fingers of a man holding a national insurance number

Apply for a National Insurance Number

If you’re new to the UK and have plans to work or claim benefits, it is crucial to apply for a National Insurance Number. Make sure you take the time to read the frequently asked questions section to gain a full understanding of the process. Discover what you can expect and be aware of any potential scams to watch out for.

To get started, simply click on the link provided below, and it will take you straight to the official national insurance number website.

It’s essential to start the process promptly to avoid being overtaxed. If you don’t have a National Insurance Number yet, you’ll be placed on “Emergency Tax,” which means a higher tax rate will apply. So, it’s in your best interest to submit your application as soon as possible. The good news is that you can reclaim any extra tax you’ve paid while waiting for your National Insurance number application to be processed.

To get started with your national insurance number application, simply click here. It’s important that you have your passport and visa documentation readily available. Before proceeding, please double-check your VISA, as some work visas may already have a national insurance number assigned to you. The application is done online and via post.

You should definitely give the National Insurance Number application helplines a call at 0800 141 2079 if you need any assistance or have any concerns.

Will i need to attend a National Insurance Number identity interview?

Please note that after completing your online application, the HMRC may require you to participate in an identity interview. Fortunately, these interviews are rarely requested and are only necessary if there are any issues with your VISA or travel document. While we understand that attending the interview may be inconvenient, it is unfortunately the only way to obtain a National Insurance Number.

The interview will take place at your local Job Centre Plus, which will be the closest one to the address you provided during the phone call. However, there is no need to be concerned about the appointment! During the interview, they will simply verify your documents and then you’ll be on your way. For a list of documents you will need, please refer to the FAQ section below

Is there a way to fast track my application?

No, there is absolutely no way too fast track the issuing of your National Insurance Number. No amount of money would be able to speed up the process. Please be careful of companies online claiming to be able to fast track your application. They are completely false statements and will end up costing you money.

What does a National Insurance Number look like?

A National Insurance Number consists of letters and numbers in the format AB 12 34 56 C.

apply for a national insurance number card example

I’ve already been issued a number, can I apply for a new one?

No, if you already have a number you are unable to apply for a new one. Your national insurance number is for life and cannot be changed. If you already have one you must go down a different route and find your national insurance number.

You can either sign into your government gateway account and print it straight out (quickest way) or phone the HMRC on 0300 200 3500.

If you are unable to request your national insurance number using the above methods you will need to fill in application form CA5403 or apply for a lost national insurance number.

What documents will i need to apply for a National Insurance Number?

Below is a list of documents you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number. You will need to bring all the required documents to your identity interview. When you phone the Department For Work and Pensions (DWP) they will tell you which ones they require from you.

  • Proof of address
  • Proof of photo ID
  • Your reference number
  • Visa information. Letter from home office if you do not have a visa issued yet
  • Proof of Dual nationality
  • Proof you are looking for work
  • Proof you are currently working
  • Proof of offer of employment

Proof of photo identification (ID). This would be a driving license, national identity card, and passport.

Proof of address. For proof of address you must use an addressed bank statement, rental contract or mortgage statement. There are other forms of verification such as recent utility bill (Gas, Electricity, Water, Line rental), current council tax bill and/or house or motor insurance certificate. The proof of address must be dated within the past 3 months.

Your reference number. This is the 9 digit reference number in which would have been issued to you whilst securing your appointment. You would have been given this number once your account had been crated. The number will be stated on your appointment confirmation letter. Alternatively if you applied via an agency, you would have confirmation of this on your appointment confirmation e-mail.

Proof that you are looking for work. You will need to show that you are actively looking for work. This would be evidence such as confirmation of submitted applications; dates of which you handed your curriculum vitae (CV) into companies, correspondence with company with offer work opportunities, job interview attendance, and rejection letters.

VISA information. NON-EU Citizens will need to bring all documentation from the Home Office, biometric residence permits (BRP) card, or VISA stamp in your passport. If you do not have a current VISA due to your application being processed, you will need to bring the letter from the Home Office that states that you are able to work in the U.K. whilst your application is being processed.

Proof of dual nationality. If you have more then one nationality you will need to show evidence of both.

How long does it take to get issued a National Insurance Number?

After you have sent over the requested documentation you will receive your National Insurance Number in the post within 6-9 weeks.

On average it takes 9 to 12 weeks from the date you first applied with the Department For Works and Pension (DWP) to get your National Insurance Number.

What to expect at my National Insurance Number identity interview?

During your identity interview you will be asked a series of questions. The questions will be about your work history and why you would like to apply for a National Insurance Number. The questions asked are not a test; there is no right or wrong answer. It is just to find out if you actually need a National Insurance Number. You do not need to currently have employment or even a positioned offered by the interview date to be issued a number. As long as you explain you are actively looking for work, you will be issued one.

The interview is to check the requested documents to ensure you have the right to work in the UK and that the information records that which they have on you is accurate and correct. Any spelling mistakes and inaccuracies made when first apply for a National Insurance Number over the phone will be corrected.

How long can I work in the UK without a National Insurance Number?

Currently you can work in the UK for 9 weeks without a National Insurance Number. You are able to work longer than that without one but you will be charged emergency tax. Emergency tax is a higher tax rate you will be charged so it would be beneficial to get your National Insurance Number as soon as possible to avoid paying more than you should. Some UK employers will require your National Insurance Number straight away.

You will need to explain to your employer that you have applied for a National Insurance Number and there is a waiting period of 6-9 weeks.

How do I rebook my National Insurance Number identity appointment?

To rebook your identity appointment you must contact the National Insurance Number helpline and request to rebook your appointment. When you contact them they will ask for your reference number (This will be given when you first arranged your appointment) and ask you some security questions. The security questions are normally your name, phone number and full address. You are able to rebook your appointment as many times as you like.

If you cannot remember your reference number the DWP are able to look up your record. They will ask for your family name and date of birth. Once they have your record they will continue with the security questions.

Why do I need a National Insurance Number?

National Insurance tax is used to pay for vital services in the UK. The contributions you make go towards free health care at the NHS, your state pensions, unemployment benefits and sickness benefits.

Paying National Insurance is a UK law and is a mandatory payment if you intend on working within the UK. Your National Insurance Number also acts as a reference number when contacting the HMRC to discuss your tax affairs, so it important to keep them updated on any personal details change.

All UK employers will need their employees National Insurance Number to ensure they are paying the correct amount of tax on your behalf. You risk being charged emergency tax if you do not have one.

If I leave the UK and return later, will I need to apply again?

No. Your National Insurance Number is valid for life. You only have to apply for a National Insurance Number once. Your number will not expire even if you leave the UK for a period of time.

How long is my National Insurance Number valid for?

Your National Insurance Number is valid for life. If you leave the UK for even a period of more than 30 years your National Insurance Number will still be valid on your return.

If you have changed your name or UK address you will need to contact the HMRC to update details. You are able to recover your lost National Insurance Number easily by contacting the National Insurance Number helpline.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below, our admin team or our community will be able to help. Please let us know if any of the above information has inaccuracies by sending an email to

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