring all the recommended and required documents to the interview. A full list will be included in your initial letter, including things like:
- passport or identity card
- residence permit
- birth or adoption certificate
- marriage or civil partnership certificate
- driving licence
Can I work without a National Insurance Number?
There may be a small period of overlap where you’re legally working in the UK but haven’t received your National Insurance Number yet. Technically, you can start work before your NIN arrives.
Make sure to tell your employer that you’ve applied for a NIN but it hasn’t arrived yet. Once you’ve been given your NIN through the mail, let your employer know right away.
Without your NIN, you’ll need to prove you can legally work in the UK when you start your employment. You can do this by showing your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) that you receive when you first arrive in the UK. This card looks almost like a driving license but proves your visa status and ability to work or study in the UK.
Typically, you’ll need to show this at job interviews anyway, to prove you can legally work in the UK.
How long does it take to get a National Insurance Number?
It shouldn’t take long, but it also depends on your circumstance. It’s recommended to begin this process once you’ve settled into the UK so you’re receive your NI number quickly.
How to find my UK National Insurance Number?
Your letter at the end of the process will include your NIN. If you’ve lost this, there’s a few ways you can find your number.
- Your NI number will be listed on your payslip from your employer, on a P60 form or on any letters about tax, pensions and benefits.
- Your NI number can also be found through your personal tax account and download a confirmation letter.
- You can fill in form CA5403 and send it to the address on the form. You’ll then receive your number by the post again.
- Or, you can contact the National Insurance numbers application helpline and answer some questions. However, you’ll need to fill in form CA5403 if you cannot answer the questions.
It’s important to remember that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will not tell you your National Insurance number over the phone. You can only receive your NI number through them by the post. A letter from HMRC should arrive within 15 working days.
What is a National Insurance Number and why do I need it?
The National Insurance Number used in the UK is for the administration of the National Insurance system or social security system. It’s also used when calculating and administrating tax. The UK Government refer to the NI number as a “personal account number.” Every single UK resident has their own unique number.
How do I get a National Insurance Number in Northern Ireland?
Moving between the Republic and Northern Ireland can cause some confusion regarding a NI number. Those who need a NI number in Northern Ireland will need to call the Jobcentre Plus National Insurance helpline on +44 (0)845 600 0643.
The Republic of Ireland uses a Personal Public Service (PPS) number instead of a National Insurance Number. If you move between the two, you’ll need to make sure you have the right number in order to work.