National Insurance (NI) numbers are used in the United Kingdom for social security and tax purposes, so if you don’t have one already, it’s important to apply as soon as you can.
Please note: there’s a different process if you’ve lost your National Insurance number.
When you’re moving to the UK
You may have a NI number printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP). You don’t need to apply if you already have one, or one is printed on the back of your BRP.
If you don’t have one on the back of your BRP, you can only apply once you arrive in the UK and it can take up to 8 weeks to get your NI number once you have proven your identity.
Can you work whilst you wait for your NI number?
Since it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your NI number, we are asked frequently if you can start work before it arrives. The answer is: yes, you can – as long as you can prove you can work in the UK. This is something we will help you with upon your arrival.
Even though you can work whilst you wait, you should make sure you send your NI number to your employer as soon as you receive it.
How to apply
You will need to apply online and prove your identity to get your National Insurance number.
You might need to enter information from one or more of these documents (if applicable):
- A passport from any country
- A biometric residence permit (BRP)
- A national identity card from an EU country, Norway, Lichtenstein, or Switzerland
If you do not have any of these documents, you can still apply but may need to attend an appointment in person to prove your identity.
If you can, you will also need to take and upload:
- A photo of yourself holding your passport
- Photos of other identity documents
If you cannot upload photos, you can still apply online but your application will take longer. You may also need to attend an appointment or post photocopies of your documents.
Get help with your application
We’re here to guide you through every part of your relocation to the UK, including applying for your National Insurance number. Please feel free to reach out to our experienced and friendly team for advice!
You can also reach out to the National Insurance number application helpline (England, Scotland, and Wales):
Telephone: 0800 141 2079
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
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