In order to work in the UK or claim benefits you need to have a National Insurance Number (NINO). To get one of these numbers you must be over 16 and be a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

While you can start work without a NINO you must apply for one as soon as you start working. If you don’t have a number but you intend to work then you legally need to apply for a NINO.

 

What is a National Insurance Number?

The National Insurance Number (NINO) allows the government to keep track of your National Insurance contributions and any taxes that you pay. Your NINO is also your reference number across the entire social security system, such as contacting the Department for Work and Pensions or HMRC.

While you have a unique NINO that is yours for life it doesn’t count as a form of ID. Legally you must never use someone else’s NINO. Everyone over 16 has (or should have) their own National Insurance Number.

A national insurance number is comprised of two letters, six numbers, and then one final letter. An example of a national insurance number is AB 12 34 56 C.

 

How to Get a National Insurance Number

People typically receive their National Insurance number before they turn 16. If you move to the UK to live and work in the UK then you need to apply for your National Insurance number. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) handles National Insurance numbers in England, Scotland and Wales. If you live in Northern Ireland then you will need to contact the Department for Social Development (DSD).

You can aslo apply for a National Insurance number in England, Scotland or Wales online from Ni Apply who handle to process for you to ensure it all goes smoothly.

Who Will Need my National Insurance Number?

You may need to share your National Insurance number to;

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Employment and pensions providers
  • The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • The Local Council
  • The Student Loans Company
  • If you want to open an ISA you may need to share your NINO with the bank or building society

You must never share your NINO with someone who does not need to know it.

What to do If You Forget your National Insurance Number

If you forget your national insurance number then you can probably find it on official documents such as your payslip from a job, your tax return, or a PAYE coding notice.

You can also contact HMRC and have them confirm your number by:

  • Completing the form CA5403 ‘Your National Insurance Number’ and submitting it to the HMRC; or
  • Contacting the National Insurance Helpline

No matter which service you use HMRC will send you a letter containing your National Insurance Number. They will never tell you what your NINO is over the phone.