What is a National Insurance number (NINo)?

A national insurance number (NINO) is a number unique to you which is used to keep track of your national insurance contributions and the benefits which you are paid. The number is made up of two letters, six numbers and one letter, for example, AB 123456 C. You must not let anyone else use your number.

You don’t have a legal right to a national insurance number, but you are legally obliged to apply for one if you start work, or if you (or your partner) claim benefit.

Why do I need a National Insurance number?

If you start work or set up as self-employed you must apply for a National Insurance number if you do not have one.

Your National Insurance number is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name, and you pay the correct amount of tax. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

How many days will it take to get my NI number?

By using our Fast Track service, it can take just a few weeks rather than several months to get hold of your National Insurance number, meaning you can start work and pay the correct amount of tax quicker. Not having a National Insurance number can be costly as your employer may put you on an ’emergency tax’ rate, so its best to get a number as soon as possible.

EU Citizens:

Your interview will usually take place between 3 and 14 days of your application, depending on location and availability
You should then receive your number 2 to 4 weeks after the interview

Non-EU Citizens

You will receive an Application Pack by post usually within 10 to 14 days of your online application
Once you have completed the Application Pack and sent it back, you should then receive your number 2 to 4 weeks later
If your visa was issued in the UK, you will need to attend an interview instead of completing an Application Pack

Do I have to have a UK work visa before I apply?

You will be expected to provide evidence to prove you have a right to work in the UK. If you don’t have the right to work in the UK, you won’t be entitled to a National Insurance number.

You will not be issued with a number until your interviewing office is satisfied that you have proved your identity. Some people may have problems because they do not have the documents usually accepted as evidence.

What documents will I need to take to the interview?

At your ‘Evidence Of Identity’ interview, you will be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

Bring as many ‘identity documents’ (originals, not photocopies) as you can to your interview. Examples of documents which count are::

    • valid passport (UK or foreign)
    • national identity card (UK or foreign)
    • residence permit or residence card including biometric immigration residency documents
    • full birth or adoption certificate
    • full marriage or civil partnership certificate
    • driving licence (UK or foreign)
    • proof of UK address (temporary or permanent address)

If you don’t have any of these – or other – identity documents you still must go to the interview. The information you are able to provide might be enough to prove your identity.

How do I apply for a National Insurance number?

The quickest way to apply for your National Insurance number is through our standard ‘Fast Track’ service, which we don’t charge a premium for. We process ALL applications within 1 working day, and will process within a few hours if we are able to do so.

Will I have to pay National Insurance?

You usually only have to pay national insurance contributions if you are employed or self-employed in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, and you live here.

If you are an employee or self-employed under pension age, you have to pay national insurance contributions on part of your earnings or profits if you are self employed. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn. You might not have to pay any contributions if your earnings are lower than a certain amount called the primary threshold.

When will I get my reminder letter?

If you have asked for your form to be sent to you by email, it will be emailed to the email address you have supplied within 2 working hours. You will need to complete the form, then print it and sign it, and return it to the address specified.

If you have asked for you form to be posted out to you, all applications received before 2pm, we post the forms out on the same working day for your signature. You need to return the signed forms right away, and you should then get your reminder letter in 7 to 10 days. Please note that all forms are posted using Royal Mail 1st Class Standard Delivery. If yours doesn’t arrive in this time, please let us know, and we will email you an application form.

Should I Report Changes in My Circumstances?

Yes, if you marry or divorce or change your current home address you must inform (HMRC) of these changes. Failure to do so can result in problems paying your National Insurance and likewise claiming state pension as and when you are entitled to. You should keep them up to date with any change in circumstance or address so that they can keep their records up to date also – this also helps reduce the risk of identity theft.

What happens if I want to cancel my application?

If your application has already been processed, no refund will be able to be given. If you application hasn’t been processed when you inform us you wish to cancel, a £10 administration fee will apply, and you will be refunded any excess funds.

I hope you have have found our FAQs (frequently asked questions) page helpful If you have any further questions, please contact us.