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A National Insurance Number is a unique reference number given to each individual in the UK to track their National Insurance Contributions. Here’s everything you need to know about it, why you have one and how to find it – even if you have lost it!

What is a National Insurance Number

A National Insurance Number follows a specific format.  That is 2 letters 6 Digits and 1 Letter.  Here is an example: AA 123456 C.

What is National Insurance

National Insurance is a scheme set up in the UK.  By paying into the scheme it entitles UK  contributors to certain state benefits such as:

  • Unemployment benefits,
  • Statutory sick pay,
  • Maternity pay
  • State pension.

How Do You Get a National Insurance Number

Anyone born and living in the UK will be issued a National Insurance Number just before they turn 16 years old.  This is sent out by post.

If you are moving to the UK or planning to do so, then you may need to apply for one. You must make sure you have a National Insurance Number to have the right to study or work in the UK.

How to Apply to Get a National Insurance Number

Here are the step you need to follow you apply to get a UK National Insurance Number:

1. Secure an UK Address and UK Phone Number

In order to apply for a National Insurance Number you need to have UK Address and UK phone number.

2. Call the National Insurance Number Application Line

To begin the application process you’ll need to start by phoning the National Insurance Number Application Line.  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.


3. Attend the National Insurance Job Centre Plus Interview

At the Job Centre Plus 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 National Insurance Interview you will:

  • Given a temporary national insurance number (so you can start work);
  • Be told how long it will take for you to receive your permanent National Insurance Number.

Where to Find Your National Insurance Number

You can find your National Insurance Number in lots of places such as:

What to Do If You’ve Lost Your National Insurance Number

If you cannot find your National Insurance Number then you can either write or call HMRC.  Here’s how:

By Post

Fill out the online form CA5403 here. Then print and post it.

By Phone

Contact the National Insurance Number Helpline Number on 0300 200 3500.

You will have to get through security checks and they will then post out your National Insurance Number to you.

Due to the confidential nature of your National Insurance Number it will not be given to you over the phone. Any reminders will be sent out to you by post and can take up to 15 working days.


How Much National Insurance Will You Pay

The amount of National Insurance you pay depends on your employment status – whether you are employed or self employed.

National Insurance When You Are Employed

As an employee you pay Class 1 National Insurance.  The amount you pay is based on your gross salary and the rates for 2018/2019 are:

Gross Salary Class 1 National Insurance rate
£162 to £892 a week (£702 to £3,863 a month) 12%
Over £892 a week (£3,863 a month) 2%

Read the Full Guide to National Insurance Rates for 2018/2019.

National Insurance When You Are Self Employed

When you are self employed you must pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance.  The amount you pay is based on your self employment profits. It is declared on a Self Assessment Tax Return Form due by 31 January each year (along with any payment due).

Here are the Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance Rates for 2018/2019:

National Insurance Class National Insurance Rates 2018/2019
Class 2  £2.95 a week on taxable profits above £6,025
Class 4 9% on profits between £8,425 and £45,000
2% on profits over £46,350

Read the Full Guide to Tax and National Insurance When You’re Self Employed.

The National Insurance Helpline Number

If you still have questions or are unsure of any details then contact the National Insurance Helpline on 0300 200 3500.