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.