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Applying for a National Insurance Number
What is a National Insurance number?

Every NI number is different. It's made up of letters and numbers.

Your NI number is your own personal number and you keep the same one all your life. Only you can use it.

Your NI number is used as a reference number for the whole benefits and tax credits system. It's also used for:
  • Making tax and National Insurance deductions through Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Recording your entitlement to the State Pension claiming
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Claiming Housing Benefit
Failure to obtain your NINO can affect your contribution records, delay payments of state benefits and possibly result in further expenditure to resolve the situation. Everyone who works in the UK must make National Insurance (NI) contributions.

When to apply for a National Insurance number

If you need to claim benefit (or if your partner needs to claim benefit for you) you'll have to apply for an NI number if you don't already have one. You can apply if you're aged 16 or over and you live in Great Britain.

You can also apply for an NI number if:
  • you're starting work
  • you're setting up as self-employed
  • you're looking for work
  • you want to make voluntary NI contributions and would benefit from paying them
How to apply

If you want to apply for an NI number to start work or make voluntary contributions - Telephone 0845 600 0643 (8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday). Jobcentre Plus will check to make sure:
  • that you need a NI number
  • you donít already have a NI number
Where you donít have a number but do need one Jobcentre Plus will arrange an Evidence of Identity (EOI) interview for you. Jobcentre Plus will confirm the date, time and location of the interview and will tell you what information/documentation to bring with you.

'Evidence of identity' interview

Jobcentre Plus will use this interview to check that you are who you say you are, where applicable, your eligibility to work in the United Kingdom and to protect your national insurance and security accounts.

What to expect

The interview will usually be one-to-one (unless, for example, you need an interpreter). The interviewer will ask you questions about who you are, why you want an NI number, your background and circumstances. The interviewer will also ask to see the information/documentation you were asked to bring with you to the interview. During the interview an application for an NI number form will be completed and you will be asked to sign this form.

What happens after the interview

If the application process was completed during the interview Jobcentre Plus will write to you to let you know if your application has been successful or not.

If Jobcentre Plus made arrangements, at the interview, for you to provide them with additional information you will need to do this by the agreed date. This will allow Jobcentre Plus to complete the application process, they will then write to you.

Please advise, either in writing or by email, of your National Insurance Number as soon as this is received.

Further information is available on the Department of Work and Pensions website:

LONDON: 18 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QL, T: 0207 268 3683, F: 0117 376 3737
BRISTOL: WestPoint, 78 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1QX, T: 0117 985 8919, F: 0117 376 3737
FREEPHONE: 0800 4346446  Email:  Website:
0800 434 6446 8am-8pm 7 days a week
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