How to apply for your National Insurance number

Middle age senior woman sitting at the table at home working using computer laptop clueless and confused expression with arms and hands raised.

Getting a job in the UK requires you to have a National Insurance number. If you don’t have one or you’re not sure how to get one, here is a useful guide on how to apply for your National Insurance number.


What is a National Insurance number?

Your National Insurance number is a unique personal number, consisting of two letters, six digits and a final letter, that is used to ensure that your NI contributions and tax payments are correctly recorded against your name.

It is also used as a reference number throughout the social security system, including on correspondence with HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

How do you apply for a National Insurance number?

If you live in the UK and were included in a child benefit claim, then you should have been issued with a National Insurance number automatically before your 16th birthday.

Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for one once you start working or if you plan to pay Class 3 voluntary National Insurance contributions. Such contributions are paid by people who want to avoid gaps in their National Insurance record.

You can apply on the website. You will need to prove your identity as part of your application, and you can do so using one of these documents:

  • A passport from any country
  • A biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • A National Identity card from a country in the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

You can still apply if you do not have any of these documents, but you might need to attend an interview to prove your identity.

According to HMRC, once your identity has been confirmed, it can take up to 16 weeks for you to get your National Insurance number.


Can you start work without a National Insurance number?

You can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. But you must then apply for one immediately.

However, you do not need a National Insurance number to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Do you need to apply for a new number if you’ve lost or forgotten it?

If you have lost or forgotten your National Insurance number, you do not need to apply for a new one. You only get issued with one number throughout your lifetime which cannot be changed.

You might be able to find your lost or forgotten number on official paperwork, such as:

  • A P60
  • A copy of your self-assessment tax return
  • Other forms and letters from HMRC or the DWP

You can also find the number in the ‘National Insurance’ section of your personal tax account. And if you still can’t find your number, you can:

  • Opt to complete and return a CA5403 form to the address on the form
  • Contact the National Insurance helpline on 0845 915 7006 and answer some questions.

Keep in mind that HMRC will not tell you your National Insurance number over the phone, but will instead post it to you.

A word of caution

Beware of National Insurance number scams involving phone calls or texts telling you that your number will be cancelled due to ‘unethical or fraudulent activities’, or that it has been compromised and you need to get a new one.

This is a phishing attempt that could lead to identity theft and possible financial fraud. Remember that your National Insurance number is only issued once. It does not expire and cannot be cancelled.

The post How to apply for your National Insurance number appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

5 Stocks For Trying To Build Wealth After 50

Markets around the world are reeling from the coronavirus pandemic…

And with so many great companies trading at what look to be ‘discount-bin’ prices, now could be the time for savvy investors to snap up some potential bargains.

But whether you’re a newbie investor or a seasoned pro, deciding which stocks to add to your shopping list can be daunting prospect during such unprecedented times.

Fortunately, The Motley Fool is here to help: our UK Chief Investment Officer and his analyst team have short-listed five companies that they believe STILL boast significant long-term growth prospects despite the global lock-down…

You see, here at The Motley Fool we don’t believe “over-trading” is the right path to financial freedom in retirement; instead, we advocate buying and holding (for AT LEAST three to five years) 15 or more quality companies, with shareholder-focused management teams at the helm.

That’s why we’re sharing the names of all five of these companies in a special investing report that you can download today for FREE. If you’re 50 or over, we believe these stocks could be a great fit for any well-diversified portfolio, and that you can consider building a position in all five right away.

Click here to claim your free copy of this special investing report now!

More reading

  • I’d buy these 5 shares in a stock market crash
  • After crashing nearly 40%, this FTSE 100 share could be a steal
  • 2 UK shares I’ll buy if stock markets crash!
  • This bull market could prevent a stock market crash
  • The ITV share price is falling. Should I buy now?