National Insurance

Everyone who wants to work in the UK needs to have a National Insurance number (NINO).

Your NINO is your own personal account number and makes sure that you pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contributions. It also acts as a reference number for the whole social security system in the UK. 

How and when to apply for a NINO

You can apply for a NINO while you are looking for paid work. You can start working before you have a NINO, but you must apply for one once you get a job.

When you apply, you may be asked to prove you are looking for work, so keep a copy of any job applications.

To get a NINO call JobCentre Plus on 0800 141 2075, which will connect you to the National Insurance Number Allocation Service. You will hear a recorded announcement in English; please wait until someone answers the phone.

You may be sent a letter asking you to attend an appointment at the Job Centre. The letter will tell you which where and when to go and which documents to take, but these might include your BRP, passport, payslips or a letter from your employer confirming that you'll be working for them.

How long will it take to get my NINO?

It's likely to take a few weeks to get your NINO, but they will tell you how long when you attend your appointment. Remember that you can start to work before you have a NINO - just make sure to apply once you have a job.

Your employer must pay your wages once you start work. They cannot refuse to pay you even if you are still waiting for your NINO to be issued.


Last updated 4/03/2019 JCD