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 work.

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.

You’re not eligible to apply if you:

  • have lost your National Insurance number
  • are a UK resident aged 19 or under and have not contacted HMRC first
  • have a biometric residence permit (BRP) which has a National Insurance number printed on it
  • are only applying for a National Insurance number because you want to apply 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 or guardian has filled in a Child Benefit claim form for you

If you’re aged 16 to 19 and you did not get a National Insurance number what you do depends on if a Child Benefit claim was made.

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your parent or guardian filled in a Child Benefit claim form for you, or you’re not sure. You may already have a National Insurance record.

Apply for a National Insurance number online if your parent or guardian did not fill in a Child Benefit claim form for you.

If you have a BRP

If you have a 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 apply for a National Insurance number if you live in the UK and have the right to work.

To get a National Insurance number you need to apply online and prove your identity.

What you’ll need

If you have the following documents, use them when you apply:

  • a passport from any country
  • a 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.

Prove your identity

You may be able to prove your identity online by submitting digital photos of your identity documents and yourself.

If you cannot prove your identity online then you may need to:

  • post photocopies of your documents
  • attend an appointment

Apply online

After you apply you’ll get an email with your application reference number. The email will tell you if you need to provide more proof of your identity.

It can take up to 8 weeks for you to get your National Insurance number after you have proven 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
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
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
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
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
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Find out about call charges