National Insurance Number
How To Apply For An NI Number

See how to apply for your national insurance number or ni number here. Whether you are new to the UK or are applying for a replacement for a lost Ni number, you can do so in these easy steps outlined below. Also acquaint yourself with the different types of national insurance contributions, what Ni are for and who is entitled to applying for one.

National Insurance Number Card

National Insurance Number (NINo) is a number made up of two letters, six digits and an optional letter issued to everyone born in the UK just before their  sixteenth birth day.

If you are an adult overseas national looking to work or perhaps claim benefits or tax credits, you will need to apply and get a NiNo or ni number.

The National Insurance system is a fund created to provide protection to the unemployed, fund the National Health Service (NHS), as well as provide pension payments at retirement for all who qualify in the UK. Contributing to this fund also entitles you to:

  • Maternity allowance payments during your maternity leave
  • Job seeker's allowance
  • Bereavement allowance

It is expected that all who are able to work make a national insurance contribution towards this common fund once you earn more than £149 per week if you are employed by someone else, or £5725 a year, if you are self employed.

NI is used to trace each individual’s contribution into this fund. It is also used as a reference number to the social security system in the UK.

You need an NI number to give to your employer, if you are wanting to work in the UK so that they put away and track your tax and national insurance contributions.

It is however not necessary to have a national insurance number before you start working. Sadly, many employers insist on potential employees producing an NI before granting them job. This should not be. If you are a job seeker and  you are finding it difficult to get a job because of delay in getting an NI number, you or your employer by law, can create a temporary national insurance number for your use pending when a permanent  ni number is issued by the jobcentre plus. See below on how to create a temporary NI number.

How To Apply For A national Insurance Number

If you were not born in the UK and have the right to work, you will need to apply for an NI number.

An application is made to the Department for Works and Pension for National Insurance Number. This can be done via your local jobcentre (jobcentre plus).

You can also apply straight away over the telephone by calling Jobcentre Plus application line.  The National Insurance Number telephone number to apply for Ni number is  0845 600 0643.

They are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Welsh language users can phone: 0300 200 1900, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm. 

You will need to provide:

  • Proof of your identity. This could be your travelling document or international passport. It could also be your UK driving license if you have one.
  • Proof of your address. This is a document showing where you live. This document could be in the form of a utility bill, provisional driving license, bank statement or your tenancy agreement. If you are new to the UK and do not have a valid proof of address, see legally genuine ways of obtaining a valid proof of address at our proof of address page.
  • Proof that you are entitled to work in the UK. This could be the visa stamp page of your international passport or travel document showing entitlement to work. If you are a student, you may be required to provide a letter from your institution of learning that you have been enrolled into a course of study.
  • Proof that you are actively seeking work. Such evidence could include letters inviting you to attend interview, any correspondence from a potential employer, a letter or email acknowledging receipt of your application form, a letter stating that you have been unsuccessful at an interview, e.t.c. Some job centers will request you submit four of such evidence that you have been actively seeking employment. For those already employed, a payslip or letter of job offer, is all that is needed as proof of working.
  • Your employers name, full address and telephone number
  • The postcode of the area you live and work.

If you are sixteen and born here in the UK and have not received an NI number, call the above telephone number to speak with an adviser.

How To Create A Temporary NI Number

If you are asked for your NI number as a precondition to be offered a job, you can present a temporary NI. Ideally, it is your employer that ought to create a temporary NI number for you. It is also legal for you to create one by yourself.

As stated above, an NI number consists of two letters, six digits and an optional letter. That is the national insurance number format. With this NI format, you can create a temporary NINO by starting with the two letters as TN (standing for Temporary Number) then your date of birth in day, month and last two digits of the year, and the last optional letter by your sex.

If you were born on the 16th of March 1978, and you are female, your temporary national insurance number would be TN160378F.

If you were born on the 3rd of November 1982, and you are male, your temporary NI number would be TN031182M.

Temporary NI numbers are legal. Sadly, some employers who are not familiar with this will turn down the number if you tell them that it is temporary number. Ironically, they are supposed to issue you one if you do not have a NINO.

If you do not have an NI number, please do not use someone else’s Ni number, or worst still a fake national insurance number.

Using a fake national insurance number or someone else’s number will mean that all contributions you will be making will not be credited to you, but goes to that persons account.

You could be saving up a fat pension for someone else! Use a temporary NI number, and once you get a permanent NI, contact your pay roll or local tax office so that contributions you have made so far is credited to you account.

Dealing With A Lost national Insurance Number

If you have lost your national insurance number card or have forgotten your national insurance number and can not remember your NI, all you need to do is to look for the following items where your NINO will be:

  • Your wage slip
  • Your tax return
  • Your P60 or P45
  • Letters from Inland Revenue
  • Or phone your last employer for a copy.

If after these you still can not find your lost or forgotten National insurance number, you can contact the National Insurance Contribution office at:

National Insurance Contributions Office

Benton Park View


NE98 1ZZ

Tel: 0845 302 1479 or 0845 915 7006

The Different Types Of Ni Contributions And Who pays What

If you are an employee and earn more than £149 a week, your employer, by law, is required to deduct the so called Class 1 National Insurance contributions from your wage, before you get paid. The rates are:

  • 12% on your weekly earnings between £149 and £797
  • 2% on any weekly earnings over £797

If you are self employed, you are required to pay Class 2 national Insurance contributions by direct debit every month or once in six months. The rates paid varies, depending on your income. Currently, the rates are roughly:

  • £2.70 a week on earnings between £5,725 - £7,755
  • Class 4 NI contributions of 9% of profits up to £41,450 and 2% over that amount

The class 4 NI contributions are paid along side income tax.

If you run a limited company, you also pay Class 1 NI through your pay roll and class 4 on profit during tax return.

Failure to pay a National Insurance (NI) Contribution means that you will not be eligible to get certain NI dependent benefit and a full state pension.

National Insurance Number Problems? Get Help Here!

Are you looking to apply for an NI number, or did you move out of the UK for years and are back and looking to reinstate or reclaim your NiNo? Or perhaps you had your kids abroad and they are now 16years old or more and are moving back to the UK, and need an NI?

Whatever your experience or comments about National Insurance number are, share them here and we may be able to help.

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