Apply for a National Insurance number

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Who can apply for a National Insurance number

You can apply for a National Insurance number if you:

  • live in the UK
  • have the right to work in the UK
  • are working, looking for work or have an offer to start work

You can start work before you receive your National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK.

If you already have a National Insurance number, you do not need to apply for a new one, even if your personal details change. Your National Insurance number remains the same for life.

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

You do not need a National Insurance number to start an application for benefits or a student loan. If you need a National Insurance number to get your benefit or student loan paid, you’ll be contacted and told how to get one.

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

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 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 did not get a National Insurance number

If you’re aged 16 to 19 and you did not get a National Insurance number either:

If you have a biometric residence permit (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’ve already applied for a National Insurance number

It can take up to 8 weeks to get your National Insurance number.

You can call the application helpline if:

  • you applied more than 8 weeks ago
  • you’ve moved house since you applied
  • your personal details have changed since you applied

If you have an application reference number, have it ready when you call. You’ll find it at the top of the confirmation email you were sent after you applied.