How to Get a National Insurance Number

Getting a national insurance number entitles you to not just work in the UK but also the right to claim certain state benefits.

Anyone born and living in the UK will get a NINO just before they turn 16 years old. 

It is sent out by post.

In years gone by you’ll also have received a national insurance card, but these were phased out from 2011.

If you are moving to the UK or planning to do so, then you may need to apply for a NINO from the Department of Work and Pensions (see below for more help).

You’ll need to obtain one so you have the right to study or work in the UK.

You can start work without a NINO but the law requires you to apply for one immediately and your employer will request it from you.

What is National Insurance

How to Apply to Get a National Insurance Number

Here are the steps you need to follow to get a UK NINO:

1. Secure an UK Address and UK Phone Number

You’ll need a UK address and UK phone number to get a NINO so make sure you have this set up before you start the application process. That means you’ll need to have arrived in the UK before you can apply.

It is possible to apply for your NINO once you have taken or been offered a job but not started it so you can speed up your NI Number application.

2. Call the UK NINO Application Line

To begin the application process you’ll need to start by phoning HMRC who are responsible for issuing UK NINOs.

Their number and opening hours are:

Telephone: 0800 141 2075 
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm

Your application will begin with confirming personal details about you, where you are from and your plans in the UK.

Once complete, you will be given a date and time for an interview at Job Centre Plus. 

Job Centre Plus has many locations around the UK so you’ll need to find the nearest one to you.

3. Attend the National Insurance Job Centre Plus Interview

At the interview you will be asked about your circumstances and why you want a National Insurance Number.

You will need to have documents ready for this interview such as:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

At the end of the Interview you will:

  • Given a temporary UK NINO (so you can start work);
  • Be told how long it will take for you to get your permanent National Insurance Number.
Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.