If you want to work or claim benefits in the UK then you will need to have a National Insurance number (NINO).
Most people receive their National Insurance number automatically just before their 16th birthday. However, if you don’t have a National Insurance number, you may need to get one. Our guide explains what your National Insurance number is, when you should receive one automatically and how to get a National Insurance number if you don’t have one.
What is a National Insurance number?
Your National Insurance number is a number that is unique to you. It is used to keep track of your benefits and any national insurance contributions that you pay. The number is made up of two letters, six numbers and one letter – for example PF832459B.
If you start a job or you claim a benefit or tax credits, you’ll need to supply your National Insurance number. If you think you have a National Insurance number, but you are not sure what it is, you may find it on your payslip, benefits letter or your P60 form.
You can ask for help in finding your number from your nearest benefits office or HM Revenue and Customs (National Insurance Contributions Office). You can also ring the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006.
Getting a National Insurance Number automatically
If you’re under 16, living in the UK and your parent gets Child Benefit for you, you will automatically be registered for National Insurance. You’ll get your National Insurance number through the post just before your 16th birthday. If you don’t get your number automatically, you can contact the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 for advice.
While you don’t have a legal right to a National Insurance number, you are legally obliged to apply for one if you start work, or if you (or your partner) claim benefit.
How to get a National Insurance Number if you don’t have one
If you do not have a National Insurance number and you need one, you should telephone the National Employment NINO application number on 0845 600 0643 to arrange an interview at a local office.
The meeting will look to establish your identity and you will need to prove who you are. You can do this by taking along original copies of your birth certificate, driving licence or national identity card and letters from the Home Office.
At the meeting, you will also 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.
What if you have lost your National Insurance number?
If you can’t find your National Insurance number, you should contact HM Revenue and Customs. Remember that you may find it on your payslip, tax forms or on your benefits or tax credits award letter.
You may also have a National Insurance Card with your number, but as from 2010, replacement National Insurance cards will no longer be issued.