• kristenevelyn

National Insurance 101

What is National Insurance?

Your National Insurance number is your U.K social security number. Through it, you pay monthly tax that pays into the national social security system.

The money is distributed between:

  • NHS (health insurance. Although if you are still on a visa you pay an additional surcharge for this upon application.

  • UK state pension which you will receive upon retirement

  • Unemployment benefits (welfare). If you are on a visa you are not eligible for UK unemployment.

  • Sickness & disability (again, not eligible if you are on a visa).

The amount of tax you pay will depend on your weekly/monthly earnings. You must still pay if you are self-employed but the amount varies.

To legally work in the U.K you MUST have an NI number!

It takes several weeks for your number to be processed may start working before you receive your number, but you will have to prove you have already registered.

For official, UK government information please visit


Note: Your NI # does not count as a proof of identity.

How to Apply?

Your first step is to call: Telephone: 0800 141 2075 Textphone: 0800 141 2438 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Government website link

Most commonly, the service will ask you a few questions and then you will be given an appointment, often referred to as an "interview" at your local Job Centre Plus.

NextYou will be sent a letter confirming your appointment. Don't worry, it's not really an interview, it is just a meeting for you to fill out the application and submit a few documents including your passport, proof of address, residence permit, etc.


After the "interview" you should receive your number within 3--4 weeks.

Be sure to keep this paper in your files!

Alternatively, when you initially call they may say they will send you an application.

If this happens, you will receive the application within 2 weeks.

  • Fill out the application and mail it back along with copies of your passport, proof of address, and BRP card.

  • You will receive your National Insurance number within 3-4 weeks.

When you start working. your employer's HR team will ask you for your number.