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National Insurance Numbers

What is a National Insurance Number (NINO)?

A NINO is your personal account number for the UK Social Security System. The number makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded on your account. Every National Insurance number is different. It is made up of letters and numbers e.g. QQ 12 34 56 A.

What are National Insurance contributions?

The Inland Revenue collects National Insurance contributions. They go towards benefits such as a state pension, unemployment benefits and funding the National Health Service. 

Do I need a NINO to work in the UK?

Yes. If you intend to work while studying in the UK any employer will require you to provide them with your NINO. This allows them to pay your wages and make any applicable tax/ NI deductions. If you are a national of another country you will need to apply for a NINO. Most employers will require that you have obtained your NINO or provide evidence that you are in the process of applying for it before you can start working.

How do I get a National Insurance Number (NINO)?

To obtain a NINO you must be over 16 and resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.  You will need to apply for your NINO through the government agency Job Centre Plus.  Telephone Job Centre Plus on 0345 600 0643 to start the application process. This telephone line is open from 8am- 6pm Monday- Friday. You will need to  provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Full UK address and postcode
  • A contact telephone number
  • Country of origin
  • Current visa status
  • The date you entered the UK
  • Confirmation that you are either working, have been offered a job, or are actively seeking work.

You will be told whether you need to attend an interview or submit a postal application. EU nationals and international students that have extended their visa within the UK are required to attend an interview. International students holding an entry clearance visa, in the form of a sticker in their passport (issued in their home country) or an Entry Clearance Biometric Residence Permit are required to make a postal application.

The following documents are required to support your NINO application:

  • Proof of your identity e.g. passport
  • Evidence that you are either:
    a. working e.g. pay slips
    b. have been offered a job e.g. letter from your employer/ employment contract
    c. are actively seeking work e.g. evidence of job applications or interviews attended.
  • One official document as proof of your UK address e.g. utility bill/ bank statement/ accommodation contract.

Being issued with a NINO is not in itself permission to work. Ensure that you know whether you are allowed to work and the restrictions you are subject to before applying for a NINO. See our information sheet Working During Your Studies for further information.

What happens next?

If your application is successful you will receive a letter in the post within 4-6 weeks of making your application. This letter will confirm your NINO.  As soon as you get the letter, inform your employer.

What happens if I lose my NINO?

If you lose your NINO contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by telephone on 0300 200 3502. They will send you a letter re-confirming your NINO.

What if I change my name or address?

If you change your name or address contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by telephone on 0300 200 3502 to update your account.  

Further information

HM Revenue & Customs



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