How to Apply for a UK National Insurance Number
To legally work in the UK, you must have a National Insurance number. While UK citizens are usually provided with these around their 16th birthday, those moving to the UK from overseas will need to apply for one. UK employers require a National Insurance number in order to legally employ you. It is used for deducting taxes, providing benefits, and every time you need to speak to the Inland Revenue. In this article, we’re going to explain how to apply for a National Insurance number.
The Documents Required
In order to apply for a National Insurance number, you will need a number of documents. These are as follows:
- Proof of address
- Proof of identity such as your passport
- Proof that you are eligible to work in the UK – EU citizens do not currently need to provide this, although those based elsewhere will need a relevant visa.
- Confirmation you are looking for a job – this could be something as simple as a reply to a job application, or something like a letter of provisional employment from an employer.
Detailed information about the documents you will need can be found on the HMRC website or from Job Centre Plus.
Scheduling an Interview
With the information above at hand, you can schedule an interview with HMRC. To do this, you can phone 0345 600 0643. During the interview, you will be asked a number of questions relating to your residency status, your purpose of remaining in the UK (saying you are coming here to work is fine), and you will be asked to show your documentation. You will then be provided with an estimated time of when you will receive your National Insurance number. As long as there are no hiccups in the application, you should receive your number within two weeks.
Temporary National Insurance Numbers
In the past, it was possible to receive a temporary National Insurance number while you were waiting for your official one to come through the post. This is no longer the case. That said, you are able to work while waiting for your number to arrive if you have a visa that states you are permitted to work in the UK. You should pass this information to your employer, let them know that you have applied, and the estimated timescale for receiving your NI number.
Lost National Insurance Numbers
Once you have been allocated a National Insurance number, you will be unable to apply for a new one. So, if you have a lost National Insurance number, you’ll need to take some steps to reclaim it. The easiest way to do this is to look on previous wage slips, if you have any, as it should be listed on these. Alternatively, you can find your number on the lostnationalinsurancenumber.co.uk website. You can also update your personal details here if they have changed since you first applied for an NI number.
Working in the UK is a dream for many, but it is important that you do everything legally and have a National Insurance number in place.