Apply for a National Insurance number

If you live in the UK you’ll normally receive a National Insurance number automatically at age 16.

If you do not already have a National Insurance number, you only need to apply for one if you’re planning to:

You can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK.

You do not need a National Insurance number to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

You can currently only apply for a National Insurance number if you have entered the UK on a visa, a UK passport, a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card or have registered for EU Settlement Status (EUSS).   This is because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
You can start work without one if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK.
You can however, still apply for benefits or a student loan without a National Insurance Number

Before you apply

If you’ve lost your National Insurance number

Check how to find a lost National Insurance number.

If you’re a UK resident aged 19 or under

You’ll normally be sent a National Insurance number automatically, in the 3 months before your 16th birthday, if both the following are true:

  • you live in the UK
  • a parent has filled in a Child Benefit claim form for you

If you’re aged 16 to 19 and did not get one, call HM Revenue and Customs.

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP)

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP), you might have a National Insurance number already - it will be printed on the back of your BRP if you do.

If you do not have a National Insurance number, you must apply for one if you plan to work, apply for a student loan or claim benefits. You can only apply once you’re in the UK.

If you’re applying for benefits or a student loan

You can apply for a National Insurance number as part of your application for benefits or a student loan.

How to apply

You can apply for a National Insurance number if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

You must also have the right to work in the UK and one of the following:

  • a British passport
  • settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement scheme
  • a visa that’s still valid (and has not been extended in the UK)

Call the National Insurance number application line to ask for an application form.

National Insurance number application line (Northern Ireland)
Telephone: 0800 587 0024
Textphone: 0800 587 0194

Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

You’ll need to return the application form along with your proof of identity and your right to work in the UK. You’ll be told which documents you can use as proof when you get your application form.

After you apply, it can take up to 16 weeks to get your National Insurance number. You will not need to have a face-to-face interview now because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

More useful links

National Insurance number and Non-UK Nationals

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