How to apply for a National Insurance number

Our experts tell you everything you need to know to get you started for National Insurance

Our experts at DSR Tax Claims know how hard it is to find good, quality information about HMRC’s National Insurance rules and regulations that is easy to understand, and that’s why we have created these handy guides to tell you everything you need to know. Our aim is to make life easier for our clients and that is why we want to share our expertise with you. You can also call our friendly team on 0330 122 9972 – we’re the tax experts you can trust.

How do you apply for a National Insurance number?

Most UK residents are issued with a National Insurance (NI) number by HMRC around their 16th birthday but if you are coming to work in the UK, you probably won’t have one. There is also the possibility that somehow HMRC have missed you or forgotten to send you your National Insurance (NI) number, even if you are a young UK resident. If you plan to work or apply for benefits in the UK, you will need a National Insurance (NI) number to do this so you will need to apply for one to HMRC.

To apply for an NI number, you need to phone the National Insurance Number Application line at HMRC. The numbers are as follows:

The lines are open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm. You can only apply by phone – not online – and only during these hours as there is no out-of-hours service.

You don’t use these number if you have lost your National Insurance number, only if you are applying for a new one.

What do you need to do if you are moving to the UK?

You might not need to do anything if you already have a National Insurance number printed on the back of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). If you already have an NI number or if you have one printed on the back of your BRP you are good to go – you don’t need to do anything else.

However, if you don’t already have an NI number or there isn’t one printed on the back of your BRP then you will need to apply for one and you can only apply for one once you are in the UK, not before you arrive. You will only be issued with a National Insurance number if you have the right to work or study in the UK – in any other instance, you won’t be issued with one by HMRC.

If you can prove you are entitled to work in the UK then you don’t have to wait for your National Insurance number to arrive before you start work but you need to let your employer know that you have applied for one, and your employer will need to know what it is when it arrives – this will be needed to deduct National Insurance from your earnings.

What are National Insurance number interviews?

You might be asked to attend an interview with JobCentre Plus if you have applied for a National Insurance number. In these interviews, you will be asked about your circumstances, such as why you need an NI number. If you are asked to attend one of these interviews, make sure you have all the information you are asked to bring. This information will be needed to prove your identity and might include such things as:

  • Your passport or identity card;

  • Your residence permit;

  • Your driving licence;

  • Your birth certificate or adoption certificate;

  • Your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.

The person who interviews you will be able to give you an idea of how long you will have to wait for your National Insurance number to be issued.

If you change address before you receive your new NI number, you must call the National Insurance application line to let them know your new address.

What if you turned 16 but didn’t receive your National Insurance number?

Although this doesn’t happen often, it is a possibility. You should receive your National Insurance number automatically before your 16th birthday, but if your birthday rolls around and you still haven’t received it, you need to get in touch. To do this, you need to call the National Insurance helpline. The numbers are as follows:

You can call between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday and between 8am and 4pm on Saturday.

This only applies if you are still under 20 when you discover you don’t have a National Insurance number. If you have already turned 20, you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number in the same way you would if you were coming to the UK to work.

How can DSR Tax Claims help?

We know that National Insurance can be a complicated affair, even with our helpful guide to tell you everything you might need to know. It can seem like an absolute minefield, but help is always available and you don’t need to battle through this alone. Our team of experts at DSR Tax Claims are always on hand to help our clients so call our friendly team on 0330 122 9972 – we’re the tax experts you can trust.

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