How You Get A National Insurance Number

If you’re working in the UK or you need to claim benefits or tax credits then you’ll need a National Insurance (NI) number.

Most people receive a National Insurance number automatically.  However, there may be cases where you have to apply for a number.  Keep reading to find out more about your National Insurance number in addition to recent changes to the National Insurance card system.

What is your National Insurance number?

Your National Insurance number is unique to you.  You keep the same number all your life and it ensures that any tax and National Insurance contributions that you pay are correctly allocated to you.

Getting a National Insurance Number automatically

You will automatically be sent a National Insurance number just before your 16th birthday if you live in the UK and your parents/guardians are receiving Child Benefit for you.

Previously, you would have been sent a National Insurance card.  However, the Government have announced that cards will no longer be issued and you will receive your National Insurance number through the post.

How to apply for a National Insurance Number if you don’t have one

If you’re between 16 and 20 years old and haven’t received a National Insurance number, you should contact the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 for advice.

If you don’t already have a National Insurance number you must apply for one if:

  • You want to claim benefits and/or tax credits
  • You are starting work or you are setting up your own business and you have the right to work in the UK

When you apply for a National Insurance number, Jobcentre Plus will arrange an ‘Evidence of identity’ interview for you or send you a postal application.  Your ‘Evidence of identity’ interview will normally be on a one to one basis and you will be asked about why you need a National Insurance number and for some details about your circumstances and background.  You will also have to prove your identity via a valid passport, national identity card, a birth certificate or a driving licence.

During the interview a National Insurance number application form will be completed and you will be asked to sign it.

Receiving your National Insurance number

If your application is agreed by Jobcentre Plus you will be sent confirmation of your National Insurance number by post.  As mentioned above, you will no longer receive a National Insurance card.  However, it’s important to keep the letter confirming your NI number as you may need to refer to this in the future.

If relevant, you should tell your employer your National Insurance number as soon as you know it.

What if you have lost your National Insurance number?

If you can’t find your letter or National Insurance card, you may be able to find your National Insurance number on other official paperwork such as your payslip, your P60 or your PAYE Coding Notice.  If you still can’t find it you should contact HM Revenue and Customs.

As from 2010, replacement National Insurance cards will no longer be issued.


  1. Joanne Demirel says:

    I am a British citizen living in the Czech Republic. My daughter is 17 years old but has never lived in the UK but holds a British passport. How do I apply for a national insurance number for her?
    Thank you

  2. Danny says:

    Do you have to resend your letter to accept or confirm details give?
    If so, how long does it take to receive your official NI number?

  3. gita says:

    I am currently living on the isle of man with my husband who is a british citizen. I have a 2 year spousal visa. I am a work at heights trainer. I would only have work in the uk not IOM. Would I need to set myself up as self employed if I freelance for established training venues ? How would I go about getting an NI number? Help would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Jade says:

    My number hasn’t come and it’s my 16th very soon what shall I do

  5. steve m says:

    i am getting married to my bulgarian partner in a few weeks time, i am a uk citizen, how do we apply for a national insurance number for her in order for her to work, and is it straight forward

  6. arfan says:

    how do i apply for national insurance number for my wife, because i need to fill child tax credit form

  7. Ana Hristoforova says:

    Hello,I,m Bulgarian and self-employed in Uk for 7 months tried to take NINO in three interviews in job center plus in Sheffield but i have been refused -please advice me what to do ,they say they want to see checks from my clients -i have got agreements,references,invoices ,liability insurance,my accountant letter, advertisment of my business-what else i shall bring so to be accepted for NINO -i’m so despaired and confused but need to keep trying because my family is depended all on me.

  8. kelly says:

    i had my sons national insurace number come on a peace of paper and ive lost it how do i getthe number tocontact some body for the replacement letter i receved he does have his card yet and he 16 aswell

  9. Anthony Sullivan says:

    Do you need a permament adress in the UK to apply :ie i plan on moving to london in January and will be staying in hostels or with friends until i get work

  10. Waqas says:

    I was apply my IN in may
    They send me IN number letter but no IN card
    What i do now

  11. linda meechan says:

    my son turned 16 in october this year and has still not received his national unsurance number. who do I contact to get this rectified

  12. A Zubair. says:

    How You Get A National Insurance card? I already have my National Insurance number.

  13. charlotte hope devine says:

    i am british aged 15.5 years now living at a different address to where my family allowance was was up to a few months ago. this has now been sorted but at my grandparents address
    i need to be sure that this national insurance card comes to the correct address. can you advise please.

  14. ashley says:

    how do i apply for a national insurance card im 16 in 2 weeks but have not recieved a national insurance number yet could anybody tell me what to do.

  15. Sonnette says:

    I do have a national insuranse number. Do I also need a tax number, and if so where do I get it?

  16. Sonnette Johnstone says:

    I do have a national insurance number. Do I also need a tax number? and if so, how do I get it?

  17. Tom Wade says:

    I am 16 and have been for 6 months now, I never recieved as much as a letter regarding my national insurance number. I am a british born male and have never lived outside of the country; Could you please tell me where to go to get my number? Thanks 🙂

  18. Jacqueline Ginn says:

    We have lived in the middle east for ten yrs however we are British with British passports my 16 yr old son is returning to UK to attend boarding school how do I apply for a national insurance number.

  19. ivo says:

    how do i contact hm revenue and customs?

  20. Clive Brown says:

    my wife has just come to stay in the uk on a 2 year spouse visa and needs a national insurance number how do we get one

  21. curious says:

    why wasnt mine sent out to me before i was 16? cause i applied for one after and 2 months down the line i still dont have one. is there any other way i can get one if ringing them doesnt work?

  22. James S says:

    i have recently returned to the uk from living abroad for over 5 years. I am 18 years old and recently got my national insurance number from their central office in nottingham but they never gave me a card or anything they just wrote it on a peice of paper and i thought that would be it i never received anything from them in the post afterwards but didnt really give it too much thought….i am trying to apply for the navy and they are insisting i get one before i can go on and sign up i have the number but not the card what do i do?

  23. Wendy Kayrl Finnell says:

    I will be 60 on April 12th. Am I owed anything? I lived and worked in London for 24 year. I am now taking care of my aged Mother in Phoenix, Arizon. Would be grateful for information as to whom I could contact in regards. Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

  24. Holly says:

    how do i contact hm revenue and customs?

  25. Lucy says:

    What happens if i lose my letter? How do I re-obtain my national insurance number?

  26. Tax Fix says:

    Nigel – the rules changed in October 2011. National Insurance number cards are being replaced with letters. Young people who reach the age of 15 years and nine months will receive a National Insurance number notification letter instead of a plastic card.

    However, don’t worry that you won’t receive a card as it’s your National Insurance number that is important, not the card.

  27. Nigel R says:

    When do the rules for National Insurance cards change? I’ll be 16 in June 2012.

Leave a Reply