Apply for a National Insurance number

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

Before you apply

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’re moving to the UK

You may already have a National Insurance (NI) number which will be printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP).

If you do not have one, you must apply for a National Insurance number 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.

You will not need to call the National Insurance number application line but you might need to attend a National Insurance number interview at Jobcentre Plus.

How to apply

To apply for a National Insurance number you must:

Call the National Insurance number application line to apply.

National Insurance number application line
Telephone: 0800 141 2075
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Welsh language: 0800 141 2349
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

After you’ve applied

You’ll get a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asking you to come to a National Insurance number interview at Jobcentre Plus.

The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, such as:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

At the interview, you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number. You’ll also be told how long it’ll take to get your National Insurance number.

If you change your address before you get your letter, tell DWP by contacting the National Insurance number application line.

Working without a National Insurance number

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it.