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 can work in the UK. You can also still apply for benefits or a student loan.
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 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, 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.
How to apply
You can apply for a National Insurance number if all of the following are true:
- you live in England, Scotland or Wales
- you entered the UK on a visa that’s still valid (and has not been extended in the UK)
- you have the right to work in the UK
Call the National Insurance number application line to ask for an application form.
You’ll need to return the application form along with your proof of identity and your right to work or study in the UK. You’ll be told which documents you can use as proof when you get your application form.
After you apply, it can take up to 8 weeks to get your National Insurance number. You will not need to have a face-to-face interview at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19).