National Insurance numbers

You will need a National Insurance Number if you live in the United Kingdom (UK), have the right to work in the UK and you’re planning to work or pay class 3 voluntary National Insurance contributions.

If you live in the UK you’ll normally receive a National Insurance number automatically at age 16 if a parent has filled in a Child Benefit claim form for you. 

When you will need a National Insurance Number

You will need a National Insurance Number if you live in the UK, have the right to work in the UK and 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.

When you may receive a National Insurance Number

Make sure you’re eligible before you apply for a National Insurance number. If you already have one you will not be sent a new one.

If you have lost your National Insurance number you can 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 are aged 16 to 19 and you did not get one, you should contact 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’re claiming benefits or applying for a student loan

You do not need a National Insurance number to apply for benefits or a student loan. You will receive one if your application for benefits or a student loan is successful.

What to do if you have lost your National Insurance Number

If you have lost your National Insurance number you can check how to find a lost National Insurance number.

If you already have one you will not be sent a new one

Eligibility to apply for a National Insurance Number

If you do not already have a National Insurance number, you can apply for a National Insurance number if you live in the UK and have the right to work in the UK.

You must also be looking for work or have an offer to start work in the UK. If you have already started working you can still apply.

How to apply

Make sure you’re eligible before you apply for a National Insurance number.

You can only apply for a National Insurance number to work in the UK. 

You need to prove your identity in order to get a National Insurance number. If you have any of the following documents, you can use them when you apply:

  • a passport from any country
  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • a national identity card from  a European Union / European Economic Area country

You can still apply if you do not have any of these documents but you may need to attend an appointment to prove your identity.

Get help with your application

If you have queries or need help with your application, contact the National Insurance number application helpline (Northern Ireland)
Telephone: 0800 587 0024
Textphone: 0800 587 0194

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

After you apply

You may need to send documents or attend an appointment to prove your identity.

When you have proven your identity, it can take up to 16 weeks to get your National Insurance number.

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