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:

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.

This guide and the service are also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Eligibility

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.

When you may not need to apply

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.

You do not need to apply if you:

  • have lost your National Insurance number
  • are a UK resident aged 19 or under
  • have a biometric residence permit which has a National Insurance number printed on it
  • are applying for benefits or a student loan

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. You can only apply when you’re in the UK.

If you’re applying for benefits or 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.

How to apply

You can only apply if you need 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)

You can also use a national identity card from:

  • a country in the EU
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland

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.

Apply

Get help with your application

National Insurance number application helpline (England, Scotland and Wales)
Telephone: 0800 141 2079
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Welsh language National Insurance number application helpline (England, Scotland and Wales)
Telephone: 0800 141 2349
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

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

British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service

Watch a video to check you can use the service.

Go to the video relay service.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm (England, Scotland and Wales)
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm (Northern Ireland)

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.